The story of Munjed Al Muderis, Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Medicine, Sydney Campus at the University of Notre Dame Australia, recounted in his autobiography Walking Free (Allen and Unwin, 2014) is an engaging journey of his life and ultimate escape from Baghdad, his survival as a refugee, and fulfilment of a dream to become an orthopaedic surgeon. Now one of the most celebrated osseointegration surgeons in the world there is no doubt that Muderis is a unique and gifted individual, but his success really comes from two sources – his drive and commitment to achieve, and from the opportunities afforded him because of his upbringing.
If you consider the reasons people succeed (and for a unique prospective on success, read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers – see earlier book review on Bluestring Bites), Muderis’s opportunity to learn and ability to speak English, access to university education, ability to move freely about Iraq, family support and connections, and access to people in various countries, including Australia, all enabled him to quickly establish himself as a doctor and surgeon (despite the hardship his upbringing also brought him while in detention).
Whatever you ultimately think of Munjed Al Muderis and his personal story, Walking Free is a captivating and enlightening look into life in Iraq at the end of the Saddam Hussein regime. It also brings to life the realities of what it means to be a refugee arriving on Christmas Island by boat from Indonesia and of surviving the degrading treatment of the Curtin Detention Centre in Western Australia at a time when the rest of Australia was ignorant of what was really going on.
Take the time to read Walking Free, you’ll enjoy it.
For more information on Dr Munjed Al Muderis and osseointegration, you can go to his website: http://www.almuderis.com.au