Your Score: 8 - the Asserter
Thanks for taking the test !
you chose AY - your Enneagram type is EIGHT (aka "The Challenger").
"I must be strong"
Asserters are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.
How to Get Along with Me
a personal attack.
the way I am.
What I Like About Being a EIGHT
What's Hard About Being a EIGHT
things don't go right
EIGHTs as Children Often
EIGHTs as Parents
|Link: The Quick & Painless ENNEAGRAM Test written by felk on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
By YAHYA BARZANJI – 2 days ago
SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq (AP) — Lawmakers in Iraq's self-ruled Kurdish region approved a measure that would allow courts to accuse journalists of "vague offenses" relating to terrorism or disturbing security, drawing protests Friday from Kurdish journalists and an international media advocate.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said the bill, approved Tuesday in a sparsely attended parliamentary session, could be "exploited by pro-government judges to put critical newspapers out of business."
Aws Herdi, editor of the weekly Kurdish newspaper Owena, accused the major Kurdish parties that supported the measure of hypocrisy, saying their slogans for freedom "are only empty words."
"This new law will send journalists to prison, ban newspapers and allow for outrageous fines under various pretexts," Herdi said at a protest Friday in Sulaimaniyah, 160 miles northeast of Baghdad. He said any journalist who writes about terrorism could be accused of a crime under the measure.
The bill must be approved by the Kurdish president, Massoud Barzani, before it goes into effect.
Among the lawmakers who opposed the measure was Suzan Shihab of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Of the semiautonomous region's 111 lawmakers, only 57 attended the session. Of those, 11 abstained and seven voted against it.
"This law means silencing people, journalists, and intellectuals who usually criticize the government and its mistakes," said Shihab, who attended Friday's protest. There was a similar gathering in Irbil, another Kurdish city.
Shihab called on Barzani to veto the measure.
Under the measure, journalists can be prosecuted in counterterrorism courts, which could bring the death penalty, and newspapers can be shut down for up to six months and face fines up to $8,200.
"Given the tenuous financial and political situation of independent papers — several operate at losses or barely break even — the bill's elastic language could be exploited by pro-government judges to put critical newspapers out of business," the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement Friday.
The Kurdish government has said a new media law is needed to replace the current law, which dates to the era of Saddam Hussein, but has otherwise not commented on the specifics of the measure.
Aso Jabbar, a government critic who attended Friday's protest, said the law would not make him back down.
"We shouldn't be frightened of prisons," he said. "Putting me in prison for my views is an honor."
I should stress before I go any further that this activity is no where near us and there is no reason to believe that it will ever come anywhere near me, Angie and Nila. Unless, of course, Nila joins the PKK. Not to say that she's thinking about it, but....maybe.
So, tonight I was reading this article and talking to Aram. He pointed to a picture of Turkish fighter jets and said,
"This is bad. We don't have these."
"You have actual turkeys, though. You could just tape bombs to them and send them off... the Kurdish Air Force."
I laughed and laughed at this idea. He didn't think think it was as funny.
I still think my joke was hilarious, but for a more serious discussion of the Kurdish Air Force read this post.
Your Score: Criminal- ISTP
26% Extraversion, 20% Intuition, 60% Thinking, 40% Judging
Rules? Hah! Who needs rules? They merely prevent you from doing your own thing, right? Down with the MAN!
Wow. I wasn't aware that you had access to OKCupid! in prison. And if you're not behind bars, all signs say you're well on your way there in the near future.
You love taking risks. You love the adrenaline rush of extreme sports. You love taking action. Generally, anything that's idiotic, you're in. Wanna light yourself on fire and dive from a 500 metre high cliff into shark-infested waters? I'll write your name down.
However, you do need a lot of alone time because that's when you can finally sort things out in your mind most clearly.
If it wasn't for your analytical and logical skills, I'd vouch that you didn't have a brain at all. The fact that you do have a brain merely means that the likelihood of you being a criminal has just gone up.
Thankfully, you're most probably a good athlete, which will help when running away from the police. If not, prison doesn't seem too far away from you at all.
Just please... stay far away from me.
If you want to learn more about your personality type in a slightly less negative way, check out this.
|Link: The Brutally Honest Personality Test written by UltimateMaster on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
Here's the deal: you answer vocabulary questions and for every correct answer, you donate 10 grains of rice to help feed the riceless.
I know 10 doesn't sound like much, but the site also tracks your vocab level (from 1 to 50), so you can compete against yourself to see how much you know. For me, this means, I can play for hours trying to get my score up to 50.
I haven't yet. So far, I top out at 47. In all honesty, I average in the 40-42 range most of the time.
It's pretty addicting. You need to answer three right to move up a level, but each wrong answer pushes you back a level. It's a lot of fun and you can rack up a lot of rice.
Even if it is vocabulary.
Case in point: state run Irani television has banned the use of the word "women." Read more here.
The word has been replaced with "family." I am not sure how this works in practice. Perhaps in Farsi it all makes perfect sense, but I imagine the evening news must sound like this:
"Today in Tehran, thousands of families protested our eradication of the term currently known as 'family.'"
or is it "Today in Tehran, thousands of family protested...?"
Wait, my mistake. It would be "Today in Tehran, everything was great and many families celebrated their love for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a devout manner."
I just can't imagine why any nation would replace a plural noun with a singular noun!
Oh, wait. My mistake again. They do it to get the international media to cover nonsense rather than stories like this one.
I intend to stop using the word women on my blog in honor of Iran and their diversion skills. I will also use family.
At least I will until I forget.
Just like Iran wants...
I don't know why I don't write anything substantial. I just don't usually feel much like it.
Or it could be because Angie won't stop talking to me while I try to write this. (Hi, Angie)
Today, we bought propane heaters for the house. That's right. Propane. Believe it or not it's a step up. We've been using kerosene until now. It stinks and is rather dirty.
Supposedly, propane is safer and healthier for us. That's what the ex-pats tell us, so we decided to give it a try. We haven't actually purchased any propane, though, so we can't use the heaters. I don't know when I'll be able to give you an update on the quality of propane-generated heat, but I will as soon as I can as I am sure you're just dying to know.
Once you have my recommendation, you can rush out and buy your own propane heaters to replace your old kerosene sopas...
In other news, I have internet at home and it's wireless if you can believe it. And it works! It's a little slow, but that's because I opted for the cheapest package. I may have to change that this next week.
I need faster internet so I can download Christmas Music!
I shouldn't be surprised, but I always am when things don't work.
I am using something called blog.gears to type this. It allows me to use Blogger offline, and then publishes it when I am online again. Whenever that is. Who knows?
I am writing this on Monday night. Hopefully, this will upload the same day. Maybe not.
Things are going well. No complaints.
It's chilly, but not yet cold and Nila is doing really well. I know that's the only reason most of you check this blog anyways.
It's interesting to be back again. I have never been here in the Autumn, so that's new. I've also never been here with a wife and a baby, so that's new, too.
The people here love Nila. They are very happy to meet her and she's gotten some very interesting gifts already. My favorite is a tiny stuffed animal on a keychain. When you press the button in its stomach, it squeals and then says "I love you" while it's eyes light up and the light is red.
So, it's great. A little sqealing, red-eyed animal.
We're starting to make plans for Thanksgiving dinner, too. We'll be able to find a Turkey, but someone will have to kill it (not me) and I don't know what other goodies we'll be able to recreate, but between the ten of us here in the office, we should be able to come up with something good.
It won't be the same as spending Thanksgiving in Ohio, of course. No family, no frui-pagne, no Macy's parade, no Watergate salad, none of Erin's off-color jokes, no White Castle at midnight, no driving to Jeffersonville. Just not the same.
Me, Angie and Nila made it safely to Iraq. We arrived yesterday and today we're settling into our house and office. So far, Nila seems pretty happy.
We spent Thursday night in Dubai and it was very nice, but super hot and really humid. I didn't expect it to be humid. I also didn't expect there to be so many Indian people! We had great Indian food, though.
I'll let you know when I have something more exciting to share.
I am finishing up the last of the laundry so I can pack. I don't want to be rushed tomorrow, so I decided to stay up all night or until I was finished washing clothes.
I had another task, too. I had to finish reading What is the What by Dave Eggers. It's a library book, so I can't take it with me. I started reading it before I went to California, but, as usual, I got busy and didn't finish it, but I was determined to read the whole thing.
It's a fantastic book that I can't recommend strongly enough.
It's about the Lost Boys of Sudan and it's stunning in it's depiction of the struggles - a word too soft - these boys and thousands of Sudanese refugees endured and are still enduring in Africa.
Here's a link to more information on Southern Sudan.
Somewhere along the way Halloween has become an important family holiday. I don't know what your family does - maybe nothing. But, my family has a tradition.
Every year we all get together for Beggar's Night to see the kids' costumes, pass out candy and eat pizza. It's grown since it first started at Christy's and it centered around Kate trick-or-treating. Now there are three kids carting candy home. next year there may be four if Angie and I get desperate enough for candy to force our 14 month-old out onto the streets. And it's changed locations to Vanessa and Rob's home and neighborhood.
But some things remain the same. We still take tons of pictures, we still eat too much pizza and drink too much pop. It goes without saying that we eat too much candy. We laugh alot, too.
That's the best part.
Check out more pictures here.
It's crazy to think that in the past two years, I've travelled to Iraq 3 times.
Ummm, it's crazy to think that in the past two years I've travelled to Iraq.
In other news, I saw this fake map today on the Columbus Underground.
I wish this really existed! That would be pretty boss.
Yeah, that's right. I said boss. I'm bringing it back.
I hope yours is boss.
After reading this, I read some more of Michael Totten's work. I am familiar with his blog, but I read this article from Azure magazine. You should check it out. It includes this quote:
"Erbil, the largest city in Kurdistan, has suffered three terrorist attacks since coalition forces terminated the Baath regime in 2003. The second-largest city, Suleimaniah, was struck only once. The third-largest city, Dohuk, has never been hit at all. More people have been wounded or killed by terrorists in Spain than in Iraqi Kurdistan since 2003. No one has been kidnapped."
She was great on the flight, but not so great now that she's back home after the excitement.
During the 10 o'clock news, Sis told me i look like Jerry Revish. A younger, white Jerry Revish. For those of you who may not know, Jerry Revish is one of the anchors at WBNS, Columbus's CBS affiliate. Well, and also for our CW station at 10 o'clock, which, of course, is where I watched him this evening.
Also, I learned that there's a huge MERDS outbreak in the city. Please take precautions against MERDS!
Yes, much of San Diego County is on fire.
Yes, over 250,000 people have been evacuated.
No, Angie, Nila and I are not among these evacuees. We're perfectly safe. We can see the huge smoke clouds to the north and south of us from our house. From the training center, we get a pretty spectacular view of the the smoke from the fires in southeast San Diego county.
We have been pushed around a little by the Santa Ana winds, but we're good.
I don't have much to say.
Training has been going well. We'll be taking a well-prepared, capable and intelligent group back to Iraq with us, so that's good.
Not like those fools who've gone before. haha
Last night Angie made me eat dinner at a place called "Chinese Food and Donuts." We'd had the donuts last week and they were very tasty. Angie deduced that they must also have good Chinese food, too. She was mistaken. It was some of the lamest Chinese food I've eaten. She was sorely dissappointed.
Here's a link to a good story on Turkey's threats to attack Souhtern Kurdistan/Northern Iraq.
If you haven't been following along, here's the deal:
Turkey has been building up troop levels in it's eastern province along the Iraqi border all summer and they've been threatening to attack the PKK bases in the Kurdish mountains.
The PKK is a Kurdish seperatist group active in Turkey with guerrilla bases inside Iraq. Last week 15 Turkish soldiers were killed by this group (although this blog makes a case for the improbibility that the PKK in Iraq actually had anything to do with it). Since this, Turkey has moved foward with plans and threats to attack.
Here's where things get interesting. Currently, the US Congress is being presented with a nonbinding resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide! the Turks have recalled their ambassador over it (although, they insist he will return). Last year, France approved a similar resolution much to Turkey's consternation. If approved, Turkey may cut off military ties with the US (like they did with France). This would mean that the US could no longer use Turkey as a base for operations in Iraq. Of course, the Bush administration is pushing Congress to reject (or even just ignore) the resolution.
Also, Iran has recently been shelling PJAK in Iraq. PJAK is like the Iranian PKK. Neither Turkey nor Iran admit that their militaries are coordinating attacks against Iraqi Kurdistan. So it must just be a coincidence, I'm sure.
The question, though, is: How will all this affect me? It won't. Even if Turkey attacks, they won't attack anywhere near where we live. The biggest fear would be that Turkey (and maybe Iran) will close their borders to trade. That would mean an end to tasty Turkish cookies in the stores. That would make my life sadder and more difficult.
The day before we came to California, we went to a family reunion of sorts. It was Grandma Kay's sisters and brother (although he was sick and unable to come) and their families. I hadn't seen many of them for years, so it was nice to get together and have a good time and, of course, eat.
When we first told Grandma (Nila) Kay that we intended to name our baby after her, she said "Oh, no. Don't do that. I don't even like my name. No, no."
I did it anyways because I knew at some point this would happen:
It was the first time anyone in this part of the family had seen Nila and Grandma introduced her to each person as "Nila, named after me." She was obviously very happy to have her first grandchild named after her. It was totally worth it.
I haven't been able to keep the blog updated because...umm...
Would you believe that there's a giant sink hole? Well, it's true. There's a giant sink hole/ landslide incident here in San Diego. It makes it very hard to blog with this type of disaster happening in one's vicinity.
Of course, by vicinity I mean a thirty minute drive from where I actually am staying and working, but still. It's on tv and stuff.
In truth, I've just been working hard teaching language and the apartment in which Angie, Nila and I are staying doesn't have internet. We can sporadiclly intercept someone else's wifi, but it isn't consistent enough to rely on.
- Bring my happy back again. So happy to show us. Oh, I ate the lotus.
- Notice me. Take my hand. Why are we strangers when our love is strong. Why carry on without me?
- Now, don't just walk away pretending everything's OK and you don't care about me.
- Off to college, yes you went away. Straight from high school you up and left me...
- You can take all the tea in China, put in a big brown bag for me, sail right round all the seven oceans, drop in straight into the deep blue sea
I saw it a few years ago, but I had forgotten about it completely. It's really pretty good. It's on right now and, though I should be sleeping, I can't stop watching it.
I really wanted to post something tonight. So here it is.
It's a lovely picture and a list of things I need to do over the next few days. Lucky you.
- Finish our newsletter - Angie's already done most of the work
- Begin contacting supporters and prospective supporters - Angie and I have been working on our financial goals now that Nila's here, so now we need to get on the proverbial ball.
- Find a kind-hearted soul willing to donate $460.61 for airline tickets to a certain California town for a certain training program. [That's three round-trip tickets for that price, though. Can you believe it? Thank you, Skybus.]
- Begin seriously studying language texts for above mentioned training program.
- Take and post more pictures of Nila.
- Watch Todd's video. He sent me home with a copy of a couple of his tv programs, but I haven't watched them yet because I don't have a VCR.
- Send those books to Mamosta A and e-mail him to let him know I did it.
- Continue to work on my business plan
Also, your newborn can recognize whether sounds are part of his or her native language.
Your newborn continues to learn language by listening to the basic and distinct sounds (phonemes), such as the "tr" and "cl" sounds in the English language. Your baby remembers sounds and continually learns more nuances of language, which are later expressed when he or she begins to talk.
There isn't too much happening here in the land of the Meekers. Nila has a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning. She went on Wednesday and she goes tomorrow just to be weighed again. She's just below average (the bottom limit of which is 5.5 pounds) and she's lost about 6 ounces since she was born (normal weight loss) which she should regain in the first 10 to 14 days.
See? WebMD is very handy. I've also read the booklet we received from OSU about what to expect with our newborn (Angie's mom laughed and called it an instruction manual. As is "babies never used to come with instruction manuals") cover to cover which means I know a lot of things I never expected to.
Like: did you know that a new mother doesn't start producing milk until the 3rd or 4th day? That means Angie's only been producing milk since Tuesday or Wednesday night. This explains the baby's weight loss. I also know about the colostrum - or pre-milk. [If you google colostrum to make sure you've spelled it correctly, the first link is for bovine colostrum. Surprising.]
I am taking recommendations for good newborn development books, so let me know if you've read one.
Before Nila's birth I vowed not to become one of "those parents." You know, the ones who read baby books and always post crap about their baby on their blogs. But what's a dad to do when he has the most beautiful baby ever?
Flower: Aster or Morning glory
Chinese Sign: The Pig
September 1, This Day in History:
- 1752 - The Liberty Bell arrives in Philadelphia.
- 1897 - The Boston subway opens, becoming the first underground metro in North America.
- 1905 - Alberta and Saskatchewan join the Canadian confederation..
- 1939 - World War II: Nazi Germany attacks Poland, beginning the war.
- 1969 - A revolution in Libya brings Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi to power
- 1972 - In Reykjavík, Iceland, American Bobby Fischer beats Russian Boris Spassky and becomes the world chess champion.
- 2004 - The Beslan school hostage crisis begins when armed terrorists take hundreds of school children and adults hostage in the Russian town of Beslan in North Ossetia.
- 2007 - Appalachian State becomes the first ever team in the college football division formerly known as 1-AA to defeat an AP top 25 team, upsetting Michigan 34 to 32. (For the Buckeye fans)
Saturday's child works hard for a living.
She weighs 5 pounds on the dot and is 19 inches long. She is very healthy and both she and Angie are doing really well. We'll all be home tomorrow, Labor Day, and we will upload pictures here, on Angie's blog and, of course, Nila's blog.
Oh, and the middle name is Nicole.
I checked out a few of them and I have found one that I enjoy very much. It's called GoodReads.com. Here's the deal: you create a profile and begin reviewing books that you are reading/ have read. You can invite your friends and keep up-to-date with what they're reading as well as their reviews of books read.
I have been fighting the temptation to add every book I've ever read! But, I want each book I add to have some sort of value - a good review or something. I have to admit that I have added more books already than I plan to review, so I am trying to slow myself down and just add new books as I read them. We'll see how I do.
If you decide to join, seek me out and be my friend. Unless, of course, you read crap books that I don't want to know about. I don't think that's be anyone who reads this, though.
In the spirit of book love, I've also added the GoodReads widget down below my archives on the right hand side of this page.
Also, you will notice that I have added a new blog to the blog list on the right. Be sure to check it out. Wink, wink.
Here's what I do know. My animal is a snow leopard. You can click on the pic and take a short quiz about ME. If you don't agree with my self-assessment, then the animal will change from a snow leopard to something else, say a flamingo or a snail. Who knows.
I promise to do the same for you - if you are nerdy enough to create your own!
Tomorrow, I'll be babysitting Vanessa and Rob's kids. It should be fun. I'll get to meet Hannah at the bus stop after her first day of second grade. I am looking forward to it.
Other than that excitement, there isn't too much going on. The labor day weekend is coming up, so I am looking for something exciting (I need a thesaurus) to do. Vanessa is planning a game night for Sunday and Mom is making lunch before taking Angie on a shopping spree* for baby supplies. That also occurs on Sunday. All of the activities clumped onto one day leaves me open Friday, Saturday and Monday.
If you're having a party let me know, I'll be there with bells on (not literally, of course, so don't let that stop you from shelling out the invite). But I will need a ride...
You might be interested to know that I stumbled upon an online game that has become an obsession. It's called Tower Bloxx. Check it out.
*Probably not an actual spree
You know me and my strict rules for authenticity...
Here's a (lengthy) quote:
The Turks have been threatening for months to go after the PKK, who have tens of thousands of fighters training in camps inside Iraq, along the Turkish border.
And so the Iranians have spread the rumor, which until now has been accepted at face value, that its own Kurdish dissidents (PJAK) are actually the Iranian branch of the PKK, which the U.S. has designated as an international terrorist organization.
The State Department took Turkey’s insistence that PJAK was allied with the PKK seriously enough that it refused to meet earlier this month with visiting PJAK leader, Rahman Haj Ahmadi, despite his open support for the U.S. military presence in Iraq and his identification with U.S. goals in the region.
Both the PKK and PJAK have training camps in the Qanbil mountain range in northern Iraq. But because of the difficult geography, and their different needs, they inhabit “different sides of the mountains,” Rahman Ahmadi told me in Washington.
“The PKK doesn’t need us,” he said. “They have tens of thousands of fighters, and hundreds of thousands of sympathizers.”
But Ahmadi acknowledges that PJAK and the PKK cooperate to a certain degree, if only to prevent clashes between their own fighters.
“The president of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional government, Massoud Barzani, also has an agreement with the PKK,” he told me. “Does that make Barzani a supporter of the PKK?”
This is not the first time the Turks have played us in Iraq. In 2003, on a flimsy pretext of domestic opposition, they successfully prevented the 4th Infantry Division from crossing Turkey to join coalition forces that liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein.
We can sit by and allow Iran to violate Iraq’s sovereignty, defy the U.S. military, and smash a significant Iranian opposition group on the slim pretext that Iran is “merely” seeking to punish its own rebels, just as Turkey.
Or we can extend protection to the Iranian Kurds who have established training camps in the rugged mountains of northeastern Iraq, and inflict a double blow on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Clearly, the Iranians believe they can thumb their noses at the U.S. military. For more than a week, they have conducted intermittent shelling of Iraqi Kurdish villages in the general vicinity of suspected PJAK bases.
My Iranian sources tell me that the Iranians are hoping to expel PJAK from the area and replace them with Ansar al-Islam, the precursor group to al Qaeda in Iraq.
See? Turkey is the devil. Just like I have always said.
This newest article was listed on the Drudge Report, so the story is making it's way to the American media. Although, I think the Drudge Report isn't so interested in the Kurdish side of the story as much as supporting the "Iran is cr-a-a-a-a-azy" theme they have going.
But, really, they might just be crazy.
Here's an old Saddam joke, updated for the day:
Q: What do Ahmadinejad and Little Miss Muffet have in common?
A: They both have Kurds in their way.
Get it? Curds in their whey. Kurds in their way.
On the way out the door, I found my luggage sitting on the porch! I don't know when it came, but there it was. I was thrilled. Everything was inside and intact, too.
Yay for me.
I encourage you to take time to read these, but, if you can only read one, read the Reuters article.
I have been looking at maps and I finally found the area being bombed. It's pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It's on the other side of Lake Dukan between the lake and the border. That'll help some of you get your bearings.
The Guardian is reporting the Iran has shelled Kurdish villages inside Iraq. (Read more here) The article fails to name the villages, but I can assume that it's areas north of Halabja - maybe an hour or more away if one is driving. That would put it about three hours away from Sulemania and even farther from Hewler, the capital.
Of course, that's just an assumption. I'll keep searching the news to find more information. If you find something out, let me know.
PJAK is, in simple terms, the Iranian version of the PKK in Turkey. The article mentions the Qandil mountains which is the same place the PKK is typically accused of setting up camp. I don't know enough to explain how the two are related, but I know that both battle against oppressive regimes - one supported by the US (Turkey) and one opposed by the US (Iran).
Oops. Did I say "battle against oppressive regimes?" I meant to say "are terrorists." Just in case the CIA reads 13Months...
Also interesting is the lack of reporting by the US media.
I was bored today so I checked out what they call the "Meez" feature on Photobucket..
It's fairly lame in that it's hard to get the "Meez" to actually look like me - which wouldn't be a big deal except that's the whole point of the thing.
However, once I realized I could make it do the Elaine dance from Seinfeld, I was sold.
I've been pretty tired for the past couple of days and today I feel just plain worn out.
I didn't know how bad things were until I made a trip to the bathroom today. I put my underwear on backwards this morning. Backwards! Seriously.
I think I need a nap.
In fact, I'm probably closer to Baghdad than Tal Afar. I can actually hear bombs when they explode in Baghdad. And sometimes armed men patrol the streets and we all have to hide inside until they pass so they don't kidnap us or steal the children.
Plus, when we go the market we have to keep our eyes open for truck bombers, or car bombers, or suicide bombers or snipers and the like. It's pretty stressful. Especially since so many of our friends have died in the past few years. It's been pretty hard on all of us.
My neighbors have even started moving away. The ones that can afford it have left the country and many have gone north to the safer regions, but the ones that can't afford it have gone to the refugee camps up north or in Syria. I hear it's pretty rough there.
But even more than the ones who have left are the ones who stay behind. I don't know if they can't leave or they just have hope for the future, but they stay around like us; afraid everyday.
Of course, this isn't really true for me. I walk around the city without fear and I've never heard a bomb, but it is true for millions of people in Baghdad and other cities in Iraq (like Tal Afar). So, I thank God everyday that I don't live there and I pray every day that they would know peace like I know peace.
Two nights ago, we learned the truth**. Terrorists had cut the power line that runs from Baghdad to Kirkuk and our local dam couldn't produce enough electricity to give us our usual 6 to 8 hours of power.
We were also warned that the following night would be just as bad as crews frantically*** tried to repair the damage.
To my fellow foreigners I said: "Well, it was fine when the terrorists were just killing innocent civilians, but now that they've attacked my electricity, I am angry****."
Oh, and the picture has nothing to do with the post, but she does seem angry about the power situation.
*Of course, I mean cinder blocks
**Total unsubstantiated rumor
***No one here works frantically. I mean frantically in the slowest and most lackadaisical [btw, I totally had to run that word back through the spell checker. I am convinced that this spelling is incorrect, but dictionary.com agrees] manner possible.
Ok, I read this article today which suggests that the US government is planning to assist the Turkish government to attack the PKK in Iraq.
As you may know, the PKK has bases in Northern Iraq (aka Southern Kurdistan) from which they attack the Turkish military across the border.
You know how I hate to drag up politics on the old blog.....
But, give me a break GW! Your willing to risk the peace and stability of Kurdistan on Turkey's anti-Kurd campaign of oppression and would-be genocide? Really?
I am appalled at my government.
In other news, Turkeys recent elections saw the first openly Kurdish candidates elected to the Turkish parliament - twenty of them to be exact. This is a big step in a country where being Kurdish is in fact outlawed. How do you outlaw a race of people?
Of course, the Kurds have their own issues. As previously noted on this (high-quality) blog, Iraq won the Asia Cup final a few days ago. This led to much hoopla, flag waving and literal dancing in the streets. Unfortunately for about 50 people, they waved the wrong flag. The Iraqi flag is illegal up here in Kurdistan, so eager Iraq supporters hoisted the hated flag and landed themselves in jail.
I saw at least 200 individual Iraqi flags on the street that evening just between my house and the place we watched the game, so I know most people were not hassled by the fuzz, but it's ridiculous that even 50 were.
Speaking of the fuzz, Todd and I got stopped at a checkpoint yesterday and had to hand over the registration and his ID (he was driving). Our registration is expired (long story) so they told him they'd keep his ID until we could prove we had a new registration.
I wasn't having any of that, so I got out and argued with the officer. He ignored me, so we went to speak to the officer in charge of the checkpoint. I had spoken to the lesser officer in Kurdish, but I wanted to be as American as possible for the leader; i knew I'd get farther. I again explained that it wasn't Todd's car, so they shouldn't keep his license. He didn't care. He said that's just how it's done.
I used Todd to translate, by the way. I think he secretly loves to translate for me when I argue with Kurdish people.
The officer told me I could go ahead and pay 7000 Dinar and get the ID back right away. I told him it sounded like bribery, but I am pretty sure Todd did not translate that.
So, I asked him for a copy of the traffic laws. You know, something written down that I could study to be sure that I didn't break any more laws. He laughed and said that this wasn't America. I said "Well, YOU must have learned these laws somehow since YOU know when I have broken one. Can I get a copy of what you used to study?"
I am pretty sure that Todd translated all of that. The police officer just shook his head and laughed.
And totally caved. We left with Todd's license.
Oh, and we have a thermometer at the office now. It's currently only about 106 degrees. Feels great!
That's right, the Iraqi soccer team is the best in all of Asia and everyone is pretty excited about it (except the Saudis and the other non-Iraqi Asians, I assume.)
There is much celebrating in the streets at the moment, even here in Kurdistan. So, I say "Good for Iraq. Way to go," or simply "piroze" in Kurdish.
1. Keep the fan in the dry place and far from sunlight.
I think Iraq qualifies as THE dry place.
2. Easy cleaning by using the damp cloth to wipe out the dirty.
3. Do not use the fan near a light object. It will cause a dangerous because fan will imbibe all that light object into the fan.
So, my fan is a tiny black hole sucking all light into itself? This one had me a little worried. I mean, I certainly don't want to be the cause of a dangerous. Especially one that involves imbibing the light object.
I used my fan last night and I slept very well, thank you, but I turned off all the light objects before I turned the fan on. Just in case.
Here's my personal favorite:
Footprints in the Sand
There was a man who, at low tide
Would walk with the Lord by his side
Jesus said "Now look back;
You'll see one set of tracks.
That's when you got a piggy-back ride."
It is called Jani Gal and is based on a novel by Ibrahim Ahmed about life in Kurdistan following the assassination of Sheikh Mahmoud. Well, at least that's what the movie's about. Turns out the book is about the Algerian war for independence.
I kept asking around about the movie and I was told that maybe it would be on TV or maybe I'd just have to buy a copy and watch it at home. Finally, the English-language newspaper published an article that said the movie would show at a theater in Sulemania... as soon as they could find one with quality equipment.
I thought that just meant never.
But, Friday, I saw an ad on PUK TV saying that the movie would play for three nights on that channel. I copied down the dates and the time and told everybody in the office (we were all excited to see it), but I found out later I was wrong.
The movie wasn't going to be on TV; it was going to show at a local theater (an actual theater, not a movie theater) and it would show for three days. We decided to try for the opening night, but we got a call just as we were headed to the theater telling us that it was VIP only and no one could get in. The best we could do would be to get tickets for the next night.
We were already almost in the car so we decided to head to the theater and try to get tickets as soon as we could.
Todd came with us managed to get himself inside the theater while we waited outside watching SUVs pull up and armed guards pop out to protect the Very Important Guests. Before long, Todd came outside and waved us in. He hadn't gotten us tickets for the next night, he had managed to get us admitted to the premiere. He told someone he had American guests and that it would be a shame if we couldn't get inside. The man inside agreed so we got in and got seats and saw our first movie premiere.
More importantly, though, Jalal Talabani's wife was there, Hero. She is Ibrahim Ahmed's daughter. After the movie we got our picture taken with her - again thanks to Todd who schmoozed one of the actors to get us in a picture with the First Lady.
So, I am now closer than ever to my dream of meeting the man himself, Mam Jalal!
To the left you see a bunch of junk for sale on a cart. You can't see the cart, but it looks like you'd expect. It's flat with three wheels underneath and two handles for pushing.
Men will push these all over town filled with goods for sale: candy, vegetables, shoes, dishes. It's called an arabanna.
Do you know the difference between an arabanna and an Arab?
An arabanna wears the tire underneath and an Arab wears it on his head...
Ah, Kurdish jokes...
Do you know the difference between a traffic cop and ice cream?
Ice cream runs when it's hot.
I know nothing about racism.
Today, I listened to D-Dog, our cook, relate the story of her recent trip to Baghdad to Janie. I heard her say that all of the Arabs are dirty and that she feared for her life the whole time she was there. Janie tried to assure her that, in fact, all the Arabs are not dirty.
But what does Janie know? Like me, Janie grew up learning about pluralism and stereotyping, so we know that there's no possible way that ever member of any group can possibly fit all the stereotypes associated with the group; all Arabs can't possibly be terrorist. The facts back us up on this point.
But how much do the facts matter if you are targeted for murder or worse just because you're Kurdish? How would I feel if I went to Baghdad? And I were Kurdish? And old? And had no choice but to go to the center of Hell just to take my mother to the hospital?
Northern Iraq is being flooded with Arab refugees. The Kurds are very hospitable, but behind closed doors they whisper about the Arabs. They distrust them and warn us to avoid them lest we be kidnapped by one of them. Kurdish television runs heart-wrenching PSAs reminding us all of the situation of the Arabs in the south and compelling us to be accepting of them as they flee the violence.
But these are the people that have been murdering the Kurds for hundreds of years. These are the people who burned down Kurdish villages and forced the Kurds into the mountains. These are the people that murdered 5000 people in a single day in Halabja. These are the people that have always treated the Kurds like second-class citizens belittling them and strangling their economy. These are the people that have laid waste to Baghdad and Mosul and Kirkuk. These are the people that packed a truck bomb under blocks of ice to ensure that their bomb infused with nails didn't explode into the sky, but rather killed as many Kurds as possible last month. These are the people that killed almost 100 people in Kirkuk just a few days ago.
And now, here they are. Living among the Kurds, looking for jobs, relying on the Kurds for their future.
No, it's not the same people. Of course, I know that. I know the difference between Arabs and insurgents. But I also know that if a bomb ever explodes in my city, if hundreds of Kurds die, it won't be from a Kurdish bomber. It'll be an Arab.
But, even knowing that, I am uncomfortable when the Kurds point to an Arab and whisper “Pise.” I shake my head and say, no, they're not dirty. When a certain friend rails against the Arabs and the Muslims, I remind him that Jesus tells us to love our enemies.
Today, I heard that tattoos are all the rage in Baghdad and Kirkuk. It seemed like a very un-Muslim thing to do, so I was surprised and I started to make a joke about it, but then Cory told the rest of the story. It's so families can identify bodies.
People are getting tattoos so their mothers can find their bodies after a suicide bomb attack.
And still they must forgive.
I know nothing about forgiveness, either.
Now, I'm not a huge fan of the Burger King - just that genius chicken fries commercial. The important part of the story is that "Fourth Meal" is apparently a real industry term. I thought it was just something that Taco Bell made up. I was wrong.
"Fourth Meal" is a meal eaten after dinner. It's not the same as a do-over meal, although they are similar. This is for the hearty eater unsatisfied with 3 meals and between-meal snacks and it's eaten after 10 pm.
Kurdistan doesn't have anything like this really. Except that they eat dinner really late, so sometimes you eat fruit and drink tea after 10 pm, but it can't count as fourth meal because it's attached to the third meal.
I find myself only eating second meal most days because I get up too late for the first one and I'm too lazy to make the third one myself. I think this is why it's so important for Kurds to get married; so no one goes hungry.
Did you know that White Castle was the first fast-food restaurant to stay open 24 hours? Well, you do now. The article is fairly interesting and it warns us that KFC may soon join the late-night fray, so watch out.