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Detentions and assassinations, along with intermittent electricity, have also been contributing to sleepless nights. We’re hearing about raids in many areas in Karkh half of Baghdad in particular. On television talk about ‘terrorists’ being arrested, but there are dozens of people being rounded up for no particular reason. Almost every Iraqi family can give name of a friend or relative who is in one of many American prisons for no particular reason. They aren’t allowed to see lawyers or have visitors and stories of torture have become commonplace. Both Sunni and Shia clerics who are in opposition to occupation are particularly prone to attacks by “Liwa il Theeb” or special Iraqi forces Wolf Brigade. They are often tortured during interrogation and some of them are found dead.
There were also several explosions and road blocks today. It took cousin an hour to get to work, which was only twenty minutes away before war. Now, he has to navigate between closed streets, check points, and those delightful concrete barriers rising up everywhere. It is especially difficult to be caught in traffic and that happens a lot lately. Baghdad has been cut up into sections and several of them may be found to be off limits immediately after an explosion or before a Puppet meeting. The least pleasant situation is to be caught in mid-day traffic, on a crowded road, in heat- waiting for next bomb to go off.
What people find particularly frustrating is fact that while Baghdad seems to be falling apart in so many ways with roads broken and pitted, buildings blasted and burnt out and residential areas often swimming in sewage, Green Zone is flourishing. The walls surrounding restricted areas housing Americans and Puppets have gotten higher- as if vying with tallest of date palms for height. The concrete reinforcements and road blocks designed to slow and impede traffic are now a part of everyday scenery- road, trees, shops, earth, sky… and ugly concrete slabs sometimes wound insidiously with barbed wire.
The price of building materials has gone up unbelievably, in spite of fact that major reconstruction has not yet begun. I assumed it was because so much of concrete and other building materials was going to reinforce restricted areas. A friend who recently got involved working with an Iraqi subcontractor who takes projects inside of Green Zone explained that it was more than that. The Green Zone, he told us, is a city in itself. He came back awed, and more than a little bit upset. He talked of designs and plans being made for everything from future US Embassy and housing complex that will surround it, to restaurants, shops, fitness centers, gasoline stations, constant electricity and water- a virtual country inside of a country with its own rules, regulations and government. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Republic of Green Zone, also known as Green Republic.
“The Americans won’t be out in less than ten years.” Is how argument often begins with friend who has entered Green Republic. “How can you say that?” Is usually my answer- and I begin to throw around numbers- 2007, 2008 maximum… Could they possibly want to be here longer? Can they afford to be here longer? At this, T. shakes his head- if you could see bases they are planning to build- if you could see what already has been built- you’d know that they are going to be here for quite a while.
The Green Zone is a source of consternation and aggravation for typical Iraqi. It makes us anxious because it symbolises heart of occupation and if fortifications and barricades are any indicator- occupation is going to be here for a long time. It is a provocation because no matter how anyone tries to explain or justify it, it is like a slap in face. It tells us that while we are citizens in our own country, our comings and goings are restricted because portions of country no longer belong to its people. They belong to people living in Green Republic.
From: http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ President Bush,you are one Son of a B*#@