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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 33,960
Loc: Lost In Space
Some happier Iraqis
    #1802423 - 08/11/03 06:02 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Iraqis savor new taste of freedom


By Borzou Daragahi
THE WASHINGTON TIMES



BAGHDAD ? Lost in the obsessive hunt for Saddam Hussein and the daily count of American soldiers killed and wounded is a complex picture of a country and culture re-emerging with U.S. help from the rubble of war, dictatorship, sanctions and the burst of postwar chaos.
"The new Iraq means having satellite channels, saying anything you want to say," said Akila Hashimi, a former Iraqi diplomat now seated on the 25-member Iraqi Governing Council.
"You feel like you're in a free country. People are expressing their happiness, expressing their anger. They're saying anything they want to say."
The new freedom was evident in the gleeful faces of a handful of Iraqi policemen who recently danced in their seats as they drove to their station with a suspected member of a nationwide kidnapping ring.
"Under Saddam Hussein, we could not touch this kind of mafia," Qata Abdul Zaher said of his skinny prisoner, who had been arrested at a seedy hotel, blindfolded and tossed unceremoniously into the trunk of an Oldsmobile.
"The police were never allowed to do honest work," the feisty officer continued. "We were always watched over by other security forces. Now we're doing real police work."
For the police department and the nation's American overseers, the arrest was a moment of triumph ? and relief ? showing Iraqi institutions are beginning to function. It was lauded the next day by Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner assigned to rebuild the Iraqi police and security forces, as "one of the most successful missions" in Iraq thus far.
Yet lawlessness and insecurity remain the biggest obstacle to a return to normalcy. The dozens of newly opened newspapers regularly report carjackings, kidnappings, rapes and racketeering. Secular, politically moderate, middle-class Iraqis complain about crime and disorder disrupting their lives.
Because of safety fears, businessman Abdul Muhsin Shanshal said, his ambitious daughter had to keep her radiology clinic closed for four months before reopening it last week.
"The most important thing is security," he said. "The Americans promised a lot of things they didn't deliver. The people are disappointed. I'm sure they wanted to do it. But they didn't know how. And they don't listen to us."
Still, the United States already has invested heavily in public works and reconstruction. The U.S. Agency for International Development, has approved $87 million in water and electrical-infrastructure improvements. Bechtel, a U.S. government contractor, has already approved $355 million in reconstruction projects. In Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, the 101st Airborne Division says it has spent at least $7 million shaping up local infrastructure.
L. Paul Bremer, the American administrator, said during a recent press briefing that all of Iraq's 240 hospitals and 22 universities are operating. Ninety-five percent of clinics and 90 percent of schools are functioning. Partial electric power has been restored to much of the country, and Baghdad residents get power for about 12 hours a day.
Though many state-owned factories have been idled because of looting or war damage ? contributing to an unemployment rate of around 60 percent ? salaries for those who have jobs have gone up. University administrative assistants who used to get paid about $3 a month now get $125. Professors once paid the equivalent of $5 now get $300.
Most Iraqis agree that the newly formed interim Governing Council ? though handpicked by the Americans ? represents a broad cross-section of Iraqis, from secular to Islamist to communist, from Shi'ite to Sunni to Kurd.
Based in the luxurious rest house of a former Saddam crony, the council meets almost daily and has already chosen a nine-member leadership with a rotating chairmanship.
"We've had one leader for 35 years, and it wasn't a very happy experience," said Adnan Pachachi, 80, Iraq's foreign minister just before the Ba'athists took power in 1968 and now a member of the leadership committee. "One leader would be taking too much responsibility."
There has also been a renaissance of civic life and artistic expression. For every new newspaper opened, there has emerged a club or organization advocating rights for women, Turkomans, Assyrians or one of Iraq's many other minorities. An interfaith center has popped up to promote ties between Iraq's religious groups and an organization has formed to help former prisoners of Saddam's regime.
Alharith Hassan, dean of the Psychological Research Center at Baghdad University, said Iraqis are just beginning to emerge from the ravages of dictatorship.
"It was very difficult for us to live in a society where we felt threatened every day," he said. "We behaved without creativity. You've got to be free in your life and free in your heart to be creative."
A case in point is Muhammad Nataq, a 36-year-old painter whose father was executed by the Ba'athists. In 1994, he was asked to paint a portrait of Saddam. After a few days of work, he decided he couldn't go on and refused to finish the giant canvas of a smiling Saddam.
He was arrested and imprisoned for several weeks, tortured and told by authorities that he had damaged the nation's morale. When he emerged battered and terrified, he was barred from continuing his art studies at the university.
Now Mr. Nataq spends his days in a "hosseiniyeh" ? a small, quiet place of worship ? painting large oil portraits of Muhammad Baqr al Sadr, the beloved Shi'ite cleric executed by Saddam in 1980.
"To be an artist, you need to be motivated and inspired," he said. "With Saddam Hussein, I was not motivated."
Because of the almost-daily ambushes against U.S. troops, however, Americans rarely interact with people such as Mr. Nataq or experience the lively sounds and distinctive scents of a Baghdad market.
The army has imposed stringent "force-protection" measures that prevent soldiers from removing their helmets or flak jackets when they leave base, or traveling in anything less than a three-vehicle convoy. Some have even been ordered to surround themselves with barbed wire when they stop to buy ice or drinks.
"The attackers are trying to separate us from the people," said Col. Vincent Foulk, an Army civil-affairs official. "They don't dare let us get the message out. This is literally a battle of ideas in which blood is being spilled."
On the rare occasions when soldiers and Iraqis battle through the maze of official and cultural rules to interact, results are remarkable.
Pfc. Jeannette Williamson once let a curious Iraqi teen and her mother approach her on the street and ended up becoming pen pals with the daughter.
"They wanted to know about beauty products," she said. "They thought we had these miracle products that made us beautiful. She later wrote me a letter. She said that I was a special friend of hers now and she would never forget me. I ended up writing her a letter back saying the same about her."
After four months of trying, Spc. John Merguerian, an Armenian-American, managed to get permission to visit an Armenian church in Baghdad.
When he and some fellow soldiers walked into St. Qarabat Church in full uniform and flak jacket, the congregation was in the middle of Sunday Mass. Parishioners turned to stare at him.
"I was confused and concerned," said the Rev. Ararat Ophispian. "I thought they might be here on some security-related matter."
But Spc. Merguerian just walked gently to a nearby pew, knelt humbly and began to pray. Father Ophispian and his parishioners were quickly put at ease.


Link


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You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #1802528 - 08/11/03 06:34 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Baghdad residents get power for about 12 hours a day.




Maybe I should move to Baghdad. I live in the Dominican Republic. We almost NEVER get power for 12 hours a day. We often get power for only 6 hours a day (or less), and several times a year we will be without power for 48 hours or more at a stretch. It has been like that ever since I got here in early 1988. Longest stretch without electricity was in 1989, when we went just under two weeks without power after a big transformer at the nearest substation blew up. The entire village turned out to cheer when the enormous flatbed carrying the new transformer finally arrived and slowly trundled down the potholed street towards the substation.

I was sitting at a bar talking to some windsurfing buddies about eight hours later when the lights came back on. A huge cheer went up, the bartender gave us all a free round, but a big fat German at the end of the bar jumped up with an expression of horror on his face and shouted, "Oh, no!"

Turns out the guy was an electrical engineer on vacation. He quickly explained that whenever you transport a transformer of that size, it is absolutely essential to let it sit in place for at least 24 hours before running any power through it, because the cooling fluid inside it gets agitated and foamy through the jostling it undergoes. Foamy coolant can't dissipate heat properly, and hot spots quickly develop and the transformer blows up. By the way, the same caution applies when installing a new refrigerator or air conditioner -- you have to let it sit for a while after moving it before you plug it in.

Sure enough, the power was on for maybe twenty minutes, then *poof* we were back to black. Dejectedly, the bartender started relighting the candles and kerosene lamps. We still got to drink the free round, though.

We heard the next day that what the German engineer had predicted was exactly what had happened -- the new transformer was toast.

It took six more days before we were back to our regular pattern of less than 12 hours a day. I don't know whether they brought in a new transformer or somehow managed to repair the one that had been buggered.

So we had something like nineteen or twenty days in a row with a grand total of twenty minutes of electricity.

Gotta love third-world life.

pinky


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: Phred]
    #1802620 - 08/11/03 06:59 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Why do you live there again?

Something about the economic system there being superior or something?


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OfflineCornholio
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Registered: 01/13/03
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Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #1802832 - 08/11/03 07:59 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)



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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 33,960
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: Cornholio]
    #1802844 - 08/11/03 08:02 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Would you have been happier had the author used the word "freer" speech?

Change doesn't happen over night.


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You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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OfflineCornholio
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Registered: 01/13/03
Posts: 845
Loc: Austin, TX
Last seen: 13 years, 2 months
Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #1802889 - 08/11/03 08:16 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

We like to believe the Iraqis love the US occupation of their country, but since speaking out against it means going to jail, we will never really know how most Iraqis really feel.  It's probably fair to say that most prefer the US to Saddam.  But I think the Iraqi's would like independence even better, and we won't even think about giving it to them.  FREEDOM MY ASS!!!  :wink:   


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #1802906 - 08/11/03 08:20 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Baby_Hitler writes:

Why do you live there again?

The windsurfing conditions are literally world-class, the place is overrun with bikini-clad hardbody babes from Scandinavia, Europe, Canada, the States, and South America (Venezuelan girls are da bomb!), the weather is fantastic, cost of living is relatively cheap, and the government leaves us alone. They do very little for us, but on the other hand they ask very little either.

Something about the economic system there being superior or something?

The Dominican Republic had the fastest-growing economy in Latin America for many years running, until the current clown, Hippolito Mejia, became president. He immediately adopted some of the most bone-headed economic policies I have ever heard of, too lengthy to go into in this post.

Suffice it to say that if he wins the next election (May of 2004), I may have to seriously consider moving elsewhere.

One of the last moves the outgoing prez did was to privatize the electrical company. The problem is, the contract was awarded to a Brazilian company rather than to one of the other bidders (Hydro Quebec, a German firm, an Italian firm as well... a few others) so it is taking them some time to get their act together. To be fair, the electricity is better than it used to be, but that wasn't all that difficult to pull off -- could hardly have been worse. To be even fairer, they inherited a hellacious mess infrastructure-wise and billing-wise, along with thousands of unionized staff long accustomed to doing basically sweet fuck all whom they cannot fire (thanks to Hippolito's wonderful new policies), so I figure it will take a few more years to get it all sorted out.

So I guess I really won't move to Baghdad after all.

pinky


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 33,960
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: Cornholio]
    #1802919 - 08/11/03 08:24 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Cornholio said:
We like to believe the Iraqis love the US occupation of their country, but since speaking out against it means going to jail, we will never really know how most Iraqis really feel.  It's probably fair to say that most prefer the US to Saddam.  But I think the Iraqi's would like independence even better, and we won't even think about giving it to them.  FREEDOM MY ASS!!!  :wink:   



Gosh.... I don't suppose the reason some don't have much to say, pro or con, is that for so many years saying ANYTHING was a bad idea?


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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OfflineCornholio
A liberal guy(on hiatus)

Registered: 01/13/03
Posts: 845
Loc: Austin, TX
Last seen: 13 years, 2 months
Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #1802956 - 08/11/03 08:33 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

luvdemshrooms said:
Gosh.... I don't suppose the reason some don't have much to say, pro or con, is that for so many years saying ANYTHING was a bad idea?


"ANYTHING"??? They were allowed to talk. Before they couldnt' speak out against Saddam, now they can't speak out against the US. Not a very different situation. I guess now they get jail time, when before it was torture or death, so I guess you could say they're "better off", but not free.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: Phred]
    #1802988 - 08/11/03 08:42 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Interesting. Thanks.

What about generators? I would think that with such unreliable power over there they would be very popular.

I'm hoping Fuel cells will be competative with the centralized power companies soon here.


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Edited by Baby_Hitler (08/11/03 08:51 PM)


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 33,960
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: Cornholio]
    #1803001 - 08/11/03 08:45 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

I meant to say anything of a political nature as I'm sure you guessed. Thanks for the reminder.


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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Offlinepattern
multiplayer

Registered: 07/19/02
Posts: 2,183
Loc: Canada
Last seen: 1 year, 9 months
Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #1803161 - 08/11/03 09:36 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Hey thats some good news, thanks for the link.


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man = monkey + mushroom


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InvisibleXlea321
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Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Some happier Iraqis [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #1803925 - 08/12/03 01:33 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Reminds me of all those "Afghans dancing in the street" stories that were put out after the Afghanistan clusterfuck.


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Don't worry, B. Caapi


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