Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's Not To LIke?

Iraqi woman stares into the camera. She's not about to smile.

After banging around this country for over a year I’ve just now come to the conclusion that Iraqis do not like us, not at all. I know that it’s hard to fathom, what’s not to like? Westerners in general, and Americans specifically, are happy, jovial, albeit culturally insensitive people that are here to rebuild their country. Yes, all of that is true, but in the eyes of the average Iraqi we were the ones that broke it in the first place. In the words of retired General Colin Powell, “… you break it, you own it”. To be truthful, our “ownership” has not been all that good.

At best the Iraqis tolerate us simply because we’re slowly making infrastructure improvements, we’re the only game in town at the moment, we employ a lot of them, and not having us here right now would be exponentially worse. At worst, they want to blow us up, and speed off to paradise.

The Iraqi people that I come in daily contact with have worked for years alongside westerners, and still there’s an undercurrent of disdain, or maybe more accurately, disapproval. They don't understand the western culture and simply try to exist alongside it while maintaining some semblance of their own cultural and religious identity.

In the meantime we are working to make the best of the situation at hand because that’s really all we have. In the end we rely heavily on one another and working friendships are formed, but if conditions were better I believe they would just as soon see us off to the airport with a hardy “thank Allah those idiots are gone”.


Anonymous said...

Can you really blame them? It seems we had similar feelings towards a certain government that commanded and ruled over us about 230 years ago until we had enough and kicked them out by force (with a bit of help from others who didn't like them).
It is a shame that a country that is so culturally, socially, religiously, and ethnically diverse as the USA isn't more socially, culturally, religiously, and ethnically sensitive to ourselves, let alone the countries that we "break". It never really made much sense to me.
I love this blog, such a diverse and insightful range of insights. Keep up the good work and keep safe.

Anonymous said...

Vastly different culture indeed.
Safe travels.
Cathy B