Thursday, December 29, 2005


Like another high-school student with a similar first name, Farris Hassan decided to do something goofy.

He traveled to Iraq. From Florida. Without telling his parents.

He calls it "immersion journalism." We call it a good read from The Associated Press. Some grafs:
As a junior this year at a Pine Crest School, a prep academy of about 700 students in Fort Lauderdale, Hassan studied writers like John McPhee in the book "The New Journalism," an introduction to immersion journalism -- a writer who lives the life of his subject in order to better understand it.

Diving headfirst into an assignment, Hassan, whose parents were born in Iraq but have lived in the United States for about 35 years, hung out at a local mosque. The teen, who says he has no religious affiliation, added that he even spent an entire night until 6 a.m. talking politics with a group of Muslim men, a level of "immersion" his teacher characterized as dangerous and irresponsible.

The next trimester his class was assigned to choose an international topic and write editorials about it, Hassan said. He chose the Iraq war and decided to practice immersion journalism there, too, though he knows his school in no way endorses his travels.

"I thought I'd go the extra mile for that, or rather, a few thousand miles," he told The Associated Press.

Using money his parents had given him at one point, he bought a $900 plane ticket and took off from school a week before Christmas vacation started, skipping classes and leaving the country on December 11.

His goal: Baghdad. Those privy to his plans: two high school buddies.
Alas, no parade for Farris. No "Twist & Shout" atop a float. But he did get to Baghdad, though his lack of language skills quickly became an impediment. He finally found The AP office, where he spilled his story to amazed staffers.

Farris' mom? Pissed, of course. She told The AP: "I don't think I will ever leave him in the house alone again. He showed a lack of judgment." Grounded for life. Dude.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This story is waaaaay fishy, and the reporting has been terrible--leaving obvious questions unanswered. Is it really possible just to buy a ticket to Iraq???!!! I'm going to Expedia to find out.

What a hoot! :-)

A. Cline