Friday, April 1, 2011

The Kurdish people have "clean hands".

My observations on this began on a car ride to the square. Our translator, M. drove us in his Nissan double cab truck. On arriving at the parking lot there was no space, so he just parked blocking the exit of 3 other cars. We looked questionally as he got out of the truck and asked if he was going to leave it there. He said causally, "it's OK, I will leave the key. We looked at him in amazement and he repeated the statement. "Then they can move the truck if they want to get out". We ( from Germany, Czech Republic, US and Canada)  just laughed, imagining what would happen if we did the same thing in our home countries. Even a bicycle needs to be locked in Winnipeg if one does not want it to disappear.

After that day I began to observe similair attitudes in the actions of the people in the square: men walking along the sidewalk with a stack of bills 3 inches high carried openly in their hand; street vendors collecting the money into a container just sitting on their cart, easily acessible to anyone; small shops being closed for the night by putting blankets over the wares.

I asked M. about this. I wondered if this is because of the Muslim faith, or whether it is a Kurdish cultural trait that stealing is not a thing to worry about. I oberved that there is poverty here even though the economy is much better than other parts of the middle east. He did assure me that "thieving" does sometimes happen here, but that in general the Kurdish people have "clean hands". The community is very small and close and honour is very important.

I am fully aware that my early impressions and observations may turn out to be totally wrong and of course that it may be foolish to comment on them. But if it changes or if I see things that firm up these observations, I will let you know.

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