Let me tell you about Salar.

Salar is Kaka’i [kak-ai-é], an artist, and joyful. I’ve done the Wikipedia for you, and Kaka’i are also known as Yarsan, adherents to a syncretic 600-year-old faith yada yada.

One can become a little blasé about religion here, swimming in it as we are. I would be able to bore you into total submission if we were sat on a train and I had cause (and ability to overcome an ever-deepening anxiety) to tell you of the time, four years ago, when Salar in his weekend shack in Hawa, a village on the Iranian border significant to the Kaka’i, gave me an ouzo-fuelled two hour lecture on the history and beliefs of the faith from which he has lapsed … I would tell you, possibly ouzo-fuelled myself, leering liquorice fumes and rheumy eyes, of my regret that I didn’t know exactly how to use my audio recorder, how one of the most significant stories I’ve ever been told was lost to the aether.

As my sadness deepened into something else, I would tell you how great an artist Salar is, a man who teaches his subject totally without knowledge, but with an inquiring mind so able that he has developed through centuries of techniques, stumbling across pointillism, cubism and realism as if they were his own.

I might even tell you, funny that I am, that three comedians are coming to Erbil from NYC to deliver a workshop to Iraqis (and me), for our website – which is now the fastest growing media whatsit in the country.

I might. But, the anxiety, you know. I’d probably just leave it.