Monday, June 07, 2010

Events of the Day

Here are some of the things we've experienced over the last 24 hours: called for: Widespread Dust. And there was - thanks to a sand storm last night that blanketed everything (including our laptop computers!) in a thin layer of dirt. Lots of masks being worn on the streets today - which have an eerie orange glow.

A cockroach in our house was so big, we weren't sure whether to kill it or charge it rent. Our housemate, Carmen Gentile, did the deed, smashing the beast with his flip flop. Carcass remains at the bottom of the stairs. (As you can tell from our living room below, we do have lots of room for extra house guests.)

This afternoon we heard about a killing in Abu Ghraib (the rural farm area, not the city). Information we had linked the victims to America, and we wanted to learn more. Our translator called the Shiekh in the area who arranged for us to film the funeral and talk with the family. I borrowed an abayah (the shapeless black cloak women here wear), Kevin changed from his heavily pocketed cameraman pants into jeans, and we were on our way. But we never made it. Iraqi police at the Abu Ghraib checkpoint told us it was too dangerous to continue without an escort. And they weren't going to give us an escort without a letter from the Baghdad commander - something that could take days to get. So, we turned around and on the way home stopped for coffee at the CNN house, drank a Pepsi with the Al-Jazeera crew, and got a close look at the car bombing that rocked the Al-Hamra Hotel back in January pushing news crews out.

We're learning that the common expression "Inshallah" (God willing)usually means "Ain't sh-t gonna happen today."

Best quotes of the day come from Martin Chulov (The Guardian):

"Everything here contradicts everything you think you know."

At a checkpoint in the International Zone, an Iraqi soldier asked: "Do you have any weapons?" "Only a pen," Martin replied with a smile.

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