Video - Baghdad/Adhamiya, Iraq - When they began erecting a wall in Adhamiya the public response was varied, in Iraq, in the US, indeed around the world. Some responded with shock, others with outrage, others wondered why it hadn’t been tried before. Most importantly, there was a reaction, it was widespread, and strong. The press covered the issue of the wall repeatedly, with many papers writing multiple stories on the subject, extending over a period of months, some more. Unfortunately the images of the wall are few and far between. A Google image search reveals only 1,020 results for adhamiya wall, many of which are repeat images and many more are irrelevant to the search. Why has such an important event of the war and most recently the Surge, received so little visual coverage?
After the initial excitement faded, there was little coverage of the impact of the wall, or of the other walls to follow. The economic impact of the wall received this weak commentary on September 20th, in a longer AP article about the Sunnis of Adhamiya turning to US soldiers for support.
This week, after much delay, Abdul Alaa brings us inside the new Adhamiya, speaking with community leaders, demonstrators, and the average citizens of Adhamiya. As a new wall emerges west of the Tigris, insight into the impact of the wall over the last months is even more important. The wall, allegedly there to protect Shi’a and Sunni from each other, has succeeded in walling a small Shi’a community inside Ghazaliyah, an area known to harbor Sunni militants. Iraqis are already demonstrating in Ghazaliyah and Shula, although its unlikely to make much difference.
When the wall in Adhamiya began, the Prime Minister himself demanded that it be removed, only to be corrected by the spokesman for Iraq’s military and later recant his statement, there was even talk of “modifying the wall” although that idea appears to have been still-born.
Today its unclear what the future of the surge in walls will be. It is uncertain how much success and stability they are providing. It is sure that they have been a rallying point for Iraqi nationalists and hard-liners alike. It is also sure that, if nothing else, they are putting dinars in the pockets of at least a few Iraqis.
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