Friday, December 30, 2005

16 Year Old Runs Away to Iraq for Journalism Project

This is a great story. Basically, 16 year old Farris Hassan decided that that, to effectively write on the Iraq war, he needed to be there, to be immersed in the war. He had the advantage of coming from an Iraqi family, but he had never stepped foot in the county, didn’t speak any Arabic, and was quickly seen by the public as an American, a dangerous thing to be in Iraq today.

I have been a person who has always immersed himself in conflicts of this nature. Whether being in the USSR just before the conversion to democracy, being in Israel during the second antifadah, or being around smaller yet tumultuous conflicts at different times in my life, normally because it was in these places I felt like I could make a difference.

The other positive effect is that you’re able to see the true nature of the conflict. The media doesn’t alter your perception, and the close up look you get is often different from any you would have from overseas. The drawback is the danger, but that can be a positive to, as soon this danger provides a rush which, after being around a couple conflicts, becomes addictive.

I’m fortunate to have some other friends who are the same, who live for the types of adventures that I really thrive in. And I tend to think that these people are not common, and that there’s something special about people with this drive. Farris Hassan is apparently one of these people, the trait is showing itself early, and he should be proud of it. Whether he realizes it or not, he has made a difference with this voyage.

You know, the tendency would be to think a teen would exaggerate the story, make all of the tales a bit taller, and who would blame him? But I believe the whole of this story, save one line at the end, where the author says of Hassan: “He now understands how dangerous his trip was, that he was only a whisker away from death.” I suspect that Hassan is still elated by the experience, and maybe he’s even thinking about the next challenge. And he should be proud of that as well.

Posted by Scottage at 3:27 AM / | |