Video: "Open My Eyes"

A refugee's journey beyond physical boundaries

© Carrie Hawks
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Qusay Hussein landed in Austin, Texas, with absolutely no idea where he was going. Blinded by a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2006, he was eager to try somehow to make a new life in the United States. “I needed to go to a country that believes in me,” he says. “When people think ‘refugee,’ I’m one of them. [But] people don’t identify me, I identify myself.” 

In this intimate documentary produced by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Qusay shares his extraordinary journey—from struggling with the painful aftermath of the attack in Iraq, to rebuilding his life at MSF’s reconstructive surgery program hospital in Jordan, to reinventing himself again in the US. After three years of reconstructive surgery and intensive rehabilitation, Qusay is now preparing for the next challenge.

“Open My Eyes” is the story of one refugee—one young man among the 68.5 million displaced people worldwide who have surmounted unimaginable obstacles on their way to find safety. The film reminds us of our shared humanity, and the far-reaching ripple effects of compassion and care.  

MSF began providing medical care in Iraq in 2003 in the wake of the US-led military invasion. In the years since, ongoing conflict and instability have resulted in widespread displacement, privation, and vast medical needs. MSF’s medical projects in Iraq are among our largest worldwide, with nearly 200,000 outpatient consultations provided in 2018 alone.

Originally established in 2006 to treat victims of the war in Iraq, MSF’s reconstructive surgery program in Jordan has since expanded to provide cutting-edge treatment to war-wounded patients from countries throughout the region, including Syria, Yemen, and the Palestinian Territories.