Sunday, 5 April 2009


We meet lots of nomadic shepherds but one today certainly made a huge impact on me. Usual friendly greetings ensued and he insisted on making a pot of tea by gathering some sticks to start a small fire. Typical translated small talk ensued, and was all smiley, then came an awkward moment. There was clearly tension between the shepherd and the translator. Eventually I was asked,

“America and Scotland like brothers?” No I said, “not brothers just friends.”

“One million dead, one million dead”, then a pause “Why?”. I knew exactly what he was talking about. Nervous, I was slow to answer and he said “Iraq. Why?”

“Greed” I replied after a minute of pondering, not wishing to discuss politics (something we have tried to avoid throughout), and this was passed on. Again an awkward silence and then the shepherd stood up. He stared deeply into my eyes, then suddenly grabbed me and hugged me, following up with a hearty handshake and pat on the back.

“F*ck Bush” he said. His first and only English of the encounter. Kind of says it all.