I’ve been to ten or so countries since 2011 began. When people ask, I recite the list, but there’s one place that cancels out all the others. Their eyebrows shoot up when they hear the name. “Iraq! What was Iraq like?”
I have trouble answering this question. I don’t know what exactly they want to hear about, and maybe they don’t know either. I can’t fit all my experiences into a sentence. I think about the mountains and the call to prayer and the food. I think about walking in Dohuk at night, about getting lost in the park in Erbil, about the goatherds in the Zagros mountains, about the central square in Sulaimany, about the checkpoint in Kirkuk, about how my senses sharpened when we realised we needed to get out of that car, about the kindness of the family that hosted me, about the protests and about the friend who I feared might be dead.
Usually I just say “It was good”, or sometimes “It was mostly good.”
So I wrote If Destroyed Still True #6: Iraqi Kurdistan edition. It tells of hitch-hiking experiences good and bad, encounters with Kurdish and American soldiers, the kindness of strangers, being stranded, death threats, and the demonstrations in the region that have been largely unreported in the western press. At 28 A5 pages it’s the longest issue I’ve produced. It’s entirely handwritten, but fear not! My handwriting has frequently been mistaken for a font.
“sometimes charming, sometimes terrifying” – Sticky Institute
“has something to say and is perfectly astute in saying it. A must read” – Fulsome Prism
“beautiful, thoughtful, a testimony of feelings felt and questions asked” – Said The Gramophone
If you’d like a copy, visit jinxremoving dot org for information on how to order; and if you feel like telling other people about the zine, I won’t mind at all. Thanks for reading.