There’s not a lot for Americans or Brits to be jovial about these days. Trolling through the news sites is a somewhat depressing business. Gasoline prices are out of control on both sides of the Atlantic; we read today that George Mitchell, the US envoy to the Middle East, is to resign after failing to make any progress with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The British ex-prime minister, Tony Blair, remains the Quartet’s envoy for Mid-East peace, but as no-one has heard sight nor sound of him in months (which gives Brits at least one reason to believe life could still be worth living) it seems likely his success in that area is on a par with his career as British prime minister.
Floods are causing havoc throughout much of America; forest fires rage in Britain (a calamity virtually unknown in that country). All-in-all, a whole vista of doom and gloom stretches across the Northern hemisphere, which even the demise of Osama bin Laden has failed to shift.
So, you think you’re badly off?
Remember the nation our respective governments raped, pillaged, and ransacked for seven long years; the war zone that kept us entertained night after night with epic dramas of ‘shock and awe’?
Iraq is still there. Just.
It’s still there, and it’s still a hellhole – long abandoned by the media whose sponsors used it to raise audience figures and sell burgers, beer, and every other commodity Westerners would cry themselves to sleep over, if their supply dried up.
A nation forgotten by Americans and Brits too upset by the price of gasoline to worry what their government’s brutal actions created, in a land thousands of miles away.
McClatchy Newspapers still has a bureau in Baghdad, staffed by a few dedicated Iraqi journalists. One of them is Leith Hammoudi. This is his blog entry for yesterday:
I don’t know how to start this blog. I am still under the effect of the shock that happened to me only less than an hour ago. I was about to lose my life and my lovely son because of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
I used to bring sweets to my family every Thursday from a close bakery on the main street. Today I did the same thing but I went only about half an hour ago. My son Haider insisted to join me so I took him. In my way back home and Just less than ten steps from the sweets bakery, I hear sound of shooting and I thought that some kids are playing with fireworks. I was shocked to know the issue is bigger than my simple mind. I saw by my own eyes two young boys covering their faces with black scarves holding two pistols and shooting a broker inside his office in a very cool blood and walked away.
At that moment, I was only thinking about my son so I covered him with my body and kept him behind me while I was looking at them walking to the other side calmly. My son was shocked and asked me innocently “what was going on dad” and I told him its only some kids who are playing with fire work. When they left, I found out that the man was injured in his shoulder and I saw him after second ina taxi going to the hospital.
I came back home thinking about what I just saw. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Dozens of questions came to my mind at one second. What if I were in front of them? Would they shoot me? Would they shoot my son? Why did I bring my beloved son with me? OMG. I don’t even want to think about that at all. Among all the questions came a real big one, Why I am still in Iraqi while I can live somewhere else?? At the end and when I couldn’t answer any of my questions, I remembered that this is my third facing with death and Thanks God I am still alive. the first one was in 2005 when a car bomb detonated in a place I always pass through and the second time when a mortar shell fell near the bus I was in while coming to work while today is the third one. I don’t know when I am going to face it one more time and I don’t know if I would survive or not.”
So, you think you’re badly off?
Despite the recent inauguration of a new power plant in Baghdad- supplied by the Iranians – five hours power per day is all the average Iraqi citizen can expect. The US/UK invasion (the rest of the ‘coalition’ so pathetic as to be unworthy of mention) began in March 2003. Almost a decade later, the country is being left to fester by the ‘coalition’, despite International Law demanding that the perpetrators reconstruct the infrastructure.
Eight years on, the violence in Iraq continues unabated. No, it doesn’t make the US TV news. To show it would be evidence of America’s utter failure in that country (with a bit of British assistance).
The website, Iraq Today, chronicles the violence on a daily basis. Here is today’s entry, though it could be any day picked at random:
Kurdish rebels kill police officer in attack – agency
Reported security incidents
#1: In Baghdad, a roadside bomb struck a vehicle belonging to the Ministry of National Security in al-Ghazaliyah district in western the capital, wounding two ministry employees aboard, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Iraqi security forces rushed to the site of the first blast, but another roadside bomb exploded near their vehicles and wounded two policemen and a soldier, the source said.
#2: In a separate incident, a bomb detonated at a liquor store in Bab al-Sharji district in downtown Baghdad, wounding a civilian and damaging the store, the source said.
#3: In eastern Baghdad, a roadside bomb went off near a U.S. military convoy in Baladiyat district, the source said without giving further details.
#4: Five casualties were reported in north-east Baghdad following an explosion in the area, security sources said today (Wednesday). The source told Aswat al-Iraq that “a bomb exploded in Palestine Street, wounding five civilians.”
#1: Police found the bodies of two men with gunshot wounds in the town of Mussayab, 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, a Babil province police official said.
#1: Police found the body of a teenager bearing signs of torture in a town near the city of Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, a Babil province police official said.
#1: The Director of Tuz township’s Nationality Certificates Office Director in Salahal-Din Province has been injured in an explosive charge blast in his car on Thursday, a police source said. “An explosive charge, stuck to the car of Tuz township’s Nationality Certificates Director, Lt.
Brig. Madih Nouri, blew of under his car in the city of Tikrit on Thursday, seriously injuring him,” the security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
#1: Iraqi police say a lawmaker from the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc escaped an assassination attempt in the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk. Police Brig. Gen. Khattab Omar says bombs exploded Thursday morning near the house of Arshad al-Salehi, a Turkomen member of Iraqiya. Al-Salehi and his family were in the house at the time but suffered no injuries.
A mortar round landed in the early morning on the house of Arshad al-Salihi, a Member of Parliament and head of a political group represents the Iraqi Turkoman minority, destroying part of his house, a local security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
#2: Hours later, two people were wounded in central Kirkuk when a roadside bomb struck the convoy of Major General Jamal Tahir, a chief police in Kirkuk, while he was visiting the house of Arshad al-Salihi which was attacked by a mortar round earlier in the day, the source added.
#1: A roadside bomb went off near a police patrol on Wednesday, wounding three policemen and one civilian, in western Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.”
That’s just one relatively ‘uneventful’ day in Iraq.
If all that violence occurred in Britain, or Texas, on a single day the populace would be up in arms demanding action. In Iraq, it happens every day – seven days a week, 365 days a year.
But, oh, did you know – the price of gasoline in the US has just gone up another five cents.
So, you think you’re badly off?
 “Facing Death” Inside Iraq -McClatchy
 “War News for Thursday, May 12, 2011” “Iraq Today”, May 13, 2011
Filed under: Never had it so bad