Friday, November 9, 2007

The Iraqis

Our three Iraqis are still missing. Tonight another driver, a Polish guy, said he believes they all got fired. There's no way to confirm it, seeing as the owner never talks about that sort of info. Eventually we'll see them driving cabs from other companies, somewhere in the city, and we'll have a chance to ask them. Sometimes an office worker will let something slip, but it's rare. It's kind of too bad, they were all nice guys. Cut-throats and thieves behind the wheel, but nice to talk to at cab stands. I always appreciated their views on the Iraq War. One was from Basra, another from some town in western Iraq, and the other was Kurdish, from somewhere close to Mosul. Each had fled Saddam's rule and were granted asylum in the US.

3 comments:

4min said...

Ted:

doing some catching up reading your blog. great stories. that really sucks about the motorcycle. hope things get better. The Iraqis remind me of most cabbies in ny. seems most have total different personalities on vs. off the road.

Roy said...

I'd hate to think they were fired because they were Iraqis, coincidence that all 3 were fired??

Ted Martin said...

That's a good observation, Roy. I don't believe that's the reason, though. We have a fourth Iraqi, which I forgot to mention. He was hired about three months ago, and he's still here. He claims not to know what happened to the others, although he seems to know them, and they would frequently chat in Arabic.

Also, even though I complain about the company owner from time to time, he has a heart the size of Texas. He has been known to hire people right out of rehab and that sort of thing, just to give people a second chance. We have Iraqis, formerly an Iranian and a Somalian, a few Polish, Mexican, and Brazilians, and even a few Americans, like me. You could not have known all this from my previous posts -- but the owner is a genuine humanitarian. If somebody seems like a good candidate for the job, but their English isn't quite good enough, he sometimes pays for them to take ESL classes, or finds free classes.

There have been some instances in the past of the Iraqis (all of them) smarting off to the owner while the owner was dispatching (he does this about once a week, to fill in for people who call in sick). Maybe he reached the breaking point?

I'm not sure what's happening. They were all troublesome, from time to time, behind the wheel (stealing rides, lying on the radio, etc.), but I really enjoyed their company. We would have very deep conversations about what is happening in Iraq -- the kind of information one cannot get from the media. All three made at least one trip to Iraq, per year, since Saddam was captured, so they were current on what was happening.

If you're curious, they were all amazed at the negativity in the news, when most of what is happening there is positive -- rebuilding schools and infrastructure. They all agreed that having a foreign army on their soil was a blow to the ego, but as of the last few months, none wanted US forces to leave. They want the foreign troops to remain until stability is achieved, and felt that swallowing their pride for a while longer was worth it.