Sunday, July 23, 2006

This thrown in . . .

Tala, Andrew and Jack. Tala and Jack are Iraqi-born ex-pats hailing from London and Switzerland, respectively. They're two of our BBAs; Bilingual, Bicultural Advisors who've come back to try and make Iraq a better place. Andrew is a Foreign Service Political Officer, who heads my "Governance" team. 3 years my junior, at least three times as smart, and my boss. They all braved the sweltering heat, and inevitable Army delays to attend and sit through our ceremony.

The IZ truly is an "International Zone". We rub shoulders with Dutch soldiers, Aussies, Brits, Romanians, Georgians, Peruvians, - -I've even met a Japanese diplomat. Here, Korean soldiers do their part to make our concrete T-wall environs a little more livable, with majestic Korean landscapes painted on the walls outside our dining area. You see this in lots of places inside the IZ. Soldiers and civilians growing plants and flowers, decorating their "hooches" with lights, tiki torches, pink flamingos - reminiscent of some other place. Beautifying their environment, if humbly. I've seen scant evidence of this sort of mentality outside these walls. Sad, and telling.

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