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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Default Boy, 5, doused in gas, set on fire by masked men

    Boy, 5, doused in gas, set on fire by masked men
    By Arwa Damon
    CNN

    Editor's note: CNN agreed not to use the full names of the mother and son in this article due to concern for their safety.

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Five-year-old Youssif is scarred for life, his once beautiful smile turned into a grotesquely disfigured face -- the face of a horrifying act by masked men. They grabbed him on a January day outside his central Baghdad home, doused him with gas and set him ablaze.

    It's an act incomprehensibly savage, even by Iraq's standards today. No one has been arrested and the motive remains unknown.

    In a war-ravaged city torn by sectarian violence and marked by acts of vengeance, this attack's apparent randomness stands out as an example of what life has become in a place where brutality -- even against young children -- is a constant.

    "They dumped gasoline, burned me, and ran," Youssif told CNN, pointing down the street with his scarred hands where his attackers fled. See photographs of Youssif before and after the attack

    As he sucked his thumb, he repeated, "I was burning." He tried to put the flames out himself.

    It looks as though this boy's face melted and then froze into rivers cutting through swollen hard flesh. It's hard to see the energetic outgoing child his parents describe beneath the sullen demeanor that defines Youssif today.

    "He's become spiteful, I am not sure why," said his mother, Zainab. "He is jealous of everyone. If I say the slightest thing to him, he cries. He's sensitive." Watch the mother describe how she cries at night wracked with guilt

    Even things like eating have become a chore. His face contorts when he tries to shovel rice into his mouth, carefully angling the spoon and then using his fingers to push the little grains through lips he can no longer fully open.

    Helping Youssif
    No aid organizations have taken up Youssif's cause at this point. CNN and CNN.com will keep you updated if this changes. He has also become jealous of the baby sister he used to dote on. "I sit sometimes at night and cry," Zainab said, her voice heavy with guilt. "If only I hadn't let him go outside, if only I hadn't let him play."

    It was on January 15 that masked men attacked her boy, their identities still unknown. Zainab said she was upstairs at the time.

    "I heard screaming. I thought someone was fighting or something," she said.

    She ran downstairs, saw her son and fainted. When she came to, she barely recognized her child. "His head was so swollen, you couldn't see his eyes, and his nose was pushed in."

    "There was blood," she added, shuddering slightly. "The skin was melted off."

    He spent two months in the hospital recovering from the severe burns. These days Youssif spends most of his time indoors, in front of the computer. It's only then that traces of the 5-year-old in him emerge. "He can't play outside with the other kids," Zainab said. "The other day they were playing, and he came in crying. I asked him, 'What's wrong?' and he said, 'They won't play with me because I am burned.'"

    She said he once wanted to be a doctor and he loved kindergarten. "He used to be the one who would wake me up every morning, saying let's go to school," Zainab recalled.

    She coaxed him to tell me the few words he knows in English. "Girl, boy, window, fan," he said, his voice barely audible, the words barely intelligible.

    Doctors told the family there is little more they can do to help Youssif. The family can't afford care outside Iraq.

    So Zainab has taken a massive risk by telling her story to the world. Her husband works as a security guard, and it's too dangerous for him to talk to the media.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  2. #2
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeoHalen View Post
    "He's become spiteful, I am not sure why," said his mother, Zainab. "He is jealous of everyone. If I say the slightest thing to him, he cries. He's sensitive."
    Uh, hello? Dude was set on fire? I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that's not entirely a pleasant experience.

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    That poor little boy. My 5 year old just turned 6 and I don't know what I'd do if this happened to him. I hope someone with the means will step forward and help him with reconstructive surgery or whatever it takes to bring restore some semblance of normalcy to this young boy.

    Heartbreaking.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



  4. #4
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    Uh, hello? Dude was set on fire? I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that's not entirely a pleasant experience.
    i was confused by that quote, too, when i saw the article this morning... this was totally senseless violence... that kid is literally scarred for life... i hope that someone can help him out, too, but i wonder how many stories there are like this that we haven't read about...
    Runaround... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around...

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    If it's Iraq, probably a lot of stories! Those people are barbaric.

    But religious and honorable of course.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



  6. #6
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Help is on the way for Youssif

    By Wayne Drash
    CNN.com Senior Producer

    ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Few stories have touched CNN.com users like that of 5-year-old Youssif, an Iraqi boy who had gone out to play on a January day when he was suddenly grabbed by masked men, doused in gas and set on fire.

    CNN.com users responded by the thousands to the story asking how they could help. But there were tricky and difficult issues the family had to suddenly confront, as several aid organizations quickly offered their services.

    Specifically, the family had to make a decision on whether to leave their homeland or stay inside Iraq for treatment. If they chose to leave, could they get visas to travel to the United States or leave Iraq safely? Further complicating matters is the fact that few aid organizations remain in Iraq; most moved out months ago due to the constant threat of being targeted.

    Leaving one's homeland is never an easy choice to make, even during war. But the family has decided Youssif should seek treatment in the United States.

    The Children's Burn Foundation -- a non-profit organization based out of Sherman Oaks, California, that provides support for burn victims locally, nationally and internationally -- has agreed to pay for the transportation for Youssif and his family to come to the United States and to set up a fund so you can donate. Photo See photos of Youssif before and after the attack
    Impact Your World

    The foundation says it will cover all medical costs -- from surgeries for Youssif to housing costs to any social rehabilitation that might be needed for him. Surgeries will be performed by Dr. Peter Grossman, a plastic surgeon with the affiliated-Grossman Burn Center who is donating his services for Youssif's cause.

    Officials are still trying to get the appropriate visas for his travels. Youssif could be in the United States for up to a year for the various treatments he needs.

    You can make a donation at the foundation's site by clicking here. There's a drop down menu under the "general donation" area that is marked "Youssif's fund."

    When informed of the news in Baghdad, Youssif ran around his house, saying, "Daddy, daddy, am I really going to get on a plane?!"

    Youssif's father was also cheered by the news. "I feel like I am going to fly from happiness," his father told CNN's Arwa Damon, who reported the story on what happened to Youssif.

    Barbara Friedman, executive director of the Children's Burn Foundation, said she and others at the foundation were deeply moved when they first read the piece.

    "In terms of a personal reaction, the only thing I could say is it takes your breath away -- because it's just so unfathomable, that that kind of brutality and violence was undertaken in a premeditated way against a defenseless child," she told CNN.com.

    "From the foundation's perspective, our immediate reaction was: Can we help? How can we help? We want to help. This is what we do."

    Many of you had the same reaction. "This kind of thing breaks my heart," wrote CNN.com user Jessica Allen. "To see that smiling adorable face before that day that he was so brutally attacked is enough to make you cry. How could someone do this to anyone, let alone a child?"

    Others pleaded for CNN to act. "CNN, if you put this on for us to read, then you should allow us to donate," wrote Brian Quinn.

    The story -- published and broadcast on Wednesday -- has been one of the most-read, non-breaking news stories in CNN.com's 13-year history.

    "We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for Youssif and his family, and are grateful that the Children's Burn Foundation and the Grossman Burn Center have volunteered to help," said Mitch Gelman, CNN.com's senior vice president and senior executive producer.

    "It is heart-warming and restorative to see such generosity and goodness emerging from this truly unspeakable horror."
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  7. #7
    Sinner's Swing! Bullwinkle's Avatar
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    "Leaving one's homeland is never an easy choice to make, even during war. But the family has decided Youssif should seek treatment in the United States."


    Hmmmm...let's see. No water, no electricity, no medicine, no public sanitation, children getting set on fire in the street.
    Or...water, power, clean sheets, McDonald's, internet porn, free medical care for my child, and a Van Halen tour in the fall...
    USA! USA!



    Thanks for posting the update, Zeo.

  8. #8
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    nice... glad to know the boy is going to get help... hopefully his life could go approach some kind of normalcy in the next couple of years...
    Runaround... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around...

  9. #9
    Sinner's Swing! Bullwinkle's Avatar
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    "So, Yousef. What are you going to do now that you're in America?"

    "After the plastic surgery and the months of therapy, I'm going to learn to speak English and I'm going to go to school and study hard. Then I'm going to get a job and work hard and save money. Then I'm going to go to business school and get a business degree. Then I'm going to buy my own gas station. And, when I've bought my own gas station, I'm going to pump my first gallon of gas into a special gas can that I'm saving. Then I'm going to buy a plane ticket and take my special first gallon of gas back to Iraq. And then I'm going to find that cocksucker who set me on fire and burn his fucking face off!"

  10. #10
    Eruption
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    Who does that to a five year old? Sick, sick, sick....

 

 

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