'Baghdad Is A Smashed City'
From Dahr Jamail
Below is an email I have just received from my close friend and  translator Abu Talat. While he has fled Baghdad with his family and  is now a refugee in Syria, he recently had to return to Baghdad in  order to try to salvage what is left of his former life (his car,  belongings from his house, etc.) before returning back to Syria. His  note is instructive as to the current living conditions in the  capital city of Iraq. Here is the full text of his message:
Habibi Baghdad is a SMASHED cityno roads to drive onmost of them are  closed off by concrete obstacles with concertina wire. In addition,  the presence of the Iraqi military, who cover their faces with black  masks and hold their guns in such a way that when you see them you  will definitely be afraid that they will shoot you. The shops in most of the area I went to see are closed. I asked one  of the shop owners I know, 55-year-old Abu Fadhil, since I heard  that his shop was robbed. I found his door closed and locked and he  was nowhere to be found. 
Later, on my way to Sadr City, I found that two of the three roads  which lead all the way from south to north Baghdad are either  partially or totally closed in some places. You still remember the  highways in Baghdadwell now most of them are closed, or at least  fenced off with obstacles, yet they say there is some progress in  the security situation inside the city! Everyday two or three cars  explode across Baghdad, killing big numbers of civilians.
When I returned to my neighborhood of al-Adhamiya, I couldn't get in  unless the soldiers checked my ID and my car, even though the guards  are from the same neighborhood and they know me personally. But they  had to check it to ensure that no car bombs might happen. 
Nevertheless, daily mortars shell my neighborhood and those are out  of control, despite this concrete wall placed by the Americans which  now surrounds our neighborhood. Despite all that they do, they  cannot bring security to our small neighborhood.
Needless to say, Baghdad has been changed into THE CITY OF GARBAGE.  You can find it everywhere. You can smell the stench of dead bodies  wherever you go.
Talking of electricity, there is now only one hour daily. That's it.  From where we're staying in the city center, in Bab al-Muadham, I  can see from the balcony that people sleep nearly naked on their  rooftops because it is so hot and there is no electricity to run  fans or air conditioners. Thank God that there are two large  generators that maintain electricity in our building. 
Everyday by 2-3 pm the buildings where we are staying are closed so  that noone can leave or enter. That way it is kept secure, and this  is how it remains until the next morning. 
As far as my family life in this condition, we are as though we are  in jail from 2-3 pm until the second morning where the doors are  opened at 7 am.
My son goes to the hospital to work, but for the last two days he  finds it without any running water. [His son works in Baghdad  Medical City, the largest hospital in Iraq] For the last 2 weeks, as  he told me, the hospital has been without any air conditioning and  almost without patients, although it's the biggest hospital in Iraq. My sons wife, who is also a doctor, has to go to another hospital  just to try to assist since there is a drastic lack of  Gynecologists. She stays in her hospital for three days  continuously before my son picks her up with his car on the fourth  day to bring her home, in order to insure her safety so she doesn't  have to take a bus or taxi.
As for my daughter, she has not passed out the doorway of this  apartment where we are staying for the last week except for one time  for some work she had to accomplish.
My wife left here only once, when she went to her job (which she has  been on leave from since we left to Syria) in order to apply for a  full year vacation. Thank God she got it.
As for me, I found my car ruined, so I had to repair it. For that I  called the mechanic to come to my home and repair it, since I  couldn't take the car to him since all the mechanics shops are  closed and there is no place to have a car repaired. All of those  shops are totally closed.
When I saw the mechanic he said, "We cannot live anymore, and there  is no job we can find."
Dahr, this short letter gives you just a glance of the current  situation in Baghdad. With the next letter I will tell you some more.



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