Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Baghdad to the breaking point

The Daily Telegraph's Oliver Poole reports from Iraq:

The people of Baghdad do not need statistics to tell them that they are living through terror unimaginable in the West.

Every two days for the past two years more civilians have died in Iraq than in the July 7 London bombings.

Just yesterday, 31 people lost their lives in several attacks across the country, which included gunmen shooting dead three Sunni Arab members of the team drafting Iraq's new constitution; insurgents slaughtering 10 workers on a bus travelling to a US army base, and gunmen ambushing a police vehicle in northern Mosul, killing two.

Such incidents are so common they merit little attention in the world's press.
Regrettably so. It's impossible to fathom what it's like to live in Iraq right now.

Recently, an Iraqi colleague of mine, who I hadn't heard from in a few months, emailed to tell of his situation. His neighbor was killed two months ago in a bombing; his uncle was killed last week by the Americans. The email was peppered with other remarks about the horror of being caught in traffic when shootings break out, the chaos at his university where bombings and kidnappings have rendered intellectual activity meaningless, the daily stress of not knowing what route to take to the market for fear of being caught in the crossfire, and the like. If you read Riverbend or other Iraqi blogs, you know precisely what I'm talking about. It's unbelievable chaos.