These are comments from readers that want me to go to Baghdad
More or less.
torrejón de ardoz, 27 august 2003
You know, i don´t have any cash to send you but as
soon as i make it (i am struggling to maintain a four
kid family with a business language school that i have
founded here in Madrid where unlike you i finally put
down roots but i
do want to encourage you. As a matter of fact you see
many things exactly as i see them and what you are
doing is important.
When are you coming to spain? Maybe i could lay a
little cash on you then, and surely i would be happy
to have you stay with us. I promise many of your
observations coincide with mine.
I know you don´t need to go to Baghdad and i don´t
blame you if you don´t but i wish i had your eyes and
ears there reporting back to me. The media is so
sensationalistic but you seem to have an open and
honest view of things especially as far as gageing
where peoples hearts are. That is your mission
--discern the hearts of men and tell it like it is.
Ha, ha impossible, but you don´t do too bad anyway.
and good job O Noble Traveller of the Earth and
its Cultures Thereof,
Maybe not the best reasoning, but I would go just to say youâ€™ve been there!
Donâ€™t go all that way to Iraq, and get so close, and then just decide, hmmmm, no, I donâ€™t feel like it. Or â€˜itâ€™s hardâ€™. Just friggin do it... even if you just go for one day.
Itâ€™s not like youâ€™re likely to ever get back there, right?
And what if it gets bombed even further to shit, and then thereâ€™s nothing there to see?
A little story...
My boss was kicked out of his house when he was 18 (in London, circa â€˜65), so him and his friend bought a vw bus and drove by land from London down to the south tip of India, and took a boat to Indonesia, then Australia.
The best part of his trip was Afghanistan... heâ€™s fairly well traveled, and said that by far it was the most amazing place he had ever been... the architecture, the people, the land, just amazing... straight out of Arabian Nights.
Since then itâ€™s obviously been bombed to shit, it doesnâ€™t even closely resemble what it did then. He feels incredibly lucky to have seen it when he did.
I know Baghdad is probably not amazing in that sense, but the point is that it could drastically change over the next few years, and if I were you, Iâ€™d take the time to get there and see it if only for the sake of having seen it.
You donâ€™t seem the type to be afraid of a challenge, so whatever it takes, just freakinâ€™ do it!
My 2 cents...
I feel you must GO. There is a truth to be told there, the hearts and minds of every day Iraqi people. We watch CNN and are told nothing of substance. The Iraqis are likely to be a beautiful people caught up in world events not of their choosing, and their views on the ongoing war are unknown, a mystery worth unraveling, a story worth discovering for yourself and for your subscribers. This will be a very different kind of travel than you are used to and perhaps will be a life changing event, or at the very least satifying.
Tell us about their culture, their religion, their family life, their educational upbringing. You may not realize you are a traveling sociologist and anthropologist.
Go do what you want.
Women are a critical part of daily life. No women = depression.
Turkey = women on out and about. India = women on out and about.
Although, I can say I would have liked for you to at least visited Baghdad for a week or two (and then blast off to Turkey or India).
But, what do I know -- you gotta do what makes you happy -- life is precious remember?
And, no I don't think it is selfish to leave to make yourself happy.
BLOG what you want of this..John from Alabama
The thoughts I hear about Baghdad is that more rich people live there
and there is less acceptance of the US. I would personally like to get
your view of a couple of the Sadam Mansions. Maybe see what the
cuisine is like compared to northern Iraq. I also heard that Sadam drained a
bunch of the delta in the south of Iraq. Have you thought about going
to Kuwait? What are the Saudis thinking? How about around Iraq like
Turkmenistan or Tajikistan? Those countries are mostly Muslim and not
at war and might be pretty cheap hobo country? Do you have to go to
Turkey to get to India? If you can get to Kuwait maybe you can go on from
there. I know you can fly from Kuwait to Bombay.
Am enjoying the letters,
Jackie likes your diet,
Got to Baghdad if not for a day...why? 1. it's Baghdad 2. you'll have
difficulty accomplishing your mission in Iraq assessing the nature of
the country if you don't go to see, touch and feel Baghdad.
Maybe people are apathetic maybe because they think northern Iraq is
boring. That may turn around if you go to Baghdad increasing the risk to your
life.Sick, I know.
You may be feeling apprehensive because of the negativity you're
receivingfrom some readers.
What are they saying? Is one of them named Art, by chance? Just
Good luck making your decision. Can't wait to hear.
All the best,
Petra is in Jordan. Romans took it from the Arabs in about 100 AD and carved up (masterfully) the cave dwellings into huge Roman pillars and columns, temples and such right out of a living red rock cliff face. Something like seeing a Roman temple carved into a wallside at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Open for tourists to view, so that girl could go there, no problema. It's a big deal, like Angkor Wat in Cambodia. There's something epic like it carved into a rock wall in Egypt. Monumental. Worth searching for a pic on the Web.
I'm happy about you going (or equally not going) to Baghdad, but the question you might ask yourself is will you be kicking yourself later if you approached it but didn't go out there? Something like picking up some volcanic ash and stuffing it in a cigar tube while at Mt. St. Helens or a chunk of concrete from the Berlin Wall. Looking back and say you were a "Witness to History". It's not worth infinite crap though, so know your own mind. Just a wildhair bit at that. To possibly misquote Jack Nicholson -- it's "Bovine Residue". Oh Hey btw ! ...I think Baghdad Bob stuff would sell even better than Iraqi postcards - perhaps a cottage industry for you on eBay after you leave there. A great novelty, sell them one at a time, like hammocks. Imagine eating cornflakes from a bowl just setting on a Baghdad Bob placemat. That kind of thing. I know I may sound wacky, but I've been up all night and a skunk just sprayed someplace outside...so it smells much worse than I could possibly sound. It's affecting my reason.
You mention Paris. My sister lives in Lyon, France. Her place has a big botanical garden butting up against her back door - she even has her own gated entrance to the Gardens, even though they lock the front gates at night. She says there are lots of Arab types that suddenly showed up in the Gardens out back, just before Bush's deadline in Iraq. Flooded the place with Arabicity. Her husband is a State Dept. officer and he gives these Middle-Easterner's the Eye. He calls them "Suspects".
Damn, that Rudi Bakhtiar's looking good! You've got an eye for the ladies. 50 million Frenchmen can't be wrong. Si or no?
...Just to let you know what is going
on. We like to keep our ducks in a row as best we can. Hot over here. We
need to know what is going on in Bagdad. Go if you can but keep yourself
Bill & Mary R
Hobo, how else will ordinary people ever see those parts of the world "un-edited" if you don't go.
You are our eyes and we appreciate you.
I'm reading your thoughts and travels through Irak for the last two
Most interesting for me are the pictures, well commented, and very
illustrative of whats happening there. Very good work.
About the reasons to go to Baghdag... I'm sorry that can't tell you
something convincing, all i can say is that if I were you, i will be
heading to Baghdag right now... :) I know that things are getting
dangerous, but we need witnesess about whats happenning there.
Anyway, and most important, take care... think in safety.
I know that your opinions on this war and mine are not the same, but i
think we both share the respect for these people.
Next month i will be heading to Syria, Jordan and Israel for a 3 week
trip, and was worried about security, but reading you articles and
watching your photographs, all my worries fade out... :)
David G Spain
Going to Baghdad is a tough one. Some people amy think of going there
to be a status thing where they could say, "Hey man, I've been to Baghdad",
but not enjoy any part of it at all. From what I've read Andy The
Hobotraveler has gotten a feel for the culture of Iraq both Kurdish and otherwise
and the capital may not emit the same type of culture or feel of Iraq since it
was taken by the Americans. One Reason to go would be to see if there is a
change from outside Iraq to Baghdad which there may or may not be.
Personally I would go, not for status but to see what the political and
social climate would be like compared to the rest of the country. The
capital city might very well be a totally different world inside the
country. Who really knows until it's seen with your own two eyes and
CNN. I vote yes.
find out where saddam is hiding and interveiw him.