December 30, 2005


AP Exclusive: U.S. teen runs off to Iraq (JASON STRAZIUSO, 12/29/05, Associated Press)

Maybe it was the time the taxi dumped him at the Iraq-Kuwait border, leaving him alone in the middle of the desert. Or when he drew a crowd at a Baghdad food stand after using an Arabic phrase book to order. Or the moment a Kuwaiti cab driver almost punched him in the face when he balked at the $100 fare.

But at some point, Farris Hassan, a 16-year-old from Florida, realized that traveling to Iraq by himself was not the safest thing he could have done with his Christmas vacation.

And he didn't even tell his parents.

Hassan's dangerous adventure winds down with the 101st Airborne delivering the Fort Lauderdale teen to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which had been on the lookout for him and promises to see him back to the United States this weekend.

It begins with a high school class on "immersion journalism" and one overly eager - or naively idealistic - student who's lucky to be alive after going way beyond what any teacher would ask.

Essay by U.S. Teen Who Went to Iraq (The Associated Press, Dec 29, 2005)
Excepts from an essay written recently by Farris Hassan, 16, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who traveled to Iraq without telling his parents:

There is a struggle in Iraq between good and evil, between those striving for freedom and liberty and those striving for death and destruction. You are aware of the heinous acts of the terrorists: Women and children massacred, innocent aid workers decapitated, indiscriminate murder. You are also aware of the heroic aspirations of the Iraqi people: liberty, democracy, security, normality. Those terrorists are not human but pure evil. For their goals to be thwarted, decent individuals must answer justice's call for help ... So I will.

Life is not about money, fame, or power. Life is about combating the forces of evil in the world, promoting justice, helping the misfortunate, and improving the welfare of our fellow man. Progress requires that we commit ourselves to such goals. We are not here on Earth to hedonistically pleasure ourselves, but to serve each other and the creator. What deed is greater than sacrificing one's luxuries for the benefit of those less blessed? ...

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 ...

Yeah, Mr. Tancredo, those immigrants will never share our values....

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2005 12:11 PM

saw a reference to tancredo as a "maverick" the other day. looks like mc cain has his running mate :)

Posted by: toe at December 30, 2005 12:30 PM

He shares one value with Tancredo. They both believe he should return to his homeland.

Also it is hateful on your part to refer to him as if he were an immigrant. He's not. He was born in the US.

Posted by: h-man at December 30, 2005 12:36 PM

Well, he's one kid that won't influenced by his teacher's take on the WoT. Maybe we should send some more teenagers to hot spots around the world.

Reminds me that at a college where I worked, the students who went to the Soviet Union for their junior year abroad were invariably pro-Soviet and anti-American. Upon their return, there was quite a reversal. Many, if not all of them, kissed the ground upon landing in the USA.

It was a very educational experience.

Posted by: erp at December 30, 2005 3:47 PM


I have a college professor who is a professional Slavicist and spent a few years behind the Iron Curtain. He says that whenever he feels bad about the state of the world, he reminds himself that the Soviet Union no longer exists, and that cheers him up.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 31, 2005 3:47 AM