Nine, former Deviance editor at Skinny Towers, is one of the most well-travelled people we know, pinballing around the globe to places as far flung as Australia and Austria, Hungary and Hong Kong, Sweden and Sri Lanka and lots of non-alliterative amalgamations in between. She's also one of the most well-written people around, detailing her experiences with regular, disarming first-person honesty on her travel blog Abyssinia, Henry and the award-winning, brutally literal Everyone I Ever Kissed.
A long term active advocate of the zine scene, Nine acknowledges that the shiny new internet/blogging thing can prove a distraction, but that the two concepts can co-exist. To prove her point, she has just made a new one, handwritten and including her own images, painstakingly pasted together "so that it would be something that people will hopefully hold onto and appreciate, not so I could just scan it and turn it into another disposable piece of the internet. I reckon a lot of people still enjoy reading books in real life, not just via gadgets, so I don't see why zines should be any different."
The subject matter of If Destroyed Still True #6 is inspired by the fact that of the eleven different countries she's been in in 2011 to date, the mention of one stops people dead in their tracks; Nine's been to Iraq this year (via Iceland, naturally). Finding it difficult to answer the question 'What was it like?' adequately in conversation, instead she's relayed her thoughts and experiences by way of 28 A5 pages with ten chapters.
The majority of her time there was spent in the north of the country, in Iraqi Kurdistan (Kurdistan being an amorphous geo-cultural region with its own language and identity which also encompasses parts of Iran, Turkey, Syria and Armenia and within Iraq is an autonomous entity) the zine takes in encounters with Kurdish and American soldiers, death threats, and the demonstrations in the region that have been largely unreported in the western press; but throughout, there's never an attempt at proselytising, Nine being too respectful of various cultures to make sweeping statements.
Instead, the positive and negative are addressed in a similarly forthright, and personal, manner. One particularly impressive chapter deals with what is always a thorny issue to address – the safety of (in particular) female travellers in certain parts of the world. Here Nine recounts a particularly unpleasant hitch-hiking experience, but being the type of person who always makes informed decisions, doesn't need to hear "that's what you get for hitch-hiking while female." An unfortunate and scary occurrence, but one to which Nine resolutely responds "Fuck what we should have done. We weren't the one's with the bad intentions." [Paul Mitchell]
Nine's zine is not for profit, she just wants to break even so it's available for a ridiculously good value £3 (to firstname.lastname@example.org). For more info, visit http://abyssiniahenry.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/if-destroyed-still-true-6-iraqi-kurdistan-edition/