Monday, September 24, 2012

Looking for the rage the media speaks of...

I am back in Sulaimani again. Before I flew I sat in the CPT Aboriginal Justice Team's house in Toronto and read of horrific things that were happening in the Middle East. I looked at maps that showed where these things were talking place and the blue dots that covered many, many places in the area where I was headed. I knew that my friends and extended family might be wondering why I was heading out on the plane into the area where this was taking place.

However, as I flew I knew that I was not worried. I spoke to an older French man on the bus shuttle. His last words to me were, "I hope you come back alive". But I was not worried. I saw no evidence in Istanbul of this rage despite it being the Turkish weekend day off and seeing the streets filled with Turkish people in conservative dress. 

On my first day here I asked our advisor and friend, Mohammed, what he had observed. He said that all had been quiet although he had heard of a small protest in capital city, Hawler/Erbil. I Facebook chatted with another friend of our team whose home is up north in Cholman . He is a journalist and I expected that he would have heard of demonstrations of rage. He said that all he knew of were  peaceful demonstrations in Hawler, up north and in Sulaimani.

Avaaz website posted an article talking of the media's hyperbole of the situation. It spoke of the tiny percentage of Muslims who were taking to the streets and the even tinier who were using violence. The vast majority, even if upset at the content of the youtube movie, were going about their daily lives.

This is what I see in Sulaimani. I have not received any more attention than usual due to my foreignness. However, I relished the attention I did get on Friday afternoon on my walk home from the bazaar.

First some background information:

Last year when I arrived the bathroom tap was dripping a lot. No one else seemed to mind enough to act, so I took it upon myself to give it a try. I fugured that all it needed was a couple of little rubber O rings. Well, first I had to get it apart which took about 7 trips to the nearby tiny hardware store to find the right size of wrench/spanner. Then, once it was apart I realized that it was a whole contraption inside that tap. So I took it over and tried to find the right size. (Of course with each trip I had to wait until all men were served, plus a few more that came after me. I learned to be a little more assertive!)

But alas- it still was leaking and so I remembered a special plumber white tape that can be used to wrap around pipes. I decided to try a new larger place. I wore my big shoulder bag plus a wool shawl. Amazingly , the proprieter was a woman, the first I had ever seen  serving in a shop.

And she had a tiny girl with her. After showing her some masking tape and a piece of pipe that I had brought for such purposes, she knew exactly what I needed. Then I went to pay and the minor catastrophe happened. The little girl had walked up to my legs and was hidden under my bag. I tripped over my shawl that hung low and stepped all over her with alot of my weight. Ah. I felt so horrible as she cried softly and her mother comforted her (and me). Fortunately, I knew the word- biburra, I'm sorry.

I met the family a couple more times when I purposefully went to their shop for hardware needs.

But let's fast track to this week. Team mate Rosemary and I had gone to the bazaar and I decided to take the way home that passed their shop. As I came up to the shop I saw the woman, Nazanin, and her 3 little girls: Sara, Sanaria and little Sima who would no longer fit under my shoulder bag.  They saw me coming and were very excited. As I approached them I could hear Sima saying, Katy, Katy. Nazanin asked us into the house and served a welcome cup of water. We laughed and laughed as I tried to remember Kurdish that I had not touched for 4 months. I felt so happy to be with them.

1 comment:

  1. Kathy, I am so glad that you posted. I have been praying for you, your team and the wonderful Kurdish people. I am glad to hear that were you are, there is no violence. You look happy to be there, and that is a wonderful way to serve....with joy :)