Monday, June 16, 2008

Quick Cultural Rant

We spent the better part of the day today driving around the city of Baghdad on various tasks. My Scottish partner was commenting that the nature of the Arab culture is so terribly fatalist. You can see this simply by they way that they drive; blasting through intersections, cutting off everyone else on the road, no regard what so ever for traffic laws or even norms. It’s as if no one else exists but them, as if they don't care what happens to them or anybody else.

We remarked that courtesy and politeness in this culture are seen as weakness, and that if given the slightest opportunity an Arab driver will put his and your life in danger just to pull his car in front of yours. It’s simply amazing to watch, and you can almost count on an Arab driver doing something absolutely ludicrous, it’s inevitable. All of that just makes our job all the more difficult as we spend a lot of time wondering. "what's the stupidest thing that driver in front of us could do right now?"

Finally it was one of those moments that I wish I had my camera. We came up behind a BMW on the highway leaving the Baghdad airport heading for the city. Across the two bucket seats in the front were four Iraqi men, in the back were crammed another four, and to cap it off there were four sitting in the trunk facing rearward with their feet dangling off the bumper. A Kodak moment for sure, but I make it a habit not to carry my camera while working. I’ve got other things I need to be looking at aside from photo opportunities.

1 comment:

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 06/17/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.