Friday, December 30, 2005
  What I Did on My Christmas Vacation
"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."
So wrote 16-year-old Farris Hassan shortly before he snuck away to perform some "immersion journalism". Hassan, who is a junior at Fort Lauderdale's Pine Crest School, is the son of Iraqi immigrants. He decided the best way to complete his assignment in "immersion journalism" would be to travel to Baghdad and experience how the Iraqi people live. So, he did.

He left home on Dec. 11 and travelled to Kuwait and Lebanon before finally arriving in Baghdad on Christmas day. Despite his determination to witness firsthand the birth of Iraqi democracy and his Middle Eastern appearance, Farris found himself unprepared for life in Iraq. That could be because he doesn't speak a word of Arabic. On his second day in Baghdad, after being unable to order food in a restaurant and drawing a lot of unfavorable attention due to his English, Farris reported to the offices of the Associated press, telling them he was there to do research and humanitarian work. The AP office immediately contacted the US embassy who made arrangements to get Farris back home - courtesy of the 101st Airborne.

An avid student of history and a member of Pinecrest's Republican Party club, Farris said, "You go to ... the worst place in the world and things are terrible. When you go back home you have such a new appreciation for all the blessings you have there, and I'm just going to be ... ecstatic for life."

"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.
"Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless the one who gives them.
"I will go there to love and help my neighbor in distress, if that endangers my life, so be it .
"If I know what is needed and what is right, but do not act on my moral conscience, I would be a hypocrite. I must do what I say decent individuals should do. I want to live my days so that my nights are not full of regrets. Therefore, I must go."
- Excerpts from an essay by Farris Hassan

Noble words from a noble soul. I pray that when his years are equal to his courage and determination that we will see great things from Farris Hassan.
He certainly has guts but if that had been my child, I would have been beside myself...
Maybe he'll enlist instead of letting others die for a cause he cheers.


He'll just go to college and chug beers with other young repugs while men do the dirty work.
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Location: alexandria, Virginia, United States

Retired from the US Air Force after more than 20 years of service. Now working as a contractor for various government agencies.

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