I am so sorry for being away for such a long time. Actually around two years.
In fact we were training whenever possible but there were so many interruptions that I have lost count.
Two years ago I was residing in Baghdad. Now I am residing around 300 km to the north. In a Kurdish city called Erbil or Hawler as us Kurds call it.
My 1st priority was to get my family out of there and fortunately I have managed that. Also I had to transfer my carrier and find a place to live. I have been lucky enough to do all that and now we are leading a different life here. The point is that we can breathe again; it is actually possible here….
Around 6 months ago I ran into one of our trainers, Sensei Bashar from Baghdad and then discovered that Sensei Saad has also moved over here. It actually was like the re-birth of hope for me as despite the small number we were a team again and there was hope for training again.
It took some time and a lot of patience to find an appropriate place, some mats and a permission to use the place twice a week, in the afternoons. Unfortunately just before starting again Sensei Bashar had to leave for Jordan and it was just Sensei Saad and I. Still we did start and it was actually working. Eventually some newcomers joined in and even though the number never exceeded 6 people it was still working.
Around three weeks ago the finals started at the university and even though I myself am an academic but from a different college, unfortunately; the place we were using became inaccessible for us. We were told to wait and we are still waiting and hopefully we will go back to training some time soon. Mean while we are looking for alternative places but the main problem remains to be the mats as they are a real rarity here and a big set back for our efforts.
I am sorry again to have put together such a long story but I felt I had to tell you about it may be you'll excuse my extended absence. Now that I have broken the silence, I promise to participate more in the weeks to come and thank you for taking me in again if you will.
Dr Soorkeu Atrooshi (Soor)
I'm so pleased to hear that you and your family are relatively safe.
I think, in a degreee of ignorance, that you may be able to get some help with mats from Aiki Extensions if they go that deep into the Middle East. Contact Neil Mick on Aikiweb. He has the info.
Best to you and your family and your training.