[quote][b]The atmosphere in Baghdad has changed for the worse. At the entrance to the hotel where I am staying, there is a noticeboard near the reception desk. Last year, the pieces of paper stuck on the board were mostly from Iraqis wanting jobs as translators for foreign companies and itemising their qualifications. Today, there are no such notices. Too many translators have been killed or threatened for any Iraqi to advertise the fact that he or she wants to work for a foreigner.
Instead, there are three notices on the board from different companies all advertising armoured vehicles for sale. One of them says it can also offer body armour, adding seductively that this is in "limited quantity in the country."
Few in Iraq will be celebrating the anniversary of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein today, though he was loathed by most Iraqis. They have little to celebrate. And if anybody in my hotel has any doubts about their attitude to the anniversary, a gentle warning arrived this morning by fax. It is signed by "the Iraqi armed resistance" and was also sent to schools, businesses and government offices. It reads: "We warn you from putting up decorations, Iraqi flags or any celebration on 4/9/2004. Anybody who disobeys this order will be punished, especially those in charge." I never thought that the American invasion of Iraq would end very happily, but it still seems extraordinary that a year after Americans entered the capital there are only 12 hours of electricity a day. Outside the hotel where The Independent has its office I have to make a little jump every morning over a drain filled with raw sewage spouting out of a broken pipe nearby. Nobody seems to be very interested in fixing it.
One quick way of gauging how things are going in Baghdad is to look at the four chimneys of the Daura power station which dominate the skyline in the south of the capital. If smoke is coming out of two or three it means that the electricity supply will be reasonable, but if only one chimney is producing smoke then there will not be enough power. Returning to Baghdad earlier this week, I noticed that for the first time since it was bombed in 1991, no smoke is coming out of any of the chimneys.
It did not have to happen this way. Saddam Hussein should not have been a hard act to follow. After 30 years of disastrous wars, Iraqis wanted a quiet life. All the Americans really needed to do was to get the relatively efficient Iraqi administration up and running again. Instead, they let the government dissolve, and have never successfully resurrected it.[/b][/quote]
Remember last year when Bagdad was initially liberated? Shortly after that, the Shiites were out in the street "celebrating" some holiday for the first time in like, 30 years, because Saddam outlawed it? The ceremony entailed cutting your scalp and bleeding profusely. Anybody else remember how macabre and ominous those images were at the time? It was like, "What Pandora's box have we just opened".
Dunno if this is the same thing, but if this is a different holy day, then the running theme with these people is obviously sadomasochism:
[quote][i]Originally posted by Piper[/i]@Apr 12 2004, 11:54 AM
[b] Here is a
[url=http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showpost.php?p=1674085&postcount=10]A slightly different viewpoint[/url] [/b][/quote]
Great. And you know if that pic got around to Al Jazeera, the parents of those poor little girls woul probably beat the living hell out of them or kill them. Here's a couple pictures of the fathers of little girls lik this: