does my flak jacket make me look sexy?

It is 9:30am. Everybody is outside with their flak jackets, notebooks and cameras wondering where the others will be going today and if anyone feels like venturing into the shrine area.

I don’t want to put on my flak jacket until the last possible moment; it is too heavy and hot. A photographer whom I barely know is standing in front of me suddenly she gets too close and says:

“This is a beautiful shirt you are wearing”

Believe me there is nothing that can totally knock you off your balance than someone commenting on what you are wearing while you are thinking if it is worse to die from a sniper’s bullet in your head or the Mahdis, thinking that you are an American, firing a rocket propelled grenade in your direction.

“This is a really nice shirt” !!

After my initial shock I revert to type and tell her that I really like it as well, “the embroidery on the side is really nice, eh?”. G came to the rescue with a simple and firm “shut up you fat fairy, put that flak jacket on”.

Najaf has been until now the most stressful place I have been to. It is so exhausting, physically and mentally. It is very hot and you have to be wearing that heavy flak jacket whenever you are on the street. There is a lot of walking and running to be done. Whenever you cross the street you are thinking is the sniper who has the bullet with my name on it around this corner?

Those journalists down there have to do this everyday. Initially I wanted to spend 4 days; two and a half was all I could take. My blood pressure goes up with every bullet I hear. I guess cameramen need to stay in a chamber where they keep surprising them with the sound of shots until they stop flinching. Otherwise you end up having footage that keeps jumping.

just came back a couple of hours ago, so give it a chance to sink in. I am a bit confused about what the Allawi government is trying to do and my back hurts from that stupid flak jacket.

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