War: Helping a Young Boy

The image in NEWSWEEK moved readers around the world: by a roadside in Tall Afar, Iraq, terrified children stand spattered with their parents' blood. In January, a U.S. patrol had opened fire on the Hassan family's car, killing both parents and paralyzing Rakan, 12. Offers of help poured in from across America, but in the fog of war, the boy lay untreated. Local doctors couldn't help him, and the U.S. military offered only a condolence payment of $1,500 per parent, initially refusing to treat or transport the boy. Aid worker Marla Ruzicka took up his cause--but was killed by a car bomb in April as she lobbied the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for a rush humanitarian visa. ("It's hard to get all the facts in a situation like this," admits an embassy spokesperson. "It can take longer than we'd like.") Finally, after an intervention by Sen. Ted Kennedy and the humanitarian group Project Hope, Rakan left Iraq on an Air Force plane last month and is now in intensive physical therapy at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.