Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Heads or Tails - Guard

Location of Kirkuk in Iraqi map

Image via Wikipedia

Skittles started a meme called Heads or Tails this week the topic is Guard.

When my father was working in Kirkuk Iraq, we flew back as a family one year, just after my father had remarried, and I was out of school for the summer. We flew from London Airport in England to Baghdad, Iraq and then caught a small plane from there to Kirkuk which is located in northern Iraq not far from Mosul which is the location of biblical Ninevah.

When we had disembarked and collected our luggage we had to go through a check out procedure. It was long before the war on terror and it was just a formality as we had already had our luggage searched in Baghdad. We knew that mostly the guards did it as a form of intimidation or just plain curiosity and they preferred to look through women's suitcases more than the men's. They seemed to leave the men alone and were very interested in any woman or young girl and since we were unveiled and had knee length skirts and short sleeves we were an oddity and I suppose extremely sexual to them although by European standards we were modestly dressed.

So after going through my new step-mothers suitcase at length and then mine, although I was only nine years old, the guard gave my father a form to sign for his chattels, which meant all his baggage. In those guards eyes any woman or girl and their baggage were only part of my father's baggage and we had no rights or personalities of our own any more than our suitcases had. 

My father would love to trot out that story every so often although it infuriated my stepmother.


History of a suitcase

Jonah and Rosa


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Sue said...

It is amazing how different cultures, and times have treated women, and children. Thankfully things are not like that here. I would love to visit some of these places one day though, and the ancient historical sites :)

Karen said...

Very interesting. I think that women in those countries are still treated as second class citizens.

Carver said...

What an fascinating story. That must have been an interesting childhood being able to spend time in Iraq when your father was working there.

tumblewords said...

Hard to believe that women and children were chattels in this country as well for many, many years. And equality hasn't yet arrived for most. Nice post!

anthonynorth said...

And I fear it will be a while before things change in many countries.

Jeni said...

Maybe all those who apply for positions as inspectors, etc, should be tested for possible syndromes pertaining to sexual fetishes, etc. Kind of like a form of peeping tom perhaps, and if they have that tendency, they automatically get hired then. I'm just envisioning something like that in my mind's eye ya know.

Anna said...

That sounds quite intimidating, and a little scary. You've had some interesting experiences.

Lisa - Life is Like a Box of Legos said...

What interesting experiences you've had! My story is up ... with pictures!

Tammy said...

The picture of the map reminds me of the homework I helped Aurora with last night. You should have saw the places she had to find on a map of the Middle East.

Joy in the Burbs... said...

You probably did do well on that Middle East Map. I've never been anywhere in that area. I've been to Europe once. My bro-in-law and s-i-l lived in Saudia Arabia for 15years. They would probably get 100% on that test. They travelled extensively while living there.

I'm sure the women's suitcases are still being rifled thru to this day since nothing has changed over there.
What an experience to go there though. I know you will never forget it.