Sunday, 26 October 2008

Everyone is allowed to enter Iraq...

...apart from the actual iraqis themselves.

After waiting 2 hours at border control in the seemingly endless queues, we were immediatley stamped and shoved, after I told my parents to"بحبحوها", which translated means to 'ease' it. Basically give money out to the workers, so that they get to work faster. I heard mutterings and occasional laughter that we were going back. Hmm. Not a good sign. I am now at the Syria-Iraq border, and you can literally feel Iraq looming behind all the guards and barricades. Through the unmoving, deadly silent traffic, everyone waits.

Its unbelievably cold, and only a few minutes ago I started opening the bags of luggage, just to find something to keep me warm. Currently, my mother and sister are asleep, my dad has wandered somewhere, and I can hear him heavily debating politics with someone, and I can see the shadow of our driver leaning outside, talking to a man who has a lorry full of water.

I feel extremely disorientated, and frankly I can not get to sleep, despite the lullaby of snoring around me.

I'm not sure whether this is sunrise or sunset. I have waited almost a day to enter Iraq, and the most annoying thing? I have counted up to 5 military cars driving up and down across the border.

I hear the cries of babies throughout the record long traffic line, as well as the complaints of thousands of iraqis, syrians, and other quiet dialects which I can't make out in the hushed silence, who have been in this forsaken no man's land for apparently days on end.

After scrambling out of the car, everything feels even more weird, as there's no lights whatsoever, just the barely audible whispers of hundreds of people waiting. And not to return to Iraq.

I almost fall as I walk, having spent over two days travelling either by car, airplane or bus. After being motioned to come over, by an old woman wearing completley black, I kind of feel awkward, and oblige unwillingly, (but not before nudging my mother awake). Apparently its sunrise, and today is Monday. She talks about everything and nothing, and then after a while asks me my age. I reply, after not having said a word for half an hour. She gasps dramatically and makes me say "wallah" (honestly). " You seem and act much older". Frankly I have no idea how to answer to this. How is a 17 year old supposed to act?! If I so much laugh higher than 1 decibel I get told off for being 'childish' and attention seeking, and if I act like myself I get told to loosen up, and enjoy myself.

What the hell?! I loathe the rules and ettiquette of iraqi families. Especially with regard to females. They expect me to be a 'lady', and then tell me I shouldn't take everything so seriously.

Well, old woman, I DON'T CARE.

I obviously need sleep. I am getting waaay too cranky.


Little Penguin said...

did you reach your destination bil salama?

When I crossed the Iraqi/Syrian borders four years ago, I was shocked at the fact that paying the guards spared your car being searched.. imagine how much weapons were smuggled..

I, too, hate some Iraqi customs.. i've been told to 'chill out' so many times.. they can all sod off as far as I care..

touta said...

I know what you mean, I was shocked, but i kind of expected it. Currently, I am passing the tigris river i think, but half an hour ago, someone called our driver, and apparently there has been bombings at the syria-iraq border, where US forces have killed civilians. We just misssed that, and now i realise why there were so many military vehicles passing through the border.
lol at the 'sod off'.