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Manny meets her saviour
Herald Sun ^ | 26th September 2004 | Cindy Wockner

Posted on 09/25/2004 8:51:47 PM PDT by naturalman1975

THE brave little girl who survived the horror of the Australian Embassy blast in Jakarta was yesterday reunited with the humble hero who saved her life.

In an emotional bedside meeting organised by the Sunday Herald Sun, Elizabeth "Manny" Musus, 5, met Ahmad Usman, the air-conditioning worker who carried her from the rubble of the massive September 9 blast.

"All I can say is, it is a miracle from God to see her condition, which is so much better than before," Ahmad said after the meeting at the Singapore hospital.

The terror attack claimed the lives of nine people - including Manny's mother - and injured 180.

Manny - who had recently become an Australian citizen - was visiting the embassy with her mother to pick up her passport when the 200kg bomb exploded. Her biological father is thought to be Australian policeman David Norman.

Manny is recovering from her serious injuries, which include bruised lungs, burns and a piece of shrapnel lodged in her brain. It is expected she will have some degree of permanent brain damage and physical disability.

Ahmad and his wife, Kokomon Komariah, were flown to Singapore by the Sunday Herald Sun for the reunion with the girl Ahmad has not seen since he left her barely alive at a hospital in Jakarta after the attack.

The couple were met at the hospital by Manny's Italian stepfather, Manuel Musu, who engulfed Ahmad's hand with both his own in a silent expression of his gratitude.

"I told Manny, 'this is the man who held you the last time and put you in the hospital, so we must say thank you to him," Mr Musu said.

"But she's a little bit shy with people she doesn't know. I'm so grateful to meet him. Of course it is a natural thing for me to meet the guy who saved my daughter's life."

Ahmad said he was deeply touched by Mr Musu's holding his hand, and said he and his family were praying that Manny recovered soon.

The sight of Ahmad cradling the horrifically injured Manny has become the most enduring images to emerge from the terror attack.

Ahmad Usman is a gentle and humble family man and has wanted no part of the limelight.

A devout Muslim, the 37-year-old says he simply did what God wanted of him that day -- the day that Indonesian terrorists directly targeted Australia.

But it was also a day which brought memories of the death of Ahmad's own daughter flooding back.

Yesterday, he recalled with chilling detail the awful scene that confronted him at the bomb site that morning.

He had been working when he felt the earth shake.

Instinctively, he ran out to the street and towards the blast site.

He saw people running everywhere, blood streaming from their bodies.

His eyes were drawn to injured Embassy security guard, Syahromi, who was trying to help a little girl.

At first Ahmad thought she was dead - because her injuries were so horrific.

But he picked her up anyway. Her body was limp and he believed his efforts were in vain. Her eyes had rolled back and she was bleeding profusely from the head.

He did not see her mother - Maria Eva Kumulawati - lying nearby, killed instantly when the bomb exploded from inside a van.

The girl's body in his arms, he ran to the street where a car had stopped and the driver was beckoning him to get in.

Only when Ahmad was in the car did he realise Manny was still alive. Her body began to tremble and her eyes began to blink.

"I was saying 'Oh my God, the girl is still alive'. She was trembling and saying 'Mama, Mama'," Ahmad said.

As they drove the few metres to the hospital, Ahmad said he looked down at Manny's tiny face and began to cry.

It reminded him of his own three-month-old baby daughter who had died only four months earlier.

"It made me sad because it reminded me of my daughter who died," he said.

"The eyes of the little girl reminded me of my daughter."

Ahmad's daughter had died of brain inflammation when she was only three months old.

It was a bitter blow for him and his 25-year-old wife. The pair has two other children - son Rido Adldoari, 6, and daughter Dide Liona, 4.

Dide is too young to understand what has happened but Rido believes his father is a hero.

When the magazines with Ahmad's picture were published, he carried them around proudly, showing all his school friends, saying: "This is my father".

After placing Manny on a stretcher in the chaotic MMC Hospital and seeing a doctor come to tend her, Ahmad ran back to the embassy hoping to help more people.

But when he got there, the full extent of the carnage sank in. He saw body parts littering the site and was physically sick.

He had to get away and went firstly back to work, then to his parents' Jakarta home, where he lives during the week.

Ahmad says he initially heard the little girl had died and that he could not sleep the night of the bombing.

It was with joy that he discovered she was clinging to life, he said.

"The day after the bombing my brother told me she is still alive and they were moving her to Singapore," Ahmad said.

"I felt so happy. 'Oh my God, she is alive'."

At Ahmad's home village of Cigeruk in West Java, he is considered a "pahlawan" - the Bahasa Indonesia word for "hero".

Friends and strangers all want to shake his hand and congratulate him.

He said he was comfortable with this but was less at ease in Jakarta where strangers crowd around every time he so much as goes out to buy a drink.

Manny's story has created a tug-of-love situation between the two men claiming to be her biological father.

As Manny was rushed to Singapore's Mt Elizabeth Hospital after the blast, Sydney police officer David Norman, 25, and Italian security guard Manuel Musu, 31, flew to her side, both claiming to be her father.

Manny has Australian and Italian citizenship and has been raised in Verona, in northern Italy.

But Mr Norman claims to have taken a DNA test proving his paternity.

Humble hero: Ahmad Usman, who rescued Manny, with wife Kokomon Komariah.
Picture: Rob MacColl

TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: australianembassy; jakarta

1 posted on 09/25/2004 8:51:47 PM PDT by naturalman1975
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Anyone have the photo from the attack?

2 posted on 09/25/2004 9:02:09 PM PDT by oolatec
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To: naturalman1975

I knew your name would be on this post.

Thank you for the update on this little girl.

3 posted on 09/25/2004 9:04:00 PM PDT by texasflower (How appropriate...... the pro abortion party is the "D 'N' C")
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To: oolatec

4 posted on 09/25/2004 9:13:37 PM PDT by naturalman1975 (Sure, give peace a chance - but si vis pacem, para bellum.)
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To: naturalman1975

"Friends and strangers all want to shake his hand and congratulate him."

Thank you for this post, filled with hope!

5 posted on 09/25/2004 9:18:31 PM PDT by jocon307 (Ann Coulter was right)
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To: naturalman1975
Thanks so much for this update. What a really touching story. The good Lord had His angels with that baby that day.
6 posted on 09/25/2004 10:53:11 PM PDT by codyjacksmom (OH!!! The Hu-Vanities..... ummmm,uhhhhh, I mean Humanities, yeah thats what I meant.)
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To: naturalman1975

Thank you, Lord. God bless this man in Jesus.

7 posted on 09/26/2004 2:36:06 AM PDT by rawhide
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