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NEWS: Teen takes crack at "Immersion Journalism" in Iraq

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posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 08:25 AM
It was a high school journalism project taken several steps, and several thousand miles, too far. Farris Hassan, a junior from Pine Crest High in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and of Iraqi descent, has a message for other teens interested in "immersion journalism" - please try it from home. The teen was delivered to the US Embassy in Iraq by soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division after walking into the AP office in Baghdad saying he was there to do research and humanitarian work. He will be back home this weekend, and he knows now he is lucky to be alive.
16-Year-Old Florida Boy Runs Off to Iraq by Himself

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Dec. 30) - 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.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Wow. That's dedication. I wonder what kind of grade he will get. Maybe what he really needs is to have his head examined. The details of his story are impossible to corroborate, but the overall timeline of his odyssey fits the official account of his journey.

posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 09:40 AM
I voted yes, because i would like to add an element here, that may have been missed.

This morning on CNN, they dropped several stories (IMO much more important ones) to add updates about this idiots condition...
why the pumping? why the attention?

The idiots condition didn't need to be updated- was idiotic- still idiotic.
by the end of the updates, I was hoping a stray shell would wack the little brat.

But aren't we all glad to know that an idiots life has been saved... at the expense of what? I hope not one dime of money, or it was too much...

I am glad though, that we didn't hear about this from his kidnapping and beheading tape. I sure hope the idiot is glad also...

posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 09:59 AM
I voted yes to this because, there is one other element of the story that I beleive needs to be explored. Where was the airport security, on this where a minor is allowed to travel overseas with out his parents, without parental notification to the airlines.
How does a 16 year old kid travel into what is virtually a war zone on his own? How does he even get into the green area (where the ap office is) without some kind of pass.
There is much to this story that need to be uncovered.

posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 10:14 AM
This kid is amazing, and don't bash him for doing something stupid... because for his age (which is a huge handicap to get from place to place) he navigated all the homeland security, made it through several forgien countrys (not all very friendly mind you) and went trapesing around a warzone for a story, and that takes several very important things, smarts, dedication, luck, and balls... He is going to make a news network very happy some day...

Studying how this kid made it through all the checkpoints and safeguards would help in finding out how forgein fighters infiltrate Iraq, and would help safen up our security at home...

Stupid, yes... Foolhardy, yes... Amazing, you bet your ass...

I bet if we talk to him, he can make it into hanger 18 for us...


posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 10:26 AM
Not ballsy... just stupid...
anyone can go to iraq... just list yourself as a business prospecter...
and anyone who has had his mommy get him a visa can do so also...

anyone who is 16 should not be able to fly on an airplane, but amazingly enough, from what i heard, he got a flight on a military plane. yes, lets talk about security...

Was he lucky? you bet
was he smart- obviously not...
was he ballsy - I go with immature and stupid due to the invulnerable teenhood.

I know lots of teens that took off and hitchhiked around the country... they were stupid and lucky... if they were smart, they would have been emancipated first.

posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 01:26 PM
Well when you have the major news networks airing stories that belong on America's Most Wanted and Entertainment Tonight and we rarely if ever get any undoctored footage from Iraq what this kid did makes a lot of sense. I wish there was a news network there that broadcasted from Iraq 24/7 and operated apart from the U.S. military. With "embedded" journalists and the recent admission that United States is paying Iraqi newspapers to run stories favorable to the U.S. it should be pretty obvious to anyone that there is some serious obfuscation going on here. How many pictures of dead bodies, let alone dead American soldiers have you seen? How much footage of actual fighting have you seen?

There's a war going on and all we see on TV are stories about some retarded blonde bimbo that got ass #ed on her senior trip to Aruba or some lawyer's wife that got murdered that I could give two #s about and other pointless # just like that.

What we should be seeing is a constant stream of video footage from Iraq. But if people were to see that; if people were to see bodies being ripped apart by roadside bombs and depleted uranium tank rounds the little remaining support for the war would have been gone a long time ago.

Most of the supporters for this war have no idea what war is actually like.

posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 05:52 PM
This kid is the reporter that I'll be listening to. He sounds like one of who has to see it to believe it. He wants the real story, not the propoganda that we get fed here.

I noticed that the press has not published his report. I'd like to see his report unedited. There may be a few things in there that would surprise us all.

What do you suppose the odds are that our press will print his report unedited?

posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 06:00 PM
LazarusTheLong you get my wats vote. I couldn't agree more with you, and you couldn't have said it any better. It's great that this kid realizes the importance of a first hand experience, however had he any common sense, he should have consulted his guardians first.

posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 06:07 PM

Originally posted by LazarusTheLong
Not ballsy... just stupid...

was he ballsy - I go with immature and stupid due to the invulnerable teenhood.

He made a big mistake by trying something without adequate preparation. He apparently didn't have the language down well enough, and must not have done his homework on the economics of the idea. He very well could have gotten himself killed.

But you know what? I wouldn't mind knowing a few guys like him. A guy who is willing to try something dangerous like that in order to learn can accomplish a lot. He just needs someone to protect him from himself- somebody smart enough to make sure he's got his parachute on before he jumps out of a plane and such.

I don't know too many people who've got the ambition to so much as read a book, much less go seek the truth for themselves. I think ATS ought to send this guy a letter and invite him to join. Can you imagine where ATSNN would go if we had members like that (preferably 18 years old with a little extra common sense though)?

You've got to take the good with the bad. This guy sounds ambitious. A person who does stuff is valuable- as the CV Airborne Association's motto goes: "He who dares wins."
Is he a little wreckless? Definitely. People like that need to be kept on a short leash, but once everything's ready and you want something difficult done, you take em off the leash and watch him go.

Edit to add- the fact that he was a minor is not entirely unimportant. He should have talked to his parents, but that's between them. It's also disturbing that a minor can get out of this country without parental permission.
The kid did wrong, and that'll have to be handled, but you know, kids are gonna tug at the leash when they're getting close to 18- I point the finger at the parents more than anything. If they didn't see something coming, they dang well should have, and they should have had better tabs on him.

[edit on 30-12-2005 by The Vagabond]

posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 07:46 PM
This should get a Darwin award for those who dont quite make it.

posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 08:00 PM
I said he is something else, just to be able to enter Iraq without been taken hostage is enough to make him a hero or a very stupid boy.

I can not wait to heard more of his story, I imagine that he will be coming out with a book of his "Amazing Iraqi Story" very soon indeed.

posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 12:05 AM
The ignorance and hubris of youth is a topic for which the frame of reference exists for everyone who has "grown up". In the span of our years we learn one way or another. For a 16 year old to have this sort of experience is extraordinary, in the most literal semantics of the word. Berating him as an idiot is perhaps not entirely apt, being that an idiot would not be capable (or interested) of infiltrating a war zone, be his age 16 or 56. I would call him a fool, but that's a given for anyone at that age. There is a difference between a lack of judgement (or even common sense) and a lack of thought. One does not just stumble into Iraq by accident (hopefully!)

I'm not attempting to invoke a notion that "boys will be boys", quite to the contrary, what he did is entirely different from what we typically expect of people that age "testing the leash". All the same he's sure to hear hell from his mother for it, but that's her business. Aside from that, if there is not one everyday person in this country compelled to see this war for their self despite the danger, for whatever reason, then what does that say for us? Why are we content to just believe whatever we're told about a situation on the other side of the world? Withstanding that, he's no hero, he's not even what should be considered "important news", but he deserves respect, and has mine.

posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 12:25 AM
I am impressed with his essay, very interesting. I am surprised he made it out of the USA- wonder how he did that. You would think he would have raised flags with DHS, traveling to the Middle East at his age.



"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, 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.

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 café 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. We kids at Pine Crest (school) live such sheltered lives. I want to experience during my Christmas the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience. I will give my mind, body and spirit to helping Iraqis to rebuild their lives. Hopefully I will get the chance to build houses, distribute food supplies, and bring a smile or two to some poor children. I know going to Iraq will be incredibly risky.

Nevertheless, I will go there to love and help my neighbour in distress. If that endangers my life, so be it."

posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 08:14 AM

Originally posted by kenshiro2012
Where was the airport security, on this where a minor is allowed to travel overseas with out his parents, without parental notification to the airlines.
How does a 16 year old kid travel into what is virtually a war zone on his own? How does he even get into the green area (where the ap office is) without some kind of pass.
There is much to this story that need to be uncovered.

Chalk it up to my inquisitive nature, but these very same questions went through my mind when I first heard of this. If true, the journey itself is the main story here.

So much for profiling, the PA, erosion of the 4th amendment, and everything else that is supposedly turning us into a Gestapo State as the gov't tramples our rights, eh? We can relax; it seems that we're safe for awhile at least.

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