Lots of good news from Iraq.
In the fortnight that saw the massive assault by American and Iraqi troops on Fallujah, the flare up of violence elsewhere throughout the Sunni Triangle, the execution of Margaret Hassan by her kidnappers, not to mention the controversy over a Marine shooting dead a wounded insurgent, it’s hard to believe that anything positive might have also been happening in Iraq.
Yet, fortunately, neither Fallujah nor even the Sunni Triangle are the whole of Iraq, just as violence and bloodshed are not the whole story of Iraq. Lt Col Victor Zillmer of Lindale, Texas, recently volunteered to return to Iraq as the commander of the Army Corps of Engineers in Baghdad. His impressions of the country today seems to be shared by many in Iraq outside of the media:
“As I expected, it was not a total war zone with massive explosions and burning vehicles everywhere as commonly portrayed in the press. It was typical Baghdad, only the traffic was even worse. The economy must be doing much better over here, for the streets are jammed with cars of every description, with many of them newer and better condition than when I left in May. As compared to 18 months ago when I first arrived, the traffic has increased a hundredfold.”
As the old joke goes, sometimes a cigar is just cigar. In Iraq, contrary to the impression one can often get from watching the news, for most part a car is just car, not a carbomb, and as Lt Col Zillmer says, there are a lot of them driving around. Here are some stories of Iraqis trying to, often under difficult circumstance and against great odds, journey towards a better and more normal life.
That’s just the beginning. And it reminds me of something I read on Iraq the Model earlier:
We were planning to stay in Jordan for only 4 days but with the airport being closed, we had to stay there for a longer time.
Being out of the events’ field for a week and having the media as the only source of information made me understand more why many people have a blurred vision about the situation in Iraq, I mean watching Al-Jazeera and the CNN for a relatively long time made Iraq- at certain moments-look like “hell on earth”. Fortunately I lived my whole life in Iraq and when it comes to events taking place over there I can distinguish between the truth and the lies to a certain degree but my concern is about people who have never been there because the media twist facts and exaggerate things in an unbelievable manner.
As a matter of fact, from the news I got from the media I expected to find Baghdad in a terrible condition when I return; no gasoline, no electricity, fighting at every corner and dead bodies everywhere but of course I didn’t find it this way when I returned. Actually I haven’t seen any significant difference except for losing some hours of electricity!
Sometimes a car is just a car. Something to remember; something to help keep things in perspective.