Saturday, November 22, 2003

Here are some answers to questions sent to me by one of the readers, I feel these questions are important and worth answering them.

-About whether president bush is selling off the Iraqi economy: if you mean the oil funds, 5% used to go to Kuwait as compensation for the damages inflicted by Saddam(25%before liberation).
95 % spent entirely for the Iraqis as: (salaries, reconstruction, Medicare, food supplies).
Recently the 5% compensation has been suspended.
As for contracts : most of them go to American companies but there are also Italian, Spanish, Japanese, French!? and some Arab firms.

-About unemployment: yes before the war more Iraqis had jobs, very little of those jobs were making enough money to keep a family alive and each official employee had to find a second job to support his family(for instance I, a dentist had to open a grocery to pay for daily life expenses).
Surely I gave it up after liberation.
Now, officials do not need a second job.
Today there are hundreds of thousands of unemployed(soldiers, officers, intelligence agents, Saddam's special security systems, information ministry officials, military industry officials)most of them are being paid approximately the same amount of money that the employed get, with exception of Saddam's special guards, senior baath party members(the tight circle around Saddam).
There are also rehabilitation programs for those unemployed people to help them get new jobs and go on with their lives.

-About Iraqi firms taking share in reconstruction: actually all the sub-contracts go to Iraqi contractors and firms with no exception.

-About affording more consumer goods: here's a simple example, one of my relatives who's a high school principle had to sell his furniture piece by piece to support and educate his 5 kids, his house was nearly empty a year ago(no TV no fridge. no car no air conditioner)today 7 months after liberation he has all these stuff, still looking for a car though, and his kids are much more properly fed and dressed.

-About the food situation: I can't tell about all the Iraqis, but one of the things that I noticed was a considerable decline in the number of beggars in the streets, and I haven't heard of a famine anywhere in Iraq.

-About the CPA compensating damages: I’m not very informed about that but I know that applications were made, some rejected, some still under study, others were accepted like the compensations given to families of the victims of the explosion in najaf(assassination of al-hakeem)despite the fact hat the coalition had nothing to do with that terrorist attack.

-About schools being functioning: I can assure you, all students are back to study, though some schools are still under reconstruction.

The curriculum is still the same but the pictures of Saddam and topics related to Saddam's wars and baath history have been omitted. Researches are now being worked out to change the whole curriculum.

-About Islamic fundamentalists schools: in fact there are no such schools in Iraq even before the war as Saddam allowed only his sick ideology to be studied.
Now, some religious groups started experiencing their freedom in holding their ceremonies and in preaching for their convictions but their effect on ordinary Iraqi people is not significant.
There are some fundamentalists, but they're not welcomed by the majority of Iraqis who descend from different ethnic, tribal and religious groups and sub-groups, so there is no real chance that one of these groups could dominate the street.

-About women safety: it's been months since ordinary life came back to the streets of Baghdad and the rest of Iraq, and women do walk completely safe through all Baghdad even at night, and they do not have to cover up except in the holly cities of shia (najaf&kerbala)while elsewhere especially Baghdad and the northern parts of Iraq the majority of women do not cover-up, and there's absolutely no one trying to force such an attitude, though the mullahs are still preaching in the mosques about this as they have been doing for decades.

-About weapons’ cashes: most of them have been secured and/or destroyed, however there maybe others still undiscovered.

-About agriculture flourishing: sorry to tell you that I don't have enough info. about this issue, but I think it haven't recovered yet.

-About Iraqi police: they have the authority to investigate, do arrests, enforce law and they do patrol all over Iraq unaccompanied by coalition forces and they're well armed and I haven't witness a single situation of authority abuse.
-About detained people: I can't tell the exact number, maybe some thousands, I can tell you they have contact with their families, for example :one of the most wanted 55 who is detained by the coalition is my neighbor's uncle and his family was allowed to contact him through the red-cross and supplied him with his needs.

-About baath members who lost their jobs: only the senior baath party members lost their jobs.
Thanks for your concern about our life in Iraq, I wish I was able to show some photos that reflect some aspects of the ordinary life in Baghdad (hopefully soon).

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