Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Little Blurry

Sometimes even bad shots look kind of neat. I tried to shoot a palm tree at night but the long exposure time picked up too much camera shake. The result was a blurry shot but is sort of interesting nonetheless. I wish I could say that it was by design.

Like almost every other organization in Iraq we employ a certain number of Iraqi guards to man static positions around the clock, keeping vigil on the streets and grounds surrounding the villa. While it’s not glamorous work it’s unspeakably vital to the overall security of the compound.

This morning I caught one of the guards fast asleep at his post, endangering everyone in the villa. I went through our established procedures when this happens, but what struck me was how unremorseful the guard was. It was as if in his eyes he did nothing wrong. This is an aspect of the Arab culture that I will never understand, and it drives some westerners absolutely insane, a complete lack of personal responsibility for anything.

One colleague of mine observed that nothing every gets done here because there is no initiative to succeed. All responsibility for a project’s success or failure is taken away from the individual; hence it is better to do nothing at all than to show initiative. Try wrapping your head around that.

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