School trip to Iraq?

An American teenager is on his way back to Florida after secretly travelling to Iraq to research a journalism project.
Farris Hassan, 16, did not tell his parents - who are both Iraqi - anything about his trip before leaving.
The authorities were alerted only after he walked into the Baghdad office of the Associated Press, saying he wanted to do research and humanitarian work.
"Going to Iraq will broaden my mind," Farris wrote in an essay before setting off on his trip.
Farris, who does not speak Arabic, told AP he realised he could be in danger when he left his hotel to find food, and had to pull out his phrase book.
"I'm like, 'Well, I should probably be going.' It was not a safe place. The way they were looking at me kind of freaked me out," he told AP.
His mother, Shatha Atiya, said her son had been asking for months for her to take him to her homeland.
"He is very driven and he is very patriotic. He believes in democracy," she told AP.
Farris left America three weeks ago, using money given to him by his parents, and arrived in Kuwait City on 13 December.
It was there he first informed his parents of his plans.
From Kuwait he planned to go to Baghdad but was denied entry at the Iraqi border.
Instead he travelled to Beirut, Lebanon, where he stayed with family friends for around 10 days, before flying into Baghdad.
On 27 December Farris contacted the Associated Press in Baghdad, who notified the US Embassy, which then sent US soldiers to pick him up.
He was put on a flight back home on Friday, the US Embassy said.
Farris, a student at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, is said to have taken a course in "immersion journalism" very seriously.
In an essay written before his trip, he talked about his desire to help the war-torn country.
"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," he wrote.
"Going to Iraq will broaden my mind. We kids at Pine Crest live such sheltered lives. I want to experience during my Christmas the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience everyday, so that I may better empathize with their distress."
"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," he concluded.
Farris' travels have guaranteed him much closer parental supervision from now on.
"We are going to watch his every move," his mother told CBS television. "We are going to take his passport. We're going to limit his access to money."
The do say the good Lord looks after fools, drunks and small children...

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