b e y o n d the mark.
turkey : iraqi kurdistan : turkey : iran : afghanistan : tajikistan : uzbekistan : turkmenistan

Thursday, May 20, 2004

...at last

In 1990 I was in the fifth grade when I first became aware of Iraq. Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait the previous summer, spurring the massive military effort that would turn to war in January 1991. The TV pictures of the country then and since always seemed to be marked by one constant image. It was seeing the same characteristic orange and white taxis yesterday in Zakho, the same colours that I have seen in pictures of Iraqi streetscapes since 1990 that told me that I was actually in Iraq. I write this now from Suleimaniya in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq.The journey to get here was not terribly difficult I must say, just long. Very long. On Sunday I flew out of Toronto, daydreamed too much in Munich airport and missed the first connecting flight to Ankara, Turkey. I never would have thought that the International Herald Tribune could grab my attention like that! In fairness to myself I was already quite tired and in fact had fallen asleep with cup of coffee in hand on approach to Munich and woke up only as the tires hit the runway. The second flight of the day left Munich about eight hours later and got me into Ankara minutes before midnight on Monday. The card from Monopoly came to mind: ‘Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.’ Except it was ‘Go directly to Iraq, do not sleep, do not shower.’