Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Evening Ramblings

The last few days have been rough. I’ve been working a lot, even for me, and I’ve had some gender/age/ethnic issues with one of the local staff members. I’m not sure which it is, or maybe it’s a combination of all three, but it was uncomfortable to say the least.

Now, I’m sitting on the patio with a drink. It’s cooled off (it’s been in the 90s here) and there’s enough of a breeze to blow the bugs away. It’s super dusty here, but our courtyard is full ripe fruit trees. There are vines wound into the trees that are literally dripping with grapes. It’s easy to imagine Iraq as the birthplace of civilization on a night like this. I’m in a residential neighborhood, so I can hear the four-year-old who lives across the street barreling down the road in his little toy car-thingee, and the cats fighting next door. It all seems so normal. I bet Baghdad does too, when it’s quiet. It’s difficult to reconcile what I’m personally experiencing with the violence and death that I know is happening in other parts of the country, just hours away from where I am now.

Although the situation is quiet here now, Kurdistan is a mess of ethnic tension that could explode at any time – although I don’t think its reached critical mass yet. It is also very close to Iran, which could be another problem if the US and UK turn their blustering against the Islamic Republic into action. There are lots of internally displaced people in the north, which adds to the ethnic tension and brings the reality of the rest of the country a little closer to home.

Some of my colleagues and I drove up the surrounding mountains a few weekends ago. From that high, I could see Iran. I could also see the city I’m living in, which looks like a little oasis surrounded by a desert surrounded by mountains. I’ve been told that it didn’t used to be so dusty here, but the locals cut down the trees in surrounding areas during Saddam’s reign and the civil war for firewood, and Saddam’s army cut them down so that the resistance couldn’t hide in the forests. The locals have started replanting trees. You can see the baby trees coming in perfect lines.

I was invited to a staff picnic on Saturday, but was told that I’m not allowed to go because of security. I did, however, manager to wiggle my way into a trip to Erbil, which is a few hours north of where I am now, at some point in the coming weeks.

1 comment:

Meshari said...

Im glad to see that you are enjoying yourself in Iraq. Mostly I'm glad that your safe. I miss you. I made the Deans list form last semester! I'll talk to yea later sis.