Sunday, March 13, 2005

Surrounded by random violence,
ordinary Iraqis risk their lives daily


I'm going to try not to litter the web with posts of others people's articles about which I have nothing useful to say. But sometimes the horror is so great I just have to shout from the rooftops.

Here's an account of what it is to live in Baghdad under US occupation from Patrick Quinn of AP:

When Adnan Shalaal left his job at the Sheraton Hotel on Friday afternoon, he went from being a valued employee and father of three to a statistic on a police blotter -- one of dozens recorded daily in one of the world's most dangerous cities.
Shalaal and his three young children inadvertently drove through a shootout between insurgents and police. The 30-year-old hotel administrator was shot in the head, his blood and brains splattering over the youngsters. His children were unharmed, but Shalaal was not expected to survive.
By day or night, Baghdad has become a cacophony of automatic weapons fire, explosions and sudden death, its citizens living in constant fear of being shot by insurgents or the security forces meant to protect them.…
On Haifa Street, rocket-propelled grenades sometimes fly through traffic. Rashid Street is a favorite for roadside bombers near the Tigris River.
And then there's Sadoun Street, once teeming with Western hotels and home to Firdous Square -- the landmark roundabout in central Baghdad where Iraqis toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein.
In the two years since Hussein's ouster, Sadoun Street has become an avenue of blast walls -- thick concrete slabs 6 to 12 feet high -- that protect government buildings and hotels now home to the few Western contractors and journalists who remain.…
Shalaal left the Sheraton with his two sons, aged 3 and 6, and his 12-year-old daughter. As he turned on Sadoun Street, gunmen in a white SUV passed between his car and the hotel regularly targeted by insurgents. Windows on the SUV rolled down and the firing began, with guards joining in almost reflexively.
Shalaal never made it down the tunnel of flying lead.
"He'll be forgotten in five minutes," one man murmured in Arabic after looking at Shalaal's bullet-riddled white compact car. "That's Iraq today."

Reading this, all I can do is ask myself what I am doing to stop this? What are any of us doing?

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