What it’s like

Reporter Hannah Allam files a report for McClatchy Newspapers on how Iraq has changed since she was last there in 2005. Here is part but it is worth it to read it all

On one of my first days back, I took a little tour with my Iraqi colleagues to get reacquainted with the capital. We decided to stay on the eastern Shiite side of the Tigris River rather than play Russian roulette in the Sunni west.

Even on the relatively “safe” side of the river, a dizzying assortment of armed men roamed freely. In the space of an hour, we encountered the Badr Organization militia, the Mahdi Army militia, the Kurdish peshmerga militia, the Iraqi police, interior ministry commandos, the Iraqi military, American troops, the Oil Protection Force, the motorcade of a Communist Party official and Central Bank guards escorting an armored van.

We drove through one of my favorite districts in hopes of visiting shopkeepers I knew. But they had fled, leaving behind padlocked doors and faded signs for shops whose names now seem ironic rather than catchy: “Nuts,” “Ghost Music,” “Once Upon a Time.”

I asked my colleagues to arrange meetings with old Iraqi sources – politicians, professors, activists and clerics – only to be told they’d been assassinated, abducted or exiled.

Even Mr. Milk is dead. The grocer we called by the name of his landmark shop in the upscale Mansour district was kidnapped and killed, along with his son, my colleagues said. The owner of a DVD shop where I once purchased a copy of “Napoleon Dynamite” also had been executed.


2 thoughts on “What it’s like

  1. Whenever anyone gets interested in WHY Bushco has
    fomented a civil war,
    arming the insurgency with AK-47, unemployment, pogroms, no electricity or water, or sewage — oh, and 380 metric tons of high-explosives, 450 shoulder-fired missiles, canisters of Cesium and Strontium, and Hussein’s deepest nuclear bomb secrets, on the Internet, in Arabic …
    … wake me.
    I’m a bit tired of the ‘It just happened that way, through incompetence’ ACT.
    Why do so many play? If only this WAS incompetence — instead of genocide via malicious criminal negligence, warcrimes, and as much intentional cultural destruction as could be imagined.
    — Paul in LA

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