Thursday, January 08, 2004

:: the Iraqi orchestra held a concert on the honor of donor countries and institutions, and showed up in a new elegant look.
There were two female musicians in the orchestra, and concert was attended by one of the GC members, the secretary of culture, American officers and other personalities from other countries.
The Iraqi orchestra suffered from severe neglect in the past years; I remember a friend of mine who was fond of classical music used to go to these concerts on Saddam’s times and he was saddened by the miserable conditions those musicians were living. I remember him telling me that the audience usually didn’t exceed 10, some of the members left their job because of the low income and lack of support and encouragement, despite that, the rest of members kept performing their concerts for such a small audience and in such terrible conditions all those years because of their love to music.

:: in an interview with the Iraqi oil minister on the Iraqi TV, he stated that the main reason for the fuel crisis in the past weeks was smuggling and black market deals, and that immediately after applying strict monitoring on the fuel tankers from the refineries to the fuel stations, the crisis almost resolved.
He said that this method was applied only for gasoline and soon other oil products will be included until the production rate exceeds the needs of the country and the smuggling gangs busted. He added that in the past week (only in Baghdad), 28 smuggled fuel tanks were discovered and the dealers were arrested.

:: the current exchange rate for the Iraqi Dinar is about : 1620 ID for each US Dollar.
Few months after the war, the exchange price for the Iraqi Dinar improved from about 2000 ID for each $(the same price before the war) to 1600 about 3 weeks ago, and kept ranging between 1600 – 1700 since then.

:: a new doctor who was assigned lately to work in our hospital told me this story about the (brutality of the invaders):
“About one month after the war was over there was a period of chaos and increased crime levels, during this period I was working in a hospital in Al-Sadr city. An American unit was assigned to protect our hospital, and as they were happy to see someone who could speak English and help them communicate with the locals, and we were glad to get protection, soon we became friends.
One night, I was the doctor on call in the emergency unit, two old ladies came to the hospital one of them was suffering from an attack of renal colic, and after receiving treatment the two women tried to hire a cab to get home, but no one accepted to give them a lift as it was late at night and every one was in a hurry to go home and avoid the dangers of driving at night.
One of the soldiers stepped to the road and asked to accompany him, he waved for a car to stop and asked to tell the driver that he would give him 10,000 ID if he could drive the ladies home(about 10 times the usual cost), but the driver refused and the scene repeated with other 3 cars, then the soldier told me to raise the number to 20,000 ID, but again no response, at last a taxi came carrying a patient with his relatives, and when I told him about the offer of the soldier, he looked astonished and after a moment replied : I’ll do it for free. And he did.”

-By Ali.

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