Posted by: sean | August 28, 2009

Scene from the Baghdad airport

Fanoos1Years ago, when I read Colin Turnbull’s account of the Ik, I should have learned my lesson that those who have suffered misfortune aren’t really any less likely to turn around and visit it upon others. In other words, I should have learned by now that man is often a complete shit.

But I haven’t. I’m consistently disappointed, if not usually surprised, to see the wretched of the earth (often gratuitously) making life even worse for their fellow wretched.  So it was with a heavy heart that I read this scene from the Baghdad airport:

I walked into the arrivals hall and almost tripped over the dozens of Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis and other South Asians who were camped out in the lobby. The Americans and, increasingly, the Iraqi government recruit them for manual labor. The Americans hire them mainly because they don’t trust Iraqis to work among them on their bases, and I’ve been told the Iraqis are now turning to them because they are cheaper than local hires. An Iraqi immigration officer kicked one thin South Asian man out of his way and cursed at another who was sitting in front of the office. The man just looked up and said, “As salamu alaikum.” The Iraqi mocked his accent and walked away.

Ramadan karim, brother.


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