Tuesday, 3 December 2013

MedWorm: a sign to continue

I have been working 8 years now on MedWorm. It has been a labour of love, frustration and determination. I always knew it would save lives. I always believed in this project. But evidence of its worth was a long time coming.

Well just this week I received that which I was looking for, and I guess badly needed to hear. Proof that this project can and is making a difference on people's lives. An email landed after a moment of despair and prayer regarding direction as to whether I should indeed be continuing with this project or not. The relief, joy and sadness combined receiving the following emails is hard to put into words, but you can read for yourself and you may understand.  

First message, received Saturday November 30th 2013

Hello, I would like to request access to the MedWorm search function.

My wife has since 2009 battled stage IV cholangiocarcinoma. She is still alive today in large part from the information I was able to find on MedWorm back in 2010 linking her cancer's genetic profile to research which her oncologist leveraged to come up with a treatment plan.

This treatment halted the cancer and she was able to be off chemo for nearly two years. (THANK YOU MEDWORM!)

Specifically, the MedDorm find that help at the time was "Dicoumarol enhances gemcitabine-induced cytotoxicity in high NQO1-expressing cholangiocarcinoma cells" (World J Gastroenterol. 2010 May 21; 16(19): 2362-2370. Published online 2010 May 21. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i19.2362.

We now find ourselves back in the "heat of the battle" as the cancer has started to grow aggressively, and I am looking to find new options and information now nearly three years later. Being able to keyword search MedWorm would be a huge help again!

Please would you grant me access use the search function again and if possible the ability to set up specific RSS feeds based on those searches terms I will be using?

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for the great gift to some many and all that MedWorm is and has been to us personally over the years! It has been a great help!

God Bless and Thank you,

[name removed]

My reply

Dear [name removed],

Thank-you so much for getting in touch. I am both delighted to learn that MedWorm helped you to find the treatment your wife needed, and also deeply sorry to hear about the cancer returning.

Currently I am facing a real problem to keep MedWorm going as I have completely run out of money to pay the server fees (actually due tomorrow - the fact that your email arrives right now, just after prayer asking for direction, brought me to tears as I believe it is a sure sign for me to persevere to find a way forward).

So I decided to bring the search functionality back as a subscription service, as much as I really want to keep it free for all, it appears to be the only way to keep going at least for the moment. I am therefore launching this weekend a trial version of search by subscription, aiming to start with just 10 people accessing the search, and for that I am asking for sponsorship donations of $100 each per sponsor which would entitle the sponsor to 1000 searches on MedWorm. Details here: http://youtu.be/oGj_zNIGIqI

I wonder if you could afford to contribute as a sponsor and be one of these 10 that gets access to search initially? If not I would still give you access as I certainly do not want to deprive your wife of the information she needs. But if you could contribute that would be a huge help so I must ask.

So far I have just 2 sponsors but will be launching a push across the MedWorm feeds for more sponsors this evening. I hope this is not too insensitive for me to suggest you contribute as a sponsor at this difficult time. I actually hate myself for suggesting it and if you do not want to or are not able to of course I will provide you free access.

Also I was wondering if I may publish your email online (with name and contact details removed of course)? I know it would help me find the support I need to continue.

Best wishes,
Jamila Hanan


His reply

Hello Jamila,

Thank you so very, very much for your kind reply.  Please do not feel bad in your request for a sponsorship donation.   At this time, I can and will be happy to do so. [my wife] and I watched your video and totally appreciate your need and are grateful what you are trying to do here.

Please let me know how we can make the sponsorship donation and contribution?

I will also be happy to provide you any kind of feedback or input from my experiences with the tool that you would like, and I would welcome help in improving the effectiveness of the searches so any insight you can shed on that front would be most welcome too.

Yes, you may use these e-mails as you wish.

I just cannot emphasize enough how valuable MedWorm has been to us.  In 2009, the statistics for stage IV cholangiocarcinoma were abysmal (and frankly they still are.) In 2009, [my wife] initially and arguably had a 6-9 month prognosis, with statistics at the time showing only 10% surviving a year, and worse than that and while some do survive 5 years, statistically speaking the number was so small that it was reported at 0% surviving 5 years: we will be at 5 years here "officially" in March 2014. Our two youngest at the time of diagnosis were only very young, 2 1/2 years old and a one year old, and I was so devastated that they would never know their Mom. Now [son's name] is 8 and [son's name] is almost 6, and I am so grateful that they both have had their mother this long, and I  pray that we can go at least another 5 years.

God Bless you for all your hard work on MedWorm!  We are grateful to you for it.

Sincerely,
[name removed] and Family
My reply

Dear [name removed],

Your reply actually sent me into floods of tears. I guess it was relief after having been working and struggling with MedWorm for 8 years that I had just received proof it has indeed been making a difference as I always knew it would.

Mixed in with delight that [your wife] got to know your children, and sadness that the thing has returned. How I hate cancer and wish society had given it the boot long ago! I am more determined than ever now to help give it the kick it deserves. Thank-you so much for the motivation!

I shall email you a PayPal invoice so you can contribute online - but if that doesn't work for you let me know and I shall find another way.

Good news is you are now my 6th sponsor and I have a few more that may be confirmed today so this really is encouragement and will help me get MedWorm get to where it should be.

The aim is to get all medical sources in the world into MedWorm, some way to go yet but by the grace of God it will get there and you and your wife have just provided a big stepping stone for me to continue.

I shall email you a logon later today so that you can begin search without delay.

Love and prayers,

Jamila

You can read more about my MedWorm project and search for sponsors here.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

My MedWorm Project - Now Needs Your Support

I started writing about MedWorm and its history, my inspiration, its vision, how its going to change the world, blah blah blah, and I realised no one is going to read it because no one has any time.

So here is the short version:

This is MedWorm
It collects data from thousands of medical sources (all different types of data), checks for updates daily, stores all in a database, organises by specialty and condition and more.
Its really awesome (honestly go have a look) and one day it WILL change the world.

Search has been removed because the server got overloaded and i couldn't afford to upgade.
I need funds to grow this project (and save lives).
I will therefore be returning search as a subscription only service - the rest of the site however will remain free to browse.

But right now I want (need) 10 people to sponsor me, and trial the search service, at the price of $100 each. In return you will get 1000 searches to be used on the MedWorm database which now has approximately 8 million records collected from 8,000 sources over 8 years (kid you not - I didn't plan for eights it just happened like that). In addition, you will get personal assistance from me on querying techniques (should you wish). And I am hoping you may also provide some feedback and ideas to help me take this project forward.

If you would like to be one of my sponsors (and I am hoping you will) please email me on jamilahanan1@gmail.com



Thank-you so much for your time. Please share.

Jamila Hanan
@jamilahanan

Thursday, 12 September 2013

My Videos

These are the videos I have compiled over the past year, for various causes. I have found videos to be a an effective way of reaching out to people across the world and I really enjoy making them.

The first one took me a long time since I didn't know how to make them but now I have learnt how to use bits of software I find I can build one in about 3 days. A lot of the time is actually spent just thinking about the subject matter and often crying as the scenes I play over and over can be quite emotional.

I'm no professional, I just use download existing clips from YouTube using the Torch browser, convert video formats using Freemake Video Convertor, and then put them into Windows Movie Maker, which has its limitations but is fairly easy to use, and is free.

I don't have copyright for most of the materials I use, or permission, which I do feel bad about, and that made me really hesitant at first to do this, but I would instantly remove any materials that any owner complained about (so long as that owner was not a human rights abuser). I've been hopeful that copyright holders will be lenient with the footage I'm using, as I try to handle material sensitively and this is all obviously purely for humanitarian causes. Up until now I haven't received any complaints (thank-you!). I am deeply grateful to Sami Yusuf whose music I have used on two occasions; their social media team were very gracious in actually retweeting the videos I made.

Rohingya SOS

 

The aim here was to tell a short story here about the Rohingya for those who knew nothing about their plight. This is the first video I ever made. It took me weeks to complete and quite a few boxes of tissues to wipe my eyes too.

 

Rohingya Exodus 2012

 

The footage here has been taken from a much longer leaked video from the Burmese military that showed how the Rohingya were marched from their homes, by the military, in their thousands, in the Summer of 2012. It make me think of how the Jews were taken from their homes by the Nazis, hence why the choice of music. I still find myself stunned every time I watch this. The scale of this state crime which took place in full view of the international community without a word of condemnation is truly shocking.

 

Respect Rohingya

 

These Rohingya children came out to protest against a census which Burmese authorities have been conducting over the past year, to get the Rohingya to register themselves as illegal Bengali immigrants. The children were shouting 'Rohingya' which their families are not allowed to register themselves as. I found it incredibly moving that after all these children had been through they found the courage to go out and protest in defence of their name. The original video footage was actually being used as propaganda by the state sponsored media, hence why I had to use the bold writing to block out their messages. I chose the music as a celebration and as a mark of respect for these truly inspirational children.

 

Rohingya Tears

 

I have seen so many clips of Rohingya suffering over the past year, so much footage of despair, it made me think about how humans have been given tears to help us connect on a deep spiritual level and share our suffering with mankind, which ultimately may save us. I wondered what it would be like to try and capture some of those deeps moments of hopelessness, some of those tears, and put them together, maybe it would touch hearts around the world, motivate people to act to try and save these people?

 

Zainab Alkhawaja #FreeZainab

  

The week I was first introduced to the Rohingya, I was busy supporting Zainab Alkhawaja in a campaign to draw awareness to terrible eye injuries often inflicted by security forces on the oppressed people of Bahrain. Zainab was a huge inspiration to me and I will never forget the encouragement she gave to me when we first spoke over Skype. It was not long after that I felt compelled to act for the Rohingya. Sadly Zainab has spent much of the past year in prison for her work as a human rights defender in Bahrain, and as I write this she is still there locked away, when she should be with her young daughter. It was with great sadness that I heard her sentence had been extended, after she spoke out in defence of another lady in prison who was being treated badly. I had to pause my work acting for the Rohingya to take time to remember dear Zainab who is my all time hero, and to try and raise awareness for her amazing work. I also wrote this poem about her.

 

Peace for Syria #Candle4Syria

 

When the troubles with Syria began I was deeply involved with campaigning for friends in Bahrain, and I really felt I didn't have the strength to look at what was happening in Syria at the same time. In addition I felt there was nothing that I could do that would make any difference. Then the past 12 months campaigning for the Rohingya as they have been at risk of extermination was even more traumatic, but eventually I did start to find strength and felt I simply must do something to speak out against the terrible events taking place. I decided that I should be a voice for peace, as that is what I believe in, peace and justice. I had been thinking of trying to organise some kind of candlelit peace vigil for Syria for some time, and had been starting to talk to people about that idea to see how best to go about it, and then the chemical attack took place and the talk of war. I decided I should still push ahead as a voice for peace regardless of whether the USA attacks or not. I hope the video will help you think about peace for Syria - I believe for peace to come we must first envisage that, and then find ways to act to bring it about. I am encouraging people to light a candle for Syria on Peace Day which is on 21st September.

Thank-you for watching. If you would like to send me feedback the best way to contact me is via Twitter @jamilahanan

Thursday, 29 August 2013

10 arguments for your Member of Parliament why we should not attack Syria

First of all I must start my arguments by condemning the chemical attacks on innocent Syrian civilians, including many children. It was truly horrific, as has been much of this war from start to finish. I also condemn the dropping of bombs on civilians which the Syrian regime cannot deny.

My personal stance: I believe Bashar Al-Assad to be a brutal, heartless man, or else he would have conceded power a long time ago rather than see innocents slaughtered in such a manner. But that does not excuse the hypocrisy of the West and I am suspicious that certain powers in the West and Israel may have interfered to bring about an increase in conflict to take down the Syrian regime in order to achieve political and particularly economical objectives. That is my personal opinion that I feel I should be clear about.

Regardless of what you think about Bashar Al-Assad, the Syrian regime and Western involvement, I believe people worldwide are united in their desire for peace and justice and the saving of innocent lives. Below I outline 10 arguments why I believe that the West attacking Syria is not the best way to bring this about and will in fact worsen the situation. I hope you might use some of these to contact your member of parliament to encourage them to speak out against such an military action (which we all should be doing if we truly want to stop this course of action).

1. Lack of Evidence Regarding Who Carried Out Attack

There is no conclusive evidence that the Syria regime launched the chemical weapons attack.  It simply does not make sense, with UN chemical weapons inspectors stopping just a short drive away. Contrary to main stream media reports, there is actually evidence that rebels had both means and motive.

See also:
' Chemical warfare in Syria: who and why?'
english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2013/08/27/Chemical-warfare-in-Syria-who-and-why-.html
'UN's Del Ponte says evidence Syria rebels 'used sarin'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22424188
'Evidence: Syria Gas Attack Work of US Allies'
http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/video-shows-rebels-launching-gas-attack-in-syria/
'Syria asks UN to immediately investigate 3 new ‘chemical attacks’ by rebels'
http://rt.com/news/syria-investigate-un-chemical-116/

2. Evidence to Suggest America Had Previous Plans to Attack Syria

There is evidence to suggest that America have had plans to attack Syria for some time - thus casting serious doubt on the given motive of humanitarianism as a response to the chemical weapons attack for going to war. Worse still it leads us to raise the question as to whether Western powers were in some way involved in staging such an event to trigger the desired war in order to carry out premeditated plans (maybe not directly, but perhaps as support for a rebel group that may have carried out such an attack).

See also:
'Wesley Clark ( US 4 Star General ) US will attack 7 countries in 5 years'
http://youtu.be/Ha1rEhovONU
'INSIGHT - military intervention in Syria, post withdrawal status of forces'
https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/1671459_insight-military-intervention-in-syria-post-withdrawal.html
'Military Intervention In Syria. US Training "Rebels" Since 2011 And The Complete Grand Plan - The March 2012 Leak'
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35969.htm
'Wag The Dog: Syria Edition'
http://99998271.blogspot.jp/2013/08/wag-dog-syria-edition.html
'Hysteria around chemical attack suits those who want military intervention in Syria - Lavrov'
http://rt.com/news/lavrov-syria-press-conference-003/

3. Weak and Even Dishonest Intelligence

We are all aware of the dodgy intelligence on which the West went to war with Iraq. It appears that the exact same mistakes of our recent past are now being repeated. The argument that Syria is unlike Iraq because they didn't actually have chemical weapons, but in this case chemical weapons have already been used, just isn't sufficient. In both the case of Iraq and Syria, the argument of chemical weapons is being used to instigate war, overruling and dismissing the ongoing work of the UN. The invasion of Iraq is now reported to have resulted in over 1 million deaths and the violence continues to this day. An attack on Syria may prove to be more costly in human lives. The West has proved its intelligence gathering is not to be trusted through its past recent mistakes. In addition, it appears that intelligence on which the West is basing its arguments has been passed from Israel, a known enemy of Syria, which should therefore be considered with suspicion as they clearly have motive for the West to attack.

See also:
'Iraq conflict has killed a million Iraqis: survey'
http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/01/30/us-iraq-deaths-survey-idUSL3048857920080130
'WMD Quotes Before & After The Invasion'
http://www.realnews247.com/wmd_quote_before_after_the_invasion.htm
'Israeli intelligence intercepted Syrian regime talk about chemical attack'
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/28/israeli-intelligence-intercepted-syria-chemical-talk

4. Western Reputation

The USA, UK and France are already viewed worldwide as imperialistic meddlers carving up the world in order to gain control of resources. Instances of western powers invading other countries to take control and also acts of interference  to block natural progressions towards democracy to ensure continued Western influence (despite declaring support for democracy) are numerous. This further attack would be viewed internationally as further invasion of foreign countries with imperialistic objectives, which would result in greater anti-Western sentiment worldwide, that would have a negative effect in all foreign affairs.

5. Hypocrisy

The UK and USA have been turning a blind eye to other crimes against humanity and worse still at times supporting those regimes who commit such atrocities. So all this talk of having to take a stand against a violation of international law is clearly hypocrisy driven with ulterior motives.

A few examples where the West has not 'intervened' or has continued to support the regime:

Burma Crimes Against Humanity (Rohingya)
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/04/22/all-you-can-do-pray-0
White Phosphorus Used by Israel
http://www.hrw.org/news/2009/03/25/israel-white-phosphorus-use-evidence-war-crimes
Depleted Uranium Used in Iraq
http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-iraq-and-depleted-uranium/5343806
Tear Gas as a Weapon in Bahrain
http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/reports/weaponizing-tear-gas.html
Brutal Attack on Protesters in Egypt
http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/08/26/have-crimes-against-humanity-been-committed-in-egypt/
Sri Lanka Suspected Use of Chemical Weapons
http://www.nowpublic.com/world/sri-lankan-army-used-chemical-weapons-tamils-war-zones

6. The UK and USA is Not the Worldwide Police

International law should be respected. Both the UK and USA have overruled international law with the strike against Iraq based on false evidence of chemical weapons. The USA is overruling international law with their use of drones to kill people they don't like the look of, without trial. We are not international policemen. An attack on Syria would likely be another instance of breaking international law. The work and rulings of the UN should be respected by all; to not do so is making a mockery of international cooperation and giving the green light for all countries to act as they please .

See also:
' Hans Blix: Whether Obama in Syria or Bush in Iraq, The US Is Not the World Police'
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-gardels/hans-blix-the-united-stat_b_3819367.html

7. War is Very Expensive

We are still in a time of global economical uncertainty. Money would be much better spent elsewhere. If we want to spend our resources on humanitarian actions and saving lives there are far more cost effective ways to do so other than dropping bombs.

See also:
Cost of War
http://costofwar.com/
'Syria and the Price of Oil'
http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/08/29/syria_and_oil.html

8. Attacking Would Make the Matter Worse

Regardless of right or wrong, legalities, accuracy of evidence, surely we all want to save lives, particularly the lives of innocent children? Whatever anyone's outrage at the atrocities taking place in Syria, evidence points to the fact, time and again, that joining a war results in escalation of violence and many more lives being lost as a result. Politicians are quick to point out success in intervention to save lives in Kosovo, and the lack of intervention that could have saved lives in Rwanda, but the circumstances in this instance are not similar (other than the large number of deaths). What is happening now in Syria is civil war with deep divisions and many players, with already a huge number of weapons widely distributed to all sides. Syria is badly in need of diffusion, de-escalation of conflict and peace delegations, not further weapons that threaten to spread this war beyond the borders of Syria. Many people feel that an escalation of conflict in an already deeply divided war could bring about World War III with catastrophic consequences. The seriousness of such must be carefully considered in the risk analysis of military action.

See also :
'An attack on Syria will only spread the war and killing'
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/27/attack-syria-chemical-weapon-escalate-backlash
'A Brief Argument Against War in Syria'
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/08/a-brief-argument-against-war-in-syria/279078/
'The War After the War in Syria'
http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2013/08/war-after-war-syria/69404/

9. Vote Loser

Whether you support your ruling political party or not, you might point out to your political leader that public opinion is greatly opposing military intervention - and for sure as the death toll mounts, which it inevitably will, this will result in the further loss of votes at the next election.

10. There are Alternatives

Doing nothing is actually a better alternative to attacking Syria. It is not always the case that doing something is better than doing nothing, that simply is not logical. But if our governments want to save lives and bring about justice, there is a lot that could be done to try and achieve this which would surely have a greater affect than dropping bombs. Some examples that can be pushed for through political negotiations are:
  • A widening of the UN mandate + program for the elimination of chemical weapons through arms inspections and political negotiations.
  • Stopping the flow of weapons into Syria to all sides - through political negotiation with all parties (yes this could be achieved if there is the will, a deal is always to be found for those that try hard enough).
  • Peace delegations and peace negotiations to bring about a cease fire and political settlement.
  • Justice to be sought for war crimes and crimes against humanity through international law, independent investigations and action via the ICC.
  • An increase in humanitarian aid and funding for peaceful initiatives in the area.
See also:
'The Case for Doing Nothing in Syria'
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2013/08/barack_obama_shouldn_t_bomb_syria_the_good_option_is_to_do_nothing.html
 'Syria Debate: why I voted against military intervention'
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/30/syria-debate-voted-against-military-intervention