Iraq. One of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on earth.
A turbulent mash up of ancient civilization and cave men with guns. This is the region once described as the 'craddle of civilization', the birthplace of writing and the wheel, where the hanging gardens of Babelyon lie....
Iraq, its on its knees. Theyre bleeding rivers of blood, too thick for a backpacker to swim through.
After 10 straight years of indiscriminate killings, of rife and ugly secteriran killings, suicide bombings and assassinations.... the people are broken, the country plunged back into the dark ages.
Its certainly a dark enough place at the moment.
Enduring the despotic dictatorship reign of sadistic Saddam must of been tough for the average Iraqi, then comes the gulf war followed by the invasion of the 'coalition of the willing'. In between foreign intervention and tyranny there's the bickering civil wars, the relentless acts of daily violence...where does it end for Iraq? Actually, where and when does it even begin...?!
Iraq has gone past the point of anything that resembles normality. No matter your race, religon or nationality, somone will find an excuse to kill you.
Torture is something you can buy down at the local market. It comes in a multi-pack containing a sack, duct tape and a humungous-sized machette. Hang around the market long enough and you might even catch the rough end of a good olde fashioned 'market blast'
Hostage taking is just what happens.
Heres a list of the known foreign victims, living and perished .... but just remember, for every 1 foreigner kidnapped 12 Iraqis succumb to the same fate.
The only cool thing about Baghdad is the fresh air on the open-roof bus tours. The roof-top rips open when you pull on the cord beneath the seat...
Travel in Iraq is possible.
There does exist a budgetpacker style of travel. But it can be only found in the north of Iraq. Iraq Kurdistan is different.
Thats northern Iraq, a region that is actually considered one of the up and coming destinations in the world, according to the New York Times. The Kurds are known to be very hospitable people and food and lodging is cheap.
There is a saying, every car in Iraq is a taxi. But watch yourself, not every man is a taxi driver.
(A bizarre clip on whats really going on in Iraq.....)
Just last week, a mass grave containing 900 people was unearthed. Nearly every day, the daily headlines murmur something about death and misery in this god forsaken and forgotten land.
Theres plenty of other places in the world that have sun and sand.
Beat it. Iraq aint for kids.
Nor flashpackers, fuck that.
Iraq, #2 worlds worst places to backpack.