Jack Serle

Archive for 2012|Yearly archive page

From Kirkaldy to Kirkuk

In Kurdistan on February 17, 2012 at 1:07 PM

It is pretty clear that spheroid demagogue Alex Salmond has run rings around flaccid scourge-of-the-poor David Cameron. Plans are afoot for the perfidious Celts north of the border to break free of the imperialist tyrants in London.

Choleric Englishmen are terribly huffy and making patronising remarks about independence cursing Scotland to third-world status. Red headed Scots on a haggis and Braveheart bender are invoking the spirit of William Wallace.

The whole shebang prompts thoughts of other restive northerners. Kurdistan Region is a de facto country. The Kurds have their own government, their own foreign representatives, and their own (modest) income from oil exports. But casting off the yolk of Baghdad is long-yearned for ideal.

*****

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A clarification, an Iraqi putsch, marriage counselling

In Kurdistan on January 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

A Clarification

It has come to attention that my previous post may have given the impression that walking the streets of Erbil means dodging fetid puddles of sewage. The sanitation infrastructure is lacking it is true but it is not the Somme.

The tidal wave that struck me on my walk home was not one of molten effluent. It was noisome to be sure and my coat has taken on an aromatic quality since. But I was not coated in a city’s worth of brown plopsies.

I did not wish to allow my invective to denigrate the work of Erbil’s sewage engineer. He does a sterling job, under the circumstances.

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Oh to Hell with it all, it’s a question of infrastructure you see

In Kurdistan on January 8, 2012 at 4:29 PM

In 1991 Saddam Hussein had his nose well and truly biffed and bloodied by Uncle Sam and friends. The Kurds had the temerity to choose that moment to declare themselves autonomous from Baghdad. Saddam, broke and running low on bullets, decided to cut them off from all government funding. Perhaps he hoped starvation would do what his army failed.

As a consequence of this issolation, crippling UN sanctions and an idiotic civil war Kurdistan spent the years leading up to the 2003 occupation very much on its uppers. What little income the nascent Kurdish government could get was gleaned from black market trade throughTurkey, Iran and Syria. The ramifications of this penury are writ large in the woeful state of Erbil’s infrastructure. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy birthday to me, Beirut I love you yet I have to leave you

In Kurdistan on January 6, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Leaving Beirut and H. behind I make my way to Rafic Hariri Airport for an 8.45am flight to Erbil via Jordan. Getting out of bed at 6am is never easy, not least when you have to leave someone else in it.

F. my taxi driver is surprisingly charming given the hour. And the fact that when I arrived in Beirut the previous week he waited for three hours at arrivals unaware that I had hopped in another cab and boosted into town.

Unfortunately his charm cannot contend with the fact that I am awake before dawn on my birthday. Read the rest of this entry »