Latest from McClatchy Bloggers in Baghdad: A Little Water and ‘Grand Theft Auto’

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By: E&P Staff

For several weeks now, E&P has been featuring some of the blog entries by McClatchy’s Iraqi staffers in their Baghdad bureau. One symbol of the dangers in that country: their full names are never divulged.

Here are two of the latest entries. Others can be found at the bureau’s Inside Iraq blog site.
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From “Laith”:

It looks I will never finish writing about the achievements of our great government. Excuse me dear readers but I think I have the right to feel proud that we have such great government supported by the great administration of Great Bush. Well, let me go directly to the point. I just would like to tell you that this is the 7th day that we don?t have water in our neighborhood.

Yes, we don?t have water and we have to use the water pumps to get water and if any house could get it by the pump, the other houses would never be able to have because it looks that Baghdad municipality cant pump enough quantity of water to fill the pipes. I think because the municipality is really busy with other projects which are more important than providing water like painting the pavement.

Hey did I tell you that we are the country number 1 in painting the pavements? Baghdad municipality paints the pavements almost every season. I don?t know why and I think only Allah knows why but I know that the contractors who do this job earns millions of dollars in this work although it is worthless.

Anyway, back to water shortage. My family is one of the lucky families who earn enough to use our electric generator any time we want and seriously I thank Allah for that gift. The first machine works in the house when I turn on the generator is the water pump. Yesterday, almost all our neighbors came to our house asking for water. We kept our water pump working for hours and we couldn?t do anything but providing people with water until 11 pm. I could see happiness and Thanks Allah, my family gained many nice prayers from our neighbors who were really thankful.

I don?t know what to say but I just want to know what the word government means. Does it only mean to have hundreds of guards and to steal money or it means to travel here and there claiming that you work hard for your people or it means to send the young men to die in an aimless war.
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From “Correspondent Sahar”:

I awoke to the sound of furious barking. What time is it? Looking at the window I could see that day had not yet dawned?- before six in the morning. Why was Suka ? our tiny doggie ? barking madly at the entrance window??

Apprehensively, I get up and run to look outside. I could see shadows moving about in the garden. What to do?? Do I call out?? Do I pretend not to be at home?? Which is the safest move?? Have ?they? come for me?? Good God, spare us ? My kids!!

Quickly I call both my daughter and son, ?Get dressed! Quick!?

As I open the door, I see a number of men in uniform, all tall, all indistinguishable in the dark. (Remember we don?t have electricity.)

?Please come in.? Dressed in all-covering clothes and hijab, I step aside to let them in. They enter. I count ten. The rest remain outside. They enter the living room, which has a large window, and I could distinguish three Americans.

They look around, seeing my huge bookcase, one comments, ?You read a lot Ma?am??, ?Yes, in fact I do.?

?What?s this? Heinlein? Asimov? Grisham?? He turns to look at me again, this time, with a different expression in his eyes. ?Do you have a weapon?? ?Yes, of course. It?s in that cabinet.?

He opens the cabinet and looks closely inside.

?You play Diablo?! And what?s this?! Grand Theft Auto??? He forgets all about the weapon and turns to us with a wide grin on his face, and astonishment in his eyes.

My son asks him, ?Is ours the first house you search??, ?No, why??, ?Because all my friends have these games, why are you so surprised?? The serviceman looks embarrassed, and turns to inspect the weapon.

They went through every room, every cabinet, closet and drawer silently. After they accomplished their mission, in about thirty minutes, they walked out, gray shadows in the twilight.



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