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  • Welcome to Iraq: Please take a blood test

    Welcome to Iraq: Please take a blood test

    30th June 2009 | 0 comments | 0 votes yet, click here to agree or disagree

    During all my visits to Kurdistan –four so far- I have always been impressed by the people’s hospitality. Their gratitude after a week’s work – I am training local journalists through the Independent Media Centre of Kurdistan – is humbling. But when you visit the Asais, the security services, to extend your tourist visa you enter the world of the infuriating Iraqi red tape. All of a sudden you feel...

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  • Kurdish Picnic

    Kurdish Picnic

    24th June 2009 | 0 comments | 0 votes yet, click here to agree or disagree

    When you’re in this part of the world, you have so many stories to tell. But where do you get the time to write them. You are never alone here. Yesterday I was really looking forward to an evening to myself, but the cleaning lady –a girl only left at 7.30 pm and then I was still stuck with the driver and a handy man who had difficulties following my...

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  • Traditional Iraqi Pictures

    Traditional Iraqi Pictures

    24th June 2009 | 0 comments | 0 votes yet, click here to agree or disagree

    One of the journalists had a gift for me: the group photo of last year’s training. Nabaz Rostam from Kirkuk kindly wrote all the participants’ names on the back of the bad print of off, but the Arabic characters of the Kurdish language are all Chinese to me. Most of the men in the photo are in my course again, although reading their news stories you wouldn’t think they have...

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  • Collateral Clouds

    Collateral Clouds

    18th June 2009 | 0 comments | 0 votes yet, click here to agree or disagree

    The grey London skies can get to you, but the sandy clouds dusting Erbil in a yellowish shade can be far worse. If the wind picks up and blows from the south the sand storms can be so bad that you can’t see a thing and can’t drive, my friend Ahmed tells me when we’re driving to a restaurant. He assures me I haven’t seen anything yet, when I’m asking...

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  • First thing you do when you wake up

    First thing you do when you wake up

    16th June 2009 | 0 comments | 0 votes yet, click here to agree or disagree

    With my eyes half-closed I tried to find the aircon remote control on my bedside table. Two days ago I woke up in a hotel room in Rotterdam not knowing where I was, but this morning I knew exactly where I was. It was six o’clock and my room was hot because the aircon had timed out following a power cut. I’m in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish semi-autonomous...

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CONTRIBUTOR

Maaike Veen

Maaike Veen

Dutch journalist Maaike Veen writes about British politics and economics and the quirky habits of the British people, which after five years in London continue to fascinate her. She works as a freelance UK correspondent for Dutch national newspaper Trouw (www.trouw.nl), Flemish paper De Standaard (www.standaard.be) and Elsevier (www.elsevier.nl), the leading current affairs weekly in the Netherlands. She also writes for business weekly FEMBusiness and on the Dutch pension market for NPN, a trade publication of the Financial Times Group.

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