It’s a Friday night, 6 p.m., pitch black, minus-22 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m back in my hotel room in Vladimir, a small town 200 kilometers from Moscow, when I get a call from the receptionist asking me to come downstairs. She has “something to ask me.” Strangely, she refuses to speak on the phone and wants me to come to her.
When I see the five stern-looking men standing by the counter at reception, I realize that I should have stayed in my room. Two of them introduce themselves, badges in hand, as agents from the Federal Migration Service (F.M.S.). “Papers, please.”… Seguir leyendo »
Over the last seven years, as a journalist, I have traveled frequently to Iraq. I always move about without protection and stay with families in private homes, trying to blend in as much as I can.
Each time I visit, I find a new country. In the wake of the carnage of 2006 and 2007, Iraq was paralyzed by fear. Now, though sporadic violence continues, overall security has improved to the point that President Obama has formally declared an end to America’s combat role, and the Iraqi authorities themselves are responsible for maintaining order.
Today, people no longer wear helmets and gas masks when they shop in the markets of Baghdad.… Seguir leyendo »