Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Is Everything Going Wrong In Basra?

NOTE FROM FAYROUZ: This dispatch from Queen Amidala is an example of how small things can make a difference in people's lives. I've never received a happier dispatch from the Queen than this one.

By Queen Amidala,
Basra, Iraq

If you ask a Basrawi: Has there been any improvements in Basra lately?

If the answer is NO, then this person is either blind or not living in Basra. There is a very important improvement in Basra and the coalition forces are not involved in it.

The Southern Oil Company in Basra is making a great self-effort to rehabilitate the sidewalks of all the main streets in Basra. Now, the sidewalks look much cleaner than before. It makes everybody feel there's at least an improvement in our lives. We haven't had any improvement in a very long time.

It's a very important improvement. The last time we saw such a construction work on the streets was between 1988-1989 after the Iran-Iraq war stopped. Then after the first Gulf war, things became worse than ever.

I hope other companies feel the urge or jealousy to improve other aspects of our lives.

There is another improvement that almost escaped my mind. Do you remember the Cornish Street? Well, this street has suffered a lot since the Iran-Iraq war.

After the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam made it look like a graveyard by erecting statues of dead soldiers on the street. As if that war was the Basrawis' fault.

He then took the best part of this street to built his palaces. After the first Gulf War, he took rest of the street and literally gave it to his family members to build more palaces. At the time, the street became a property of his family and members of the Iraqi Mukhabrat.

After the 2003 invasion, the looters took those statues down. They sold its bronze to other looters.

Any way, the statues' bases were empty and very dirty for the past three years. Someone or some director took the initiative to reconstruct those bases into covered benches for families. They look very simple and elegant.

On Friday night, I saw many families sitting on those benches to enjoy the river view. The families seemed to enjoy the scene even though it was very crowded.

I hope we'll see more improvements in Basra. Keep your fingers crossed.

In other note, some U.K. soldiers drove their trucks over the sidewalks and destroyed a good part of them. Isn't that awful?

Please be more considerate in the future. Remember you're strangers in a strange land that doesn't welcome your presence on its soil. Try to build bridges rather than destroy them.

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