"Iraqi Boy, After Dream Trip to U.S., Hates to Go Home"

I'm hesitant to copy and paste articles here, but I thought this one was tres interessante:

Published: July 28, 2005
After two fairy-tale weeks of pampering, shopping, top-notch medical care and limitless Pepsi, Ayad al-Sirowiy, the 13-year-old Iraqi boy who came to the United States to get the tattoo of war removed from his disfigured face, is going home.

And - no surprise - he really doesn't want to.
"Ma arrooh, ma arrooh," Ayad shouted Wednesday afternoon, as he kicked and fussed in his hotel bed, a few hours before his flight. "I don't want to go. I don't want to go."
His face was shiny with burn salve, his lips were puffy and blistery and both eyes were swollen shut like a pummeled boxer's. It stung just to look at him.
Ayad has been quite a project. He was injured at the beginning of the Iraq war after his cow accidentally set off an American cluster bomb, which drilled tiny pieces of shrapnel into his face, blinding him in one eye and printing a map of pin-prick scars across his skin. The boys in Ayad's village call him "Mr. Gunpowder," and he was so ashamed that he dropped out of school.
But after a retired law professor in Miami Beach read about his plight and won him approval to come to the United States, a new hope was planted. Ayad began to dream of having his old face again. And he thought if it could happen anywhere, it was America.
During his time here he has seen a lot - the inside of the Pentagon, a senator's office, sharks in a tank, girls in tank tops, the view from the Empire State Building and the treasures of Wal-Mart.
"It was bigger than my village," said Ayad's father, Ali, who accompanied him on his visit.
But the miracle metamorphosis didn't happen. Ayad thought he was going to get a new eye; instead he got a contact lens. And the laser surgery that was promised to erase his facial scars will only lighten them, unless he can receive follow-up treatment in the United States or another modern country, which is highly unlikely once he leaves behind the silky sheets and first-class hotels for his mud hut.
Just the sight of an Iraqi flag yesterday, at the Iraqi mission to the United Nations, jolted his father back to reality.
"Can't I stay here and work?" he asked Ambassador Samir Shakir M. Sumaida'ie, Iraq's permanent representative to the United Nations.
When the ambassador gently shook his head, Ayad's father covered his face and cried.
Ayad arrived in New York on July 13, and soon began skin laser treatment by Dr. Tina Alster, a dermatologist in Washington, who zapped 2,500 ugly blue freckles on his face. His most recent treatment was on Monday, which is why his face is now so sore.
Ayad also saw a number of eye doctors in Baltimore. But he was unable to get the cornea transplant that was needed to restore his full vision because the optic nerve in his right eye was destroyed. Instead, doctors gave him a specially made cosmetic contact lens that turns his milky blue eye back to brown. He quickly lost it, though his sponsors hope to send him a spare.
A tiny piece of shrapnel was found near the retina of his good eye, which at first was thought to require surgery. But a retina specialist determined that the shrapnel was not hurting Ayad's vision and that it would be too risky to remove it.
Then came the V.I.P. treatment. Ayad and his father met Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, who has worked to increase financing for civilian casualties.
Mr. Leahy told Ayad that he is blind in one eye, too.
"If I can be a senator with one eye, you can be prime minister," Mr. Leahy said. Ayad beamed.
They had lunch at the Pentagon with Robert Reilly, a Defense Department adviser who helped smooth the way for the visit. Ayad saluted a picture of the president, saying in English, "Bush, very, very good."
Meanwhile, his father was boiling inside. During an interview with an Arab television network, he went into a tirade about being promised money and gifts.
"I demand to face George W. Bush, and I have some things to say straight to him," he said.
On Wednesday afternoon, the two were more somber. They were scheduled to leave New York on an 11 p.m. flight for the Middle East and the sight of their suitcases stuffed with new clothes, cameras and Herbal Essence shampoo depressed them.
"I thought the Americans could do everything," Ayad's father said.
Ayad stared at the carpet and whispered, "I hope we come back."

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