True Crime: Baghdad

Psst. Hey. Come 'ere.. Let me tell you a secret:
There is no crime in Iraq.

Hey Hey Easy now!
I mean, yeah sure there is, but not in the same sense as Chechnya, or Bogotá, Colombia, or Beirut (Circa 1980ish...)

I was watching a stupid mafia movie on TV last night, when it came to me:

No wonder all of them nice folks outside think we’re another breed, a race of rugged, Spartan survivors! They MUST be watching too much TV!

Ladies and Gentlemen:
TV says that Law Enforcement is unorganized and disheveled, well, they’re not alone.
Everyone else is too.
I’m obviously talking about the petty crimes here, robberies, grand theft autos, hold-ups, and the occasional random killing.

There is none of the cartel-like organizations here, run from behind the scene by ominous Godfathers with thick cotton-enhanced accents.
None local, that is.

As for the much-more organized assassination and kidnapping rings, they fail to generate interest unless the target is a VIP and/or has a non-Iraqi passport.
An Iraqi’s kidnapping or murder fails to register with the media (foreign AND local) unless he or a close relative have business in the Green Zone.

But, I digress.

Once, I said we weren’t survivors, and Lynnette didn’t see my point, well, I’ll try to be clear as to why i believe that:

Iraq is a horrible place no doubt, BUT: it aint too difficult to have a reasonable degree of personal safety...
The rules of survival are causal and finite.

so, this was the logical next step:

Staying Alive in post-war Iraq FOR DUMMIES: (Short Iraqi Version)

1. NEVER EVER go out when IT’S DARK; preferably lock yourself in after 6 p.m.

2. NEVER EVER stop to give help of ANYKIND to ANYONE you do not know, and even then, be careful.

3. ALWAYS give American Hummers the right of way, unless you want to be rammed or turn to Swiss-cheese. Even if your wife is giving birth in the back. ESPECIALLY that!

4. ALWAYS leave at least 100 meter distance between you and any Hummers you see, NOT cuz they have a sign saying so, but, cuz you don't want to be close when they get hit, or when they open fire in retaliation.
5. ALWAYS give right-of way to Iraqi Police and National Guard Vehicles. Unless you want to be rammed or shot at.

6. NEVER EVER use your cell-phone in public when you’re alone. That would draw attention to you, making you stand out.

7. ALWAYS take the main roads, do NOT attempt short-cuts, back-alleys, or any detour from any kind. Try the best to go directly from point A to B, traffic jams and road blocks notwithstanding.

8. NEVER count money in public.

9. NEVER carry anything of value (jewellery, expensive cell phones, laptops, CD/mp3 players) out in the open. CONCEAL is the word here.

10. CHANGE your movement patterns every now and then. Break any routine you have.

Ok, now those are the rules for Iraqis, and as you can see clearly, they are almost universal, what goes for Jasim goes for Jack as well...But, what about all the "Jack"s HERE? The visitors to our country who’d like to go “sight-seeing”? Those thrill-seekers (see: Idiots) tired of the safety of the Green Zone and want to venture out in search of new ground to break?
I dedicate this to you…

Staying Alive in post-war Iraq FOR DUMMIES: (Short NON-Iraqi Version)

1. AVOID coming to Iraq in the first place. If not possible, then:

2. NEVER trust Iraqis, we are a scheming, profiteering, xenophobic lot, and we’d love nothing more than to gain a few hundred thousand dollars from an “Ajnabi” (Foreigner). Even the people who work with you in the GZ, they are vetted and scanned sure sure, but who knows what lurks in the hearts of men?
*the shadow knows…. cough cough*

3. DO NOT leave the Green Zone unless with an Armed Escort, and even then, carry a personal weapon.

4. DO NOT stay at the same place for too long.

5. WATCH who you be friends with.

6. Word of the day: LOW-KEY.

There are many more, but its getting late, and you’re getting bored, and I’m sounding more and more as a hack paranoid bore, who hides his head in the sand when hearing a gunshot… (I’m not like that, really! I usually freeze, unable to move)


I don't know bout hit-prices, but regarding kidnappings, it’s an established norm nowadays that the opening price is about 20’000 USD, everything is negotiable from there, it can run as low as 2000-3000 USD if you’re lucky!

And Another final thing:

Who invented Oatmeal?
No offence to the guy, but I think he should be taken outside and shot.

I hate Oatmeal. Noooo. I H-A-T-E Oatmeal.
What is the point of Oatmeal anyway?
No Color, No Taste. No Smell; Just Texture.

Colorless, tasteless, odorless goop.

But, when someone goes to the trouble of making you a bucket of the stuff at TWO in the morning, you must be polite, say gracious thanks, and down it with eyes closed.

My stomach still grumbles.

Post feels like its unfinished, or unpolished, probably both.
Will be back later.
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