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Story Publication logo March 4, 2010

Iraq: Getting My Press Credentials


Iraq: Reporting the 2010 Parliamentary Elections

The Iraqi elections of 2010 played out against a backdrop of reduced but continuing violence...


Dimiter Kenarov
Baghdad, Iraq

In the coming days, Dimiter Kenarov will be blogging for Virginia Quarterly Review from Baghdad, sharing his thoughts and observations in the final run-up to the national elections and in their immediate wake. Kenarov traveled to Iraq on a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

"Lock the rear door." The voice of our turret gunner is calm, almost weary, like the voice of a steward on a commercial flight from New York to Paris. "Passenger weapon status is amber. Insert magazine, but do not load a round in the chamber. I repeat, do not load a round in the chamber."

It is early morning in Baghdad, cold and dark, the sun still hours and millions of miles away. I have booked a ride on the Rhino, the armored convoy that runs from the Victory Base Complex (the headquarters of the United States Force - Iraq) in the western outskirts of the city to the International Zone (formerly known as the Green Zone) downtown, where I need to go and get my press credentials. Inside the RG-33 vehicle, an ugly mine-resistant monster the size of a small bus, the civilian passengers are nervously eying each other. Hiding under expensive body armor and Kevlar helmets, we all look like turtle eggs inside the belly of a giant turtle. We are pathetic...

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