Wednesday, August 25, 2010


From the Lufthansa Airbus I got my first view of Erbil (one week and 19 hours ago). Erbil is a city is a circle built in rings, like Paris with its arrondissements. Surrounding Erbil is brown. And tan. And gray. From the air Erbil looks like its own little oasis.

Two of my colleagues and I walked through a public park in Erbil a few days ago. The park has croaking frogs and a man-made pond with swan-shaped paddle boats. Sprinklers blasted all over the park with the force of a huge engine. Oh the water wasted! Oh the green grass growing! A little oasis of green green grasses amidst the dusty concrete jungle of the Middle Eastern city.

This morning I clicked open our daily security briefing email. As has been the case every day since I arrived, and every day since 2004, on the map of Iraq Erbil is colored green-means-safe. And all around, all the other provinces, are red-red-danger or slightly-red-worry or red-red-red-evacuate. But Erbil is green.

A reprieve from violence. An oasis of grass, water, and peace.

But how does that happen? Why on earth? I’m so eager to read more, more, more to better understand the WHY.

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