T Nation

Iraqi's Asking for Stuff

Ok this is my second tour in Iraq.Last time we didnt interact with the people very much. This time we work with the Iraqi police,Army,Shieks, and Concerned Local Citizens (CLC’s) they have been doing a great job with bringing safety and stability to the area I work in and things are going well. However I have one big gripe. Why do they always ask us for stuff? It’s driving me friggin nuts! Mista gimme glasses,Mista gimme gloves,Mista gimme boots,Mista gimme food (most of them have goats,cows, and chickens in their front yard and you wouldnt believe how fat some of the people are here).

They dont even say please or thank you even if you do give them something, I know how to say both in Iraqi Arabic. I realize that they are poor but why do they think that we (the soldiers not the Army itself) can afford to give them stuff all the time. Some of the kids are so rude that they will walk up to you and try to stick their hands in your pockets. Do they think we are all rich? Or is it that because we arent Iraqi or Muslim? Anybody got any ideas why they act like this?

When I was there we gave ALOT of stuff to people. ALOT! However, they were more casual about approaching us (this was '04/'05) because I think they still had that initial fear of the foreign dudes standing on their street corners.

Most of the people I interacted with were friendly and replied “Shukran” back to me. Maybe it’s the area you’re in?

They probably hold a grudge against you for voting Bush.

Seriously, they are dirt poor, and their conditions have gone from bad to worse because of the American invasion.

I might get the same treatment over there if I walked around in expensive gear. Shit, I get harassed in my own country every time I put on a nice shirt.

That said, I don’t think they are rude to you. Chances are that you just perceive it that way because of the language barrier. But then again, what do I know? They may have lost a loved one because of some hot-headed moron with the same uniform…

Cultural thing, I guess.

Here in Berlin, even 2nd generation Turks and Arabs are often act strange to my taste. For example, when paying in an arabic internet cafe or shop, it’s impossible to exchange small polite snippets of conversation. You’re ignored completely. And no smile, not one friendly gesture, just a blank stare. I mean, if you go to an asian shop or snack bar, you always get the asian wide grin at least, no matter how bad their german is.

That doesn’t mean arabs aren’t polite at all, they sometimes are way more polite then us, but still, a different attitude for politeness.

This happens in every country with huge amounts of poverty. It happened a lot to me in Indonesia, for example.

[quote]Schwarzfahrer wrote:
Cultural thing, I guess.

Here in Berlin, even 2nd generation Turks and Arabs are often act strange to my taste. For example, when paying in an arabic internet cafe or shop, it’s impossible to exchange small polite snippets of conversation. You’re ignored completely. And no smile, not one friendly gesture, just a blank stare. I mean, if you go to an asian shop or snack bar, you always get the asian wide grin at least, no matter how bad their german is.

That doesn’t mean arabs aren’t polite at all, they sometimes are way more polite then us, but still, a different attitude for politeness.[/quote]

It also differs greatly from country to country. Emiratis have the whole no friendly gestures thing when working for example, while in Lebanon it’s completely the opposite.

[quote]lixy wrote:

Seriously, they are dirt poor, and their conditions have gone from bad to worse because of the American invasion.
[/quote]

Prove it.

[quote]lixy wrote:
They probably hold a grudge against you for voting Bush.
[/quote]

Then their probably pissed at these people. Read the opening line of this article:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7271646.stm

[quote]will to power wrote:
This happens in every country with huge amounts of poverty. It happened a lot to me in Indonesia, for example. [/quote]

Shit, ain’t that the truth. You pack a white skin in rural Indonesia, and people view you as a walking moneybag.

[quote]will to power wrote:
This happens in every country with huge amounts of poverty. [/quote]

Yup. They’re like birds. The ones out in the country leave you alone, but the ones in the town plaza that have been fed become bolder and bolder.

I don’t think it is that remarkable really. I meet people all the time in the States that want something for nothing, and are ungrateful when(or if) they get it. I am sure everyone in this thread knows someone that incessantly asks for things or otherwise feels entitled to something just for showing up.

With the extremeness of the situation, you can hardly blame many Iraqi children(Some of whom probably don’t even remember a time when US troops WEREN’T stationed everywhere) for expecting the troops to give give give.

After all, they didn’t ask for our help, and they did not ask for the carnage that has entered their lives. If anything, they ARE entitled to ask and keep asking with no particular motivation or obligation to say please, let alone thank you.

Regardless, I wouldn’t be too pissed at them for it.

[quote]etaco wrote:
will to power wrote:
This happens in every country with huge amounts of poverty.

Yup. They’re like birds. The ones out in the country leave you alone, but the ones in the town plaza that have been fed become bolder and bolder.[/quote]

clap clap

Just for fun, compare the median per capita incomes of various countries around the world.

The average Iraqi householder makes the equivalent of about 200 bucks a year. One can assume that half of the population makes less than that. So yes, Jawara, not only do they think you’re rich, you are rich, even with your measly Army pay. You are fabulously wealthy, and your one-month paycheck could likely keep an Iraqi family fed for a year.

If an army of invading Martians appeared on the streets of New York, and didn’t seem to think it was such a big deal that diamonds, rubies and gold coins were literally dripping off of them, I imagine that more than a few Americans might be tempted to ask for some. Hell, I’d be tempted.

Lixy, I voted for Bush but most of the guys in my platoon don’t even vote. I’m gonna tell you a quick story. In the area we work there’s a irragation system of man made canals. Apparently there’s water in the canals but there is also trash,slime,mold and moss.You can tell that these things have been around for a while and NEVER been cleaned.Its nasty and gross, I’ve seen people washing their clothes,hands,feet and drinking for the same place.One day I asked the terp “Why are these canals do nasty?” His responce was “Well the government hasn’t done anything…” and right there I cut him off and said “If nasty water is a community problem here and the government has failed you why dont they (the people) organise and do it for themselves?”. I not gonna tell you what his responce was because it would probably piss off alot of people.

Waling up to someone and trying to stick your hand in someones pocket is RUDE as all hell. If one of my kids ever did that I would BEAT DAY AZZZZ!!!

[quote]Malevolence wrote:
I don’t think it is that remarkable really. I meet people all the time in the States that want something for nothing, and are ungrateful when(or if) they get it. I am sure everyone in this thread knows someone that incessantly asks for things or otherwise feels entitled to something just for showing up.

With the extremeness of the situation, you can hardly blame many Iraqi children(Some of whom probably don’t even remember a time when US troops WEREN’T stationed everywhere) for expecting the troops to give give give.

After all, they didn’t ask for our help, and they did not ask for the carnage that has entered their lives. If anything, they ARE entitled to ask and keep asking with no particular motivation or obligation to say please, let alone thank you.

Regardless, I wouldn’t be too pissed at them for it. [/quote]

They may not have asked for it but they seem to want us to stay. As far as I know when the Iraqi government wants us to go then we go. I even asked one of the terps about this and he said “I think my people need more time”. If the Iraqis are entitled to ask for stuff does that mean that I get to ask for stuff from white americans that have more than me? After all we were brought to America as slaves and all. You know what, I think Biotest OWES me a 2 year supply of Alpha Male, Rez-V, Superfood, and Surge. And when I get it I’m not gonna say think you either.

[quote]jawara wrote:
Waling up to someone and trying to stick your hand in someones pocket is RUDE as all hell. If one of my kids ever did that I would BEAT DAY AZZZZ!!![/quote]

Well, if I was in their shoes I’d give it a shot. I mean, based on the probable preconditioning with soldiers that came before you, they don’t have anything to lose by being forward about it and something to gain.

[quote]jawara wrote:
[…] but most of the guys in my platoon don’t even vote. [/quote]

Case in point.

I never said it wasn’t rude. It’s just something relatively poor people do when they see displays of wealth.

[quote]Swarm wrote:
jawara wrote:
Waling up to someone and trying to stick your hand in someones pocket is RUDE as all hell. If one of my kids ever did that I would BEAT DAY AZZZZ!!!

Well, if I was in their shoes I’d give it a shot. I mean, based on the probable preconditioning with soldiers that came before you, they don’t have anything to lose by being forward about it and something to gain.[/quote]

What do you mean by probable preconditioning?

[quote]lixy wrote:
jawara wrote:
[…] but most of the guys in my platoon don’t even vote.

Case in point.

Waling up to someone and trying to stick your hand in someones pocket is RUDE as all hell. If one of my kids ever did that I would BEAT DAY AZZZZ!!!

I never said it wasn’t rude. It’s just something relatively poor people do when they see displays of wealth. [/quote]

First you said the Iraqi’s resent me because I(or we) voted for Bush. It’s not like I wear a sign that says “I voted for Bush” on it a and considering that most black people in America either dont vote or vote for a democrat makes me the odd man out. Also considering the previous Saddam controlled media AND the lack of internet service in this country I really don’t think the average Iraqi knows much about race and voting patterns in the U.S. So your litte “case in point” comment doesn’t hold any weight.

Thanks for your service, jawara.

If you, or anyone in your unit needs anything - please PM me.

[quote]jawara wrote:
First you said the Iraqi’s resent me because I(or we) voted for Bush. [/quote]

That was a joke. Hence the subsequent “seriously”.

When your government uses your tax-money to bomb and invade other countries, complacency is considered by some as complicity. I’m not saying that is what those Iraqis had in mind, but not voting is just as bad as voting for establishment candidates. And in case you didn’t notice, Democrats and Republicans (the front-runners at least) are two faces of the same coin when it comes to foreign policy. The Dems might not be as inflammatory, but they’re not any better.