Youssif, a burned Iraqi child whose plight has touched the heart of Americans, met his hero Spider-man at Universal Studios yesterday:
Other superheroes crowded around to get a closer look. Even the Green Goblin stopped his villainous ways to tell the boy hi. Youssif remained unfazed. He didn’t take a liking to Spider-Man’s nemesis.
Spidey was just too cool.
“It was my favorite thing,” the boy said later. “I want to see him again.”
He then felt compelled to add: “I know it’s not the real Spider-Man.”
5-year-old Youssif, who was doused with gasoline and set on fire by thugs, came to America to get medical attention and escape the turmoil of Baghdad:
They described a life of utter chaos in Baghdad. Neighbors had recently given birth to a baby girl. Shortly afterward, the father was kidnapped and killed. Then, there was the time when some girls wore tanktops and jeans. They were snatched off the street by gunmen.
The stories can be even more gruesome. The couple said they had heard reports that a young girl was kidnapped and beheaded –and her killers sewed a dog’s head on the corpse and delivered it to her family’s doorstep.
“These are just some of the stories,” said Youssif’s mother, Zainab.
Under Saddam Hussein, there was more security and stability, they said. There was running water and electricity most of the time. But still life was tough under the dictator, like the time when Zainab’s uncle disappeared and was never heard from again after he read a “religious book,” she said.