Secret Syrian Superhero Celebrated With Humanitarian Prize
Syria, January 2020
Dr. Ammani Ballour started volunteering as a young pediatrician, just out of university. She began serving the many injured people in the besieged eastern region of Ghouta, and many years later, found herself managing around 100 staff members in an underground hospital known as the ‘Cave’.
At the cave, Dr. Ballour and the staff risked their safety to save the lives of so many people, including children suffering the effects of chemical weapons.
It was a “beacon of hope and safety for many besieged civilians”, says Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić, who awarded Dr. Ballour the European Raoul Wallenberg prize for remarkable humanitarian acts on January 17th. Incidentally, this date also marked 75 years since Wallenberg was arrested by Soviet forces in Budapest after the city was liberated.
The Secretary-General continued to say that “Human rights and personal dignity are not a peacetime luxury. Dr. Amani Ballour is a brilliant example of the empathy, kindness, and greatness that can flourish even in the most acute circumstances: in the midst of war and suffering”.