NYT: “Iraqi Boy, After Dream Trip to U.S., Hates to Go Home”:

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.” […]

[A U.S. cluster bomb] 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.

[A] retired law professor in Miami Beach read about his plight and won him approval to come to the United States, …

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. […]

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.

It was Sen. Leahy who worked so well with aid worker Marla Ruzicka, who was tragically killed by a suicide bomber enroute to the Baghdad Airport in April.

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