photo: Eddy van Wessel
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Kurdish egos on the road
Does driving show the real face of a people?
Driving in Kurdistan makes me pose some impossible questions. Allow me to share this one with you.
Driving on the fast lane, behind someone, just inside or even over the speed limit. Behind you someone appears, driving fast and flashing his lights. Does he think you can fly? He wants you out of the way, the road is his.
Standing at the traffic light. Just before it turns green, drivers start to hoot. They want to drive, and you are in the way. The road is theirs.
At a U-turn, someone overtakes you on the right, and takes away the view for you can to see if you can safely join the road. He gets angry, because he wants to move behind you on the most left hand side lane, and you cannot move because you cannot see. But the road is his, of course.
After a U-turn, you have to move in a short time all across the road to turn right. While you turn on your indicator and make the move, someone overtakes you on the right, making it impossible to make your right turn. But of course, the road is only his.
Now all these circumstances happen to me regularly. Too regularly to think they are just bad driving. This leaves me a few options: Kurds are badly taught how to drive, and on top of that they imitate others’ bad habits on the road.
Or they so self-centered that they cannot understand they have to share the road with others. I am afraid that is true too. A recent simple incident convinced me of it.
Driving out of a parking, I had to cross the road. I could not see the right side, and as the car on the left was far enough away, I drove towards the middle. A big truck came from the right, and made me wait in the middle. The car on the left had to slow down, and used his horn for me to get out of the way.
I am sure the driver had himself done this maneuver a thousand times, yet now he showed none of the politeness he had been expecting then.
How can a people that is priding itself on its politeness and hospitality, behave so badly on the roads? Or is the real Kurd showing himself there? The one that feels the world is his, that everything revolves around him and that all should stand back for him?
I hope I am wrong. Because I do not like this anymore than you, if this has become part of the Kurdish psyche. But if you agree with me, please let’s get the politeness back and share the roads.
This blog was first published in Kurdish in the daily Kurdistani Nwe