[Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt of an article I wrote for TowardFreedom. I have also recently been taken on as a writer for Inter Press Service. Expect to see more articles in the near future re-posted here. Where possible I will post the entire piece, I will likely only be able to post a brief excerpt here however, with a direct link to the full article.]
Baghdad: Life During Wartime
By: Brian Conley
Thursday, 01 December 2005
Two and a half years into the occupation, war still rages on in Baghdad, Iraq. Two of the deadliest attacks in the last month occurred at the Palestine Hotel and the Hamra Hotel. Although Westerners frequent these hotels, the casualties were almost exclusively Iraqis living and working in the area. Yet just a few hours after the attacks, citizens were back on the streets, as if nothing had happened.
On Baghdad’s streets there is an almost a constant stream of traffic, interrupted regularly by military checkpoints. The traffic jams are due to a three-fold increase in the number of vehicles on Baghdad’s streets since the occupation began. The checkpoints and barricades are minimal attempts to create security out of the chaos of the Iraq War. Because of the constant fear of suicide attacks, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and car bombs, Baghdad is inundated with concrete barriers similar to those seen during highway construction in the US. In areas of high security or importance, there are larger versions which are ten feet tall and two feet thick.
Many Iraqis I spoke with stressed the lack of security as the biggest impact of the occupation. Ghazi Farhan, an Iraqi from Ramadi echoed this common sentiment, “On a typical Iraqi day, before the war, there was stability, and security. A person could go out of his home any time. But now, the Iraqi people can’t leave their homes. They are afraid of Americans, kidnappers, murderers, attacks. So it is a very bad situation, it is an unstable, insecure situation.”
To read the rest of the article, please visit Toward Freedom here.