Best ever team

Location Dingy hotel room. No AC, no lock, bedbugs, gotta move. | Mood Winding slowly into second gear | Date 7 August 2006
Author (full name): 
Franny Armstrong
Dingy hotel room. No AC, no lock, bedbugs, gotta move.
Winding slowly into second gear
Planes going very close overhead
Hungry. Bored of falafel.
7 August 2006
Current silver lining: 
Best ever team

Crude Team with taxiCrude Team with taxi

Have assembled a crack team with miraculous speed:

Ra'fat (Palestinian), fixer. Well connected & persuasive.

Kulood (Iraqi), interpreter. The second of our two contacts, has to be one of the most driven people I've ever met, and I've met a few. She's only 26, but has already seen more than most see in a lifetime. She was picked as the only woman under 30 to represent Iraq in a meeting with Dubya Bush. And her family had to leave Iraq as a result of her work with a human rights charity. Now she's volunteering with an Iraqi refugee association here - well, she was. She seems to be full-time Spanner Films now. Oh yes, and setting up a school.

Muhammed (Palestinian), driver. Quickly renamed "Lashes" on account of his unfeasibly long and curly eyelashes. Hired his taxi on the street last night and got into such a great conversation that we've taken him on permanently.

We're a little gang already - hey, even got our own handshake and secret knock.

Forgot to ask the boys what their names mean, but the girls' are ideal:
Franny - free woman (leading us all into trouble without thinking of the consequences)
Kulood - immortality (damn handy in a war zone / doc production)
Elisabeth - safe place to go (keeping a grip on reality)

It definitely doesn't look like war here in Amman. A funky-ish modern-ish city. We have to find war in someone's eyes.

Started pounding the streets today searching for an Iraqi widow whose husband and/or kids were killed by the Americans. There's half a million Iraqis here, so shouldn't be too hard. And lots of women on the streets selling cigarettes.

But soon came across lots of problems. The women are all scared of white people, who they assume are Americans (saying we're actually British is hardly reassuring). Then a journalist recently took pictures of all the cigarette sellers and published them in the local paper - outing them as illegal and causing all sorts of trouble. Many of them are so traumatised by the war that they have, what seems to me at least, mental problems. And many simply don't want to talk about what happened - saying it's in the past and there's nothing they can do to get their husbands back. One woman popped out her false eye and said her real one was destroyed by too much crying!