Thursday, December 11, 2003

Snapshots from Baghdad with some answers

I’m not surprised anymore with the way most of the western media covered the demo. That took place yesterday, as when was reading one of the most popular Iraqi newspapers, I was surprised to see that they mentioned it only in the third page. I was more surprised and angry to see, when further reading the post, that it was only an Arabic translation of what the news site at yahoo had said about the demo. Yesterday, with only one difference, the thousands mentioned in the original post somehow changed into 200 members of the communist party. It seems that our enemies are stronger than we thought.

-I was delighted today to hear that the USA army-with aid from the local folks-made a successful raid that resulted in the arrest of the criminals who killed the Spaniard officers. It appeared that they were about 41 men, all members of the former Iraqi intelligence.

-The IP managed to disarm 4 rockets that were found in the
high way near our district. The IP officials said that the rockets were ready to fire, but the supposed target remains unknown.
Another rocket was found and was disarmed in the public park just in front of al-yarmook hospital in the western part of Baghdad.

-The anti-terrorism Iraqi committee is preparing for an anti-terrorism demo. in London next Saturday.

Some sports news; the Iraqi national soccer team jumped to the 44th rank according to the FIFA (82 before the war), and was awarded as the best Asian team in the last month. The Iraqi team also received the FIFA fair play award for its performance in the last month. Taking in consideration the difficulties the Iraqi sport is facing these days; the bad shape of most of the stadiums, the lack of resources and the general instability which forced the Iraqi football federation to suspend the local league, one can see the effect of freedom on the spirit of the human beings.

Some people might say that I’m only showing the progress that has been made and never say anything about the bad news. My answer is yes and I do it deliberately, for if you want to hear about the bad stuff you can see it in every TV channel and millions of web sites. And since trying to state the exaggeration of most of these sources takes thousands of pages, so I’ll continue to focus on the tiny positive stuff that is not mentioned in the media.

Here are some answers to questions posted by some of the readers:
-The salaries as I mentioned before had risen about 8 to 10 times compared to those before the war. Of course this doesn't apply to all the jobs, but to the majority that is about 90% of people working.

-I don't have an accurate survey, but it seems that the jobs are mostly provided by the state, as although a high percentage off Iraqis work in private business, still many of these businesses are provided by the government that is to say in reconstruction contracts and subcontracts given to private companies. However, the private, jobs especially with foreign companies, pay a much higher salaries. For example one of my friends is working now with ORASCOM (which have started its project to link Iraq to the main cellular phone world net which is supposed to be finished next January) and he's getting a salary of about 750$ that is more than 6 times what I get paid.
-About the immigration: as you know before the war there was a continuous flow of Iraqis to other countries looking for better wages or running from oppression (out of about 20000 Iraqi doctors nearly 10000 work abroad). Today the flow has nearly stopped or decreased significantly, and despite the risks, a lot of my friends have returned to Iraq, others are considering it and still waiting for the security to improve. The only people who are leaving Iraq these days are those who had some privileges before the war or those who fear the revenge of the people such as senior Ba’ath party members.
-everybody today can have an official travel document (not a passport), but no country gives a visa to an Iraqi even if he had a passport (including USA). Only Syria and Jordan allow Iraqis to cross their borders but with very sever limitations and conditions.

I hope I could say more, and I have another post but I haven't translated it yet (I write in Arabic 1st) as I have a lot of work these days and we are suffering these days from a major power failure due to what is thought to be a terrorist attack on the main power station in Al-Nassyrea governorate in the south that affected a large area in Iraq. Hope to do more as conditions improve.

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