Claire DuffettDecember 12, 2009 10:46Updated May 30, 2010 13:15
ERBIL, Iraq — Threatening decapitation is a popular joke in northeastern Iraq. Rather than ignore it, Kurdistanis acknowledge foreigners’ misplaced fear of them and dismiss its absurdity.
“I take you to my home, or maybe I kill you,” laughed Bullent, a Kurdistani dental student whom we met at Iraq’s border with Turkey, running his finger across his throat in a slicing motion. Despite his remark, we accepted the offer to visit his home in Erbil, Iraq’s third-largest city after Baghdad and Mosul.