Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Jeeb Ginsea Jedeeda

This country loves forgeries. They aren’t very good at it, but they love insisting that their forgeries are in fact authentic. Whether it be watches, DVD’s, or identification, they love to make knock offs.

I see a lot of Iraqi ID’s in a day, and the phrase above, which literally translated means “get Identification new”, is a sentence I have mastered. I utter it several times a day, and then smile as I hear the onslaught of excuses. “No meestah, is good ginsea!” “Not fake, I’m from Basrah, this is how Basrah ginseas are.” ”Iraqis only get one ginsea, you cannot get new one.” Sometimes, they get a perplexed look, and say “how could you know this?” as an incredulous Iraqi wonders how an American infidel could possibly tell that the piece of paper in my hand was not legally issued by any Iraqi government office. I am not going to get into the specifics of how we identify the forgeries, but I will say that if they ever master “spellcheck” my job will get a lot harder.

Add to this an apparent cultural belief that if you forge the document yourself, that somehow makes it authentic. Many times I have turned someone away because the picture on their ID was unrecognizable, for instance they are 30 years old and the picture is of an 8 year old. The next day they are back, with the same ID, and a current picture of themselves laminated right on top of the old one. When I explain that this is not adequate, they indignantly point to the picture and say “But this is me! I change it!” They simply cannot understand how I can have a problem with that logic.

They get these fakes from local Souks, or markets, that look like a cross between the sets of Casablanca and Mad Max. These outposts of capitalism give me confidence that freedom can work here, because they certainly have the instincts for it. According to rumor, any document can be created in 15 minutes for 5 dollars, as long as you are not too picky about the quality. I joked with one of my NCO’s recently that if he needed to get his passport renewed, he should do it in the Market, as long as he didn’t mind a passport from the “Unitted Stats of Amrika”.

By the way, if you see me back home wearing a Rolex, rest assured: “is real meestah, very good watch!”

11 comments:

Breezy said...

Good stuff! I'm linking to it on my site. :)

Pebble said...

That's hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Good work. BTW if you get a chance please visit my blog power related site. Cheers

Anonymous said...

Online Thesaurus Pulls Listing for 'Arab'
Several hours after Roget's Thesaurus was called by The Associated Press, all entries for "Arab" had been pulled from the site.

Hi, you have a great blog. I'm definitely going to bookmark it.

My Site is a infinity cars related page.

Check it out if you get some time.

Mustang 09 said...

Hey! Spam comments! I have arrived! I will keep these as a memento, but future ones are toast.

Anonymous said...

This is not spam here! Very funny story....gotta love it! Almost like fighting with drunks in a bar! lol But I bet that "RolLAx" you come home with will be the real deal! HA! I know you're rolling in the big dough over there! :-) Take care and keep fighting the good fight!

SSG_K said...

Hey, don't knock the knock-offs. One young man came back from Iraq and hocked his 'Rolex' for $300. Not bad for a $3 investment.

linda said...

Thanks for the funny story and thanks for your personal sacrifices and service to our country! Take care.

Anonymous said...

Well, as I think I read in one of Mr. Heinlein's books, "It may not be official and authentic, but it is very *sincere*.

Lorilei said...

That was really funny!
Hey, I too just got my first spam comment recently, no mementos for me though . . . right into the toaster oven!

Fitch said...

Whew! That's really funny. I suppose if I took out some crayons and construction paper, then my fake ID would be REALLY authentic.