Dr Ali Shares Experience Of First Deployment To Lebanon


After graduating from New Zealand as a dental specialist in 1978, Dr Mansoor Ali was rather surprised when he received a call to travel on first deployment to Lebanon.

Not knowing what he was in for, Dr Ali said “I had to go because they needed a dentist for the first deployment”.

“I went to Lebanon not knowing what was going to happen, a lot of people thought that enlisting into the army would mean that anything could happen.”

“Everywhere we went there were corpses lying around considering Lebanon as a war-torn country and I used to see a lot of people covering their nose because of the smell but for me it was a different experience because I would look at the different muscles on the body and identify them.” Dr Ali said that he learned a lot during his first deployment as dentist to Lebanon.

“I learned a lot and it was very educational because in joining the army we had to learn a lot of things for the very reason that I was not a soldier.”

“Since I was not a soldier the most interesting thing I learnt was that I had to have training there. Go into the bush and shoot, when I take a pistol, we have a target to shoot. When I shot the target did not fall, I fell down backward. They call it backfire.

“At that time our very own President, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote was looking at me so he came and offered to assist me. He was part of Company C and Captain; I was in Company B so he came to me and told me that he would show me how to shoot. He taught me how to hold the pistol, how to use my elbow to support the pistol whilst shooting.”

Dr Ali recalls that after their shooting exercise, they would gather and have a few drinks. It was called the Officer Group party and they used to have a lot of drinks served.

“For me I never liked drinking so they never offered me anything rather I had orange juice. But it was a memorable tour for me and to experience a lot of things that our peacekeepers go through during missions overseas. Former President and Speaker of the House of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was the Commander of the Fiji Battalion who also shared some memories of serving alongside Dr Ali.

“I can clearly remember him reading from the Koran where he surprised devotees at the Mosque when he read through and he even surprised all of us but those were some sweet memories.” Dr Ali was amongst the 32 recipients who were awarded the 50th Anniversary of Independence Commemorative Medal at the State House. “Today is very special to me because whatever criteria was used to nominate people for this investiture ceremony, I am grateful to have been recognised for the service that I have given to the nation.”

Originally from Lautoka, Dr. Ali paid tribute to everyone that has been part of his career journey and to his wife and only daughter who resides in New Zealand.