Monday, January 05, 2004
Just as we went deeper..
I came back to Baghdad yesterday, this time our visit was different from the previous ones, this time we had to visit suburbs, villages and small towns around the center a Basra, (some are even far) like the small town that I’ll be working in.
The situation there is quite different from what we saw (and described) in the center of Basra; the streets are all mud, the water supplies are insufficient (in quality and quantity)so that some people depend on the river to get water.
The sewage system is incomplete, garbage is everywhere, communications are difficult, the people are simple and peaceful but are really poor, the whole town looked like ruins. In other words; people there are still living in the 18th. Century.
These areas seemed to be suffering from neglect for decades, and one would think that the government might be unaware of the presence of this town, but this is not true. Those towns and villages were not only isolated from the rest of the world , but from the rest of Iraq as well.
Those people were being abandoned (on purpose) and punished by orders of the dictator, and this applies also to many other areas all over Iraq.
The people there have always showed their rejection to the Ba’ath regime, and even took their weapons to fight SH, the lucky were killed and the rest had to live and suffer from the revenge and humiliation of the tyrant.
We saw tens of destroyed tanks on the sides of the road, Saddam had 5000 tanks before 1991; the cost of each one was enough to pave a street, build a public clinic or supply clean water for a village. Saddam had about a thousand aircrafts; the cost of each was enough to build a town. And he continued to build his army, along with his palaces after the gulf war. So I don’t think that (lack of funds) was the reason for the peoples’ misery.
However, beside all these painful scenes, we found some good things over there:
The medical care centers were the first thing to be rebuilt and reequipped after the liberation, and a small new house was built there for the doctors to stay in.
there is no problem with electricity and gasoline as we noticed. the British troops and the IP are doing their job well there, the place is relly quiet(even that people there have their supper and go to bed just after sun-set).
The nature around the city is really beautiful and people there are satisfied with their new life, especially after the marshes have started to reform (most of the canals that SH built to drain the marshes are blocked now), some people took out their old traditional (long and narrow boats) or the so called “MASH-HOOF” and started to practice their old job (fishing) using a (FALEH=TRIDENT) in most of the times, as the water is shallow but clear.
I have heard some news about that earlier but, when I saw it myself, I was really pleased; the (Venice of Iraq is going to be restored). And I’ll try to get you some photos from the area when I get back there next week.