A story of Iraq

Boston Globe photo by Michele McDonald

Rakan Hassan

In 2005, Rakan Hassan, a 12-year-old Iraqi boy, was orphaned and paralyzed by American bullets when soldiers panicked at the approach of his family car, fearing it was a suicide bomb, and opened fire. A Getty photographer happened to be on the scene and captured the aftermath, which brought the boy’s situation to the attention of humanitarian activists, who in turn brought it to the attention of Senator Ted Kennedy. With the help of the Defense Department and local philanthropist, Kennedy brought Rakan to Boston, to Mass. General Hospital, where he won the affection of everyone on staff, learned to walk again, and begged to go home. In early 2006, he returned to Iraq and what was left of his family. This June, he died.

Rakan was killed by a bomb planted near his house, possibly because he’d accepted help from Americans. Of course he, like his parents, doesn’t count.

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