Sophia's Peace Work

Friday, February 01, 2008

Homeless American Woman gets the Royal Treatment from Kurdish Minister

Sometimes my Arab colleagues say the darndest things. Yesterday one told me, "Look, you could be a homeless person off the street from the U.S.A. and the Kurds would still treat you like royalty." But the implied flip-side is, if your Arab, the Kurds will cast you out on the street.

Since generally Americans are well liked in Kurdistan and Arabs rather universally despised there is a certain truth to this. I worry about my team, made of up of just a few Kurds and mostly Arabs, when they go out to do field work. They would have trouble at the checkpoints without the Kurds to negotiate them through. Working for an Arab organization, it is always a bit of a surprise how a Minister will smile and laugh with me, and then, as recently happened, say disparaging things against my organization in the local media. Is it that they don't really associate me with my own organization, despite my calling card? Or is it just the same-old, same-old, tired, two faced nature of Iraqi culture?

Whatever got this particular Minister's goat up has been smoothed over through the help of other Kurdish friends who interceded on our behalf (a bit like my Kurdish teammates negotiating the team through another checkpoint). Trust can be lost in a day ... but it takes time, a long time, to build it up again.


  • R U sure the Iraqi has double faces ? You have to learn more and listen to your homemates what they say about them ,hony !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 17, 2008 9:24 PM  

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