This Girl's Voice

Wednesday, June 04, 2003  

•• Salam Pax's Debut Guardian column ••

As promised, here's Baghdad Blogger Salam Pax's debut Wednesday column in the U.K. Guardian featuring his reports on life in the Iraqi capital. In the midst of a lawless city in bedlam, Salam's signature irreverence remains intact; a few choice paragraphs:

Vacancies: President needed - fluent in English, will have limited powers only. Generous bonuses." This appeared on the first page of the Ahrar newspaper. Another new weekly. Newspapers are coming out of our ears these days.

There are two questions which no one can answer: how many political parties are there now in Iraq? And how many newspapers are printed weekly?" Most of these papers are just two or four pages of party propaganda, no license or hassle. Just go print. I am thinking of getting my own: "Pax News - all the rumours, all the time".

...there was, in the middle of Baghdad, a huge parking lot where looted cars were being auctioned to be taken to the north. It took the western media three weeks to find out about that.

But the main concern of people in all Iraqi cities is still security. You hear stories about day-time robberies in streets full of people. The newest method is to bring a kid along, get him to jump into an open window and start screaming. Four thugs will follow, accusing you of trying to run the kid over, then they kick you around a bit and take the car. All the while, bystanders will be giving you the meanest looks, you child molester, you. You'll be lucky if they don't pull out a gun.

Actually, the coalition forces are coming down hard on people they catch in possession of guns. Car searches are more frequent and if they find a firearm they will cuff you, put a sack over your head and - here comes the question: and what? We still have no laws.

Salam Pax's column will appear in the Guardian every 2 weeks.

posted by voxpopgirl | 6/04/2003