Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

2010 – 2011 – 2012

Octombrie 8, 2012

Nobelurile sunt în desfăşurare şi la literatură (vezi aici) avem deja discuţii clasice „de ce nu câştigăm”. Adică, de ce nu câştigă Cărtărescu. Adevărul e că „idealistic” or „ideal” i s-ar potrivi şi lui doar că el este puţin cam spre dreapta în viziunile poltice. Acuma, n-ar fi asta o problemă căci cu Herta Mueller au virat spre critică a utopiei practice socialiste iar cu Mario Vargas Llosa, în 2010,  s-a spart tabuul alegerilor scriitorilor europeni de stânga (vezi reacţii aici).

Discursul de mulţumire al unui câştigor mai de stânga, aşa, de mai demult, aici.


Chica Bomb

Iulie 28, 2012

Un reportaj [aici] despre îndoctrinarea comunist-idealistă şi lupta destul de simplă în spirit şi tehnică a detaşamentelor de femei kurde din nordul Irakului. Reportajul VICE e făcut de un hipster ce merită călcat cu şenila, el relativizând totul, dar e un mic grăunte de informaţie.

Un Mundo Mejor es Posible

Iunie 2, 2012

Blocat în sistemul de transport capitalist, în cazul de faţă aeroportul din Istanbul, de două ori la rând, şi la venire şi la sosire, cum îi stă bine călătorului, nu pot să nu observ inocenţa feţelor din pozele cubaneze ale lui Cosmin Bumbuţ.

De obicei pentru pozele mele aleg subiecți umani. Au o inocență și o bucurie în priviri pe care noi, consumeriștii am pierdut-o. Dansează, cântă, beau și se iubesc, la fel ca orice altă nație. Diferența e că  ei o fac fără jenă, pasional și sincer. Trăiesc la maximum orice.

Hasta la victoria siempre! Socialismul a cărui victorie bate la uşă, şi tot bate. Ce imagine frumoasă.

Acuma, pentru cei cărora nu le e frică de durere, avem şi în capitalism drame. Una din ele ar fi cum fraierii sunt duşi la tăiere de către capitalişti. La fel cum singurii bani în cea mai mare insulă din Caraibe vin datorită turiştilor, drăcoşii Morlockşi. Precum Eloii, cubanezii noştriu vor mânca import-export pe pâine odată ce se vor deschide graniţele şi avantajele banului vor fi mai mari decât asuprirea simplă pentru CC-ul local.

Problema cu capitalismul e cum îl exploatezi şi tu pe el. Istanbul.

2011 nothing like 2001

Decembrie 31, 2011

This year did not have any particular meaning except 2011-11-11 11:11:11 AM/PM. Since counting time and entertainment pass as one. And also bring us closer to (the reflection of) death. Because who’s got time to think about the perishable nature of man, anyway.

So, the other most important things in entertainment (and death) this year were: 1. Colin Quinn Long Story Short 2. The Book of Mormon 3. Christopher Hitchens

The first one can be downloaded from the internets, for the second one you must buy show tickets on Broadway (there is a CAM on torrents, also, you must really like Mormons or CAMs for it, however. Or musicals). For the third one, Christopher Hitchens died this year. And this is how we cover also the death references I was making before. The moment he found out he has cancer is on tape, by the way.

Good bye 2011!


Octombrie 9, 2011

Looks like 18-4-2 was this guy’s schedule while in the US Army. That is 18 hours of work, 4 hours of sleep and only 2 hours for exercise and one meal a day. He actually lived that way for a while in an aeroplane shed in Iraq and then he moved to Afghanistan. The huge military experience he had did not protect him however from a rant that costed him his job, politically.

Suly Musem

Suly History Musem

Related to this an unwanted 10 years anniversary takes place now in Afghanistan and to answer why it takes so long in there our guy is honest about it and admits no one tried to even find out more about Afghans before invading the country.

Social Networking

Social Networking in Mesopotamia, Babylon Period, 2000 BC

The same thing happened in Iraq. I presume Green Zone is a good indication on how things were supposed to unfold if it was after the Americans: invade and place their own trusted people in power, completely eliminating from decision making the ruling elite of  Ba’ath Party. As far as I understand this made the ones that had official and unofficial control of military, masses and idea to work not with Americans but against them.

Code of Hammurabi

Code of Hammurabi, Akkadian Cuneiform, Plaster Copy, Suly History Museum, Iraq

However, I am not 100% sure that the Americans did a bad thing like this. In Romania our guys were able to contain the damage of the popular revolt that overthrew Ceauşescu and remain in power long after that and that’s not funny even today. There was no greater military there to force them out.

Economic Texts, 2000 BC

Tablets with Economic Texts, Cuneiform, Suly History Museum, Iraq

So from this point of view it was right thing to do, but as sure as NATO is speaking with the Talibans now just as well in Iraq some folks from the old regime have been called back. This only shows how ignorance is not bliss, and determination is not always successful.

Ivory Plaque, Assyrian Period, 1000 BC, Suly History Museum, Iraq

Ivory Plaque, Assyrian Period, 600 BC, Suly History Museum, Iraq

In this parts of the world, there have been many wars and wars are ugly but there is some connection with the past. They are open, educated. Erasing values does not work anywhere, but here they can actually do something about it, there is so much open space to fight back. Ah, by the way, this is what happened to (what remained of) Babylon. So the healing process is very difficult here, fortunately in the north of Iraq there is no problem.

Copy of Assyrian Low Relief, Suly History Museum, Iraq

Assyrian Low Relief, Copy, Suly History Museum, Iraq

More of my Suly History Museum pictures here.

What Afghanistan needs now is actually going to take place first in Iraq. Hopefully Afghanistan will follow someday, not too late. While Romania’s president boasts about US-Romania strategic partnership as a kind of Marshall Plan this is actually going to happen in Iraq, where 16,000 civilian US workers – the size of an army – are going to replace the real US military. With the $ as the (un)official currency in Iraq now, they should have no problem here. Right?

It’s OK

Octombrie 9, 2011

Wikipedia’s page on Suly was updated and it shows in the main picture the infrastructure improvements done recently. My hotel and workplace (they’re not really the same, I do not sleep at work, yet) are also visible in that picture.  There is a construction spree that caught grip on Suly in Gulf style. Example: the flying saucer on top of that construction below is going to house a revolving restaurant.

NE view, Suly, Goizja Range, Iraq

Suly NE view, Grand Hotel Complex, Goizja Range, Iraq

I am perfectly aware that changing your perspective on Iraq is futile after so much violence on the news. It is true that attacks still take place in Baghdad and the south but this area is pleasantly surprising, calm. It is a vacation destination for the Iranian Kurds because it is more fun than in Iran these days.


Show Advertising, Suly, Iraq

The secret is that here there is only one compact ethnic group. They were oppressed by Saddam in the 90’s and even had their fratricidal war after that so, in the end I guess, I hope, they learned how to stick together.

its ok

It’s OK

So, not overstating it, the situation here is OK. Sure, there are guards and areas I will not go but there are also malls (if that is reference of civilization), there are nice restaurants, nice people, yuppies, infrastructure and new cars. For more Suly picture go here.

Blood and Body Oil

Octombrie 1, 2011

The first week went fast. On Monday I was already bleeding. Since I had to take the medical for the residency, blood analysis was necessary. Because, here in Iraq, you do not get a VISA, you become resident. Or sort of. I have to find out now what is the amount of time needed after which I will be able to apply for citizenship.

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Political Bureau, Suly, Iraq

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Political Bureau, Salim St, Suly, Iraq

Motel Mad, Suly, Iraq

Motel Mad, Salim St, Suly, Iraq (the sign’s neon is pink at night)

With the VISA now in my passport I expected to stroll around more but had/have developed a flue and I ended up staying very late at work for a couple of days anyway, including Friday – local weekend.


House, Suly, Iraq


House, Suly, Iraq


House, Suly, Iraq

But, honestly, apart from the freakin air-conditioned that is also disturbingly loud and the sweet smell of burned fossil fuel, there is not much to complain. I even had a very good soup at midnight getting out from work. On the street, from a soupcycle. I believe it was lentil soup.


Shop, Suly, Iraq

Mosque and shops

Mosque and shops, Salim St, Suly, Iraq


Highway to Suly, Iraq


Tanker, Kurdistan, Iraq

On few occasions I moved back and forth with work and the tankers were noticeable on the highways. Yes, they are in numbers. On the map the city looks like in the middle of the desert with not much green surrounding it. It does not look like that anymore, the empty spaces are now malls, apartment buildings, hotels like mine. Its new found prosperity comes from shared oil revenues and the Turks investing in this place.


Sulaimani Mall, Salim St, Suly, Iraq


Grand Galery Mall, Suly, Iraq


Grand Gallery Mall, Suly, Iraq

two flags

Kurdistan and PUK Flags, Suly, Iraq

Today, I took a walk, bought some fruits and tried to get a still picture of the nice flags in front of the PUK building that I fotographed anyway the week before. I even tried to take a picture of myself and the soldier on my side of the road when another one comes and takes my camera for a check. Out of the green four others appear. One was keen on looking at the photos and started browsing, but another one, who was also amused by this, took the camera from him, gave it back to me and said: „Go!”.

Kurdish Soldier

Soldier Guard, Suly, Iraq

I wanted to ask them for a group photo, but I suspect they are too shy with their mustaches so I did not insist anymore. I was in my room in 3 minutes. Bye !


 Tea, Suly, Iraq


Septembrie 24, 2011

My previous first post in English was about God, Satan and demi-god Stephen Hawking. I’m doing it again in English and might be doing it for a while, posting about something more earthly for all my friends who might want to read it.

It may  be funnier and/or stupider than in Romanian language due to my talent or lack thereof, but I have all the corporate propaganda to inspire from for bullshit English idioms.

So, here it goes. After one year and a half in Algeria (I know…) I decided it is time to take on new directions and accept new challenges in my career. Friends and family welcomed my decision and encouraged me on this new road. I had my good expat friends in Alger throwing me a good bye party, and I got my family’s blessing before enrolling on a new adventure that should enrich me both spiritually and professionally.

As a result, on Friday the 23rd of Sept I was in Alger International Airport so keen to go where some have boldly gone before, that my route would not take me home first but directly to… Iraq via Istanbul.

Now, let’s imagine that there is a piece of Iraq that is not touched by violence, crazy sectarian violence and Americans (except American Dollars, of course). That place exists in the north of Iraq and it is called Kurdistan. It has a nice frontier with Iran and a hot border with Turkey. The city I was heading to is called Sulaymaniyah or As Sulaymaniyah since the Arabic writing has the prefix al but the „s” is a sun letter so we do not pronounce Al Sulaymaniyah. After this short lesson where I showed off my knowledge to justify the approx. two months of Arabic I took in Alger, some further details: for the ease of mind I said to myself that I was going to Kurdistan not to Iraq and to depreciate further the situation we’ll refer to Sulaymaniyah as simply Suly and the Romanians are already laughing now.

Algeria is the last bastion of dictatodemocracy in Maghreb. Morocco is a kingdom so it does not count, even their working week is done for business, so it’s all good. Tunisia, Egypt and Lybia are now changing. But in Algeria the black years, the exaltation of national pride and the new black liquid gold we call petrol keep them in a state of isolation, afraid to move in any direction except the grocery store and, for the lucky ones, to work. I left Algeria, for now, amidst news of something happening soon, increased military presence at checkpoints and a surreal employee strike at Sheraton where the 800+ people rebelled and stopped working all together one day leaving the hotel numb for three days. Then the management started to hire new people and one of the Front Desk agents went on hunger strike and is still there now, in his 5th day. Way to go social security for a socialist country. To celebrate my departure I asked on plane for raki and I woke up in the sound of clapping for the successful landing.

Istanbul airport represented for me civilization after transfers to/from tiring Pakistan. Now, Turkey is also out in the open. Their new found Israelian complex, slow return to a bit more Islam and recent arrests of military pashas give an eerie feeling that all the secularism is about to become something else.

Prim Ministru Turc

Book in Istanbul Airport Bookstore

So no place is better than the other, after all. Another good couple of hours in Istanbul and I finally boarded the flight to Suly more confident. On the tarmac, parked in parallel with my plane was, no other, an Ariana plane prepped for departure. Ariana is banned in the EU but this happened after I took my chances with them in 2003, oh, what memories!

Now, after take off I could see the Bosphorus  and started navigating over Turkey into Iraq. In the thick of the night after the lights of Istanbul there came a desert of black. At one point there were lights like villages, but it was the plane taking a curb and showing me the sky and the stars. So we went into Iraq, with no visible light on the ground, then one of the first clearly visible structures was a refinery then a city perfectly shaped and then we landed safely. It smelled like burned gas or fuel and this is going to follow me everywhere I believe. In the airport nothing unusual.  I got out and with no IQD in my wallet, at 2AM, I took a cab to the hotel where my reservation was done. I knew the taxi ride is about $15 soI try to stick with this price but I believed he asked me $28 instead. And all I changed in Istanbul was 20 Euros for $26. I was watching his hands with small prison tattoos while we were speeding on the highway – yes, highway, thinking how we are going to fix this translation issue. In the end we went at the reception to clarify, cool guy. The front desk guy payed smilingly, gave me a key for a very good room.

The night was only starting. This hotel was the only one available by phone and my reservation meant that I pay in cash all my stay of more than one month. It is across the street from where I’ll work so it was a good option. The lobby is OK but the room the guy is giving me is crap and they’re all like that. Did I mention I have over 1000 Euros on me during all this time? Obviously, in this situation, I started looking for a hotel, in Iraq, at 2AM, loaded. As you do.


Salim Street and sidewalk in Suly, Iraq

In fact, I knew beforehand that there was a hotel wall-to-wall with my workplace but it was so recent it is not yet on the reservation sites, no picture, no nothing. So I crossed the street, telling the guy at the reception I go to the company. He looks at me  distrustfully. The other hotel is indeed better, I come back, get my things and try to leave to it invoking that my boss told me so. The guy gives me the eye and no invoice for the taxi, I give him back the key. In less than half an hour in Iraq I have made a friend! I cross again Salim St this time with luggage. The street is the one you see on wikipedia for Suly, probably the biggest in town.

The picture above by daylight is done by my colleague who was here before showing the hotel I moved from. It is not much to see but I’ll try to take some pictures. At first lookt it is a mix of Pakistan and Kuwait but the population is different. And, in any case, compared to the skinny Algerians here there are some heavy Mesopotamians.


August 4, 2011

Caricatură scandinavă despre roboţi şi nu numai** plus alte poze norvegiene la care visează orice  căminist***.

* dreapta populistă insistă prea mult pe imigraţie
**orice cultură vrea să se protejeze, unii mai mult ca alţii
*** puşcăriile din Norvegia arată atât de bine


Iulie 4, 2011

După cea mai reală şi inumană sesiune de balacaureat din ultimii 20 de ani, Ion Iliescu declarăPe vremea mea nota 10 era pentru Dumnezeu şi 9 pentru profesori. Aşa încât noi, şefii materialişti dialectici de promoţiene-am fi mulţumit cu nota 5.

Încă un lucru pe care Ion Iliescu îl are în comun cu tânăra generaţie.