Story of the year
My son's a fucking idiot
Broward teen returning home after sneaking away to Iraq to 'answer justice's call'
By Jamie Malernee and and Kevin Smith
Sun-Sentinel Staff Writers
Posted December 30 2005, 9:32 AM EST
A 16-year-old determined to witness Iraq's struggle for democracy firsthand secretly hopped a plane to the Middle East alone and eventually made it to Baghdad -- frightening his parents and stunning officials who consider it one of the most dangerous places on Earth -- before agreeing to return home to Fort Lauderdale.Well, at least this can be said of him: he has more balls than our chickenhawk trolls.
Farris Hassan has now left after being on his own in Iraq for several days, then spending time under the care of the U.S. Embassy.
"I know I can't do much. I know I can't stop all the carnage and save the innocent. But I also know I can't just sit here ... I feel guilty living in a big house, driving a nice car, and going to a great school. I feel guilty hanging out with friends in a cafe without the fear of a suicide bomber present. I feel guilty enjoying the multitude of blessings, which I did nothing to deserve, while people in Iraq, many of them much better then me, are in terrible anguish. Going to Iraq will broaden my mind ... I will go there to love and help my neighbor in distress, if that endangers my life, so be it ..."
After Farris Hassan landed in Kuwait City, the teen attempted to get into Iraq by taking a taxi across the border. He couldn't cross because of the security surrounding Iraq's elections, and called his father.
"I said, `You go to the [American] Embassy right now! The border is closed," the father recalled. "He said, Yes Sir! Yes, Dad!"
Then something even more extraordinary happened. Instead of ordering his son home, Redha Hassan said he gave him the choice to go to Beirut for a week to stay with family friends, and then go to Baghdad once the border opened and private security could be arranged.
The teen chose to stay, he said, going to Beirut, where he interviewed Israeli and Lebanese border guards and spent Christmas night in a church interviewing Christians. Soon after, Redha Hassan said he flew his son to Baghdad International Airport, where private security personnel took him to a safe hotel. Redha Hassan said he was able to arrange security through political connections he had as a result of being active in a resistance movement against Saddam Hussein during his youth.
But if there was security, it didn't work too well. According to The Associated Press, Farris Hassan was alone when he marched into a war zone office where AP staffers were based. He told them he was in Iraq to do humanitarian and research work as an extension of a school project in immersion journalism.
The AP quickly called the U.S. Embassy. According to the AP, which interviewed the teen, his parents were not sure of his exact whereabouts. The news agency also reported that the 101st Airborne will escort the teen out of Iraq. His mother said he is expected to return Sunday.
posted by Steve @ 11:47:00 AM