Thursday, December 29, 2005

How I Spent My Winter Break

One Florida High Schooler decided "Hey! Why not take a trip to Iraq?"

Part of me admires him. Another (larger) part thinks he's insane. Favorite excerpt from the article:
"I want to experience during my Christmas the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience everyday, so that I may better empathize with their distress," he wrote.

Farris Hassan says he thinks a trip to the Middle East is a healthy vacation compared with a trip to Colorado for holiday skiing.

"You go to, like, the worst place in the world and things are terrible," he said. "When you go back home you have such a new appreciation for all the blessing you have there, and I'm just going to be, like, ecstatic for life."

Hey...don't be so hard on Colorado skiing. It's got...hardships...

So, yeah. Craziness of it aside (and admittedly that's a big aside), I think he demonstrated an extraordinary character in taking this trip. And hopefully he will in the future apply that character toward making the Middle East and the world a bit better for all its inhabitants.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Farris Hassan seems to be a type of individual that we see little of these days. I am envious of him, to the extreme. Funny thing, I am envious in time out of sync, as I wish I had been encouraged so early on to act in such a responsible and yet insane way. It would have set the stage for better and more inspiring things, and it's a heck of a resume line.

Why do I think that secretly his folks supported him on this? They arranged for his funding, his passport, and seemed to understand that even at 16, it was his choice that he was intent on achieving. After a severe tongue-lashing, I believe he will hear "well, now that you are still alive, good show! But write a paper on where you screwed up, what you could have done better, and what you will do different the next time you try something like this." But I am only guessing... ;-)

Years ago, I travelled to Europe on a student work plan. I was an illegal worker there, hehehe. But I received a unique education about the world, where I was from and who I was.

More recently, on an educated whim, I took a trip to Lima Perú during Iraq War 2 to visit new friends made through the net. I have been there two more times and plan on going back. I talked with people about our President Cowboy, our place in the world, and who I am in the world.

All the while there was this little voice from the culture, family, and some friends... that said doing so was nuts. I am glad that I and Farris Hassan did not listen to that little voice.

I am still here to report that such travel opens your eyes and ensures you are not brainwashed by the current regime.

Travel, Farris Hassan, travel... But dammit, learn Arabic, Spanish and Chinese as soon as possible...