ARBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan — Interviews with figures of authority (FOA) in this region follow a pretty standard pattern. You greet them, shake their hands and then you sit down. Then you explain what you’d like to talk about. What follows is a 15-20 minute statement by the FOA broken up by the translator who never works quite quickly enough for the statement-maker, so only about every other block of speech is fully translated.
Politics as an extension of warfare
Back to Iraq — at last
CIZRE, Turkey — Thanks to the extremely helpful folks at Iridium, the sat phone is again working. Sorry for the radio silence, but it finally ended on a hotel’s rooftop in southeastern Turkey after Ilfan, the bellhop/electrical engineer (I’m not kidding), spliced an extension cord to provide power while I alternated between cursing the cruel …
DIYARBAKIR — Sunday night in Diyarbakir is actually a lot more entertaining than it sounds. Emre has become our constant companion, translating for us, joking with us, showing us around. And while J. and I wait for our press passes, Emre decided to cheer us up by taking us to a Kurdish bar. Leading us down rickety wooden stairs, as soon as he opened the door, the zinging sounds of the saz and the wailing, eerily beautiful singing style of the musician swirled around us.