A view on the security situation in Baghdad
I thought I’d take Arianna Huffington’s advice and point you to someone claiming to be giving the facts on the ground in Iraq.
Dr Mohammed blogs at Last of Iraqis. He’s been blogging about his life as a dentist in the Iraqi capital for some time now and has contributed to the BBC’s iPM radio programme.
He says people are often asking him what life is like in Baghdad, and, in a post he put up a couple of days ago, he tries to assess the current situation:
“Things got better! That’s right; it got better but is it good yet or close to being good? No it’s not…Is it close to normal, is there a hope for such thing? No it’s far way from being normal and I can’t see hope for such thing at least not in the 10 coming years…Is it violent? Yes it is…”
Dr Mohammed suggests that Adhamiya, a suburb in Baghdad, has improved but notes that the baseline for comparisons is a time he describes as “living hell”:
“The worst period was between late 2006 to middle 2007; it was the bloodiest times for Iraqis so when comparing to those times the situation is less violent but please don’t forget that at that time Baghdad was like a living hell, it feels like hell has broken looseâ€¦at those times when someone goes out of his home his family should consider he might not come back again but now his family can expect him to come backâ€¦Baghdad is still violent, there is a large count of daily civilians casualties, unidentified dead bodies, road side bombs, explosive cars, kidnapping and criminal acts”.
Iraq is not an easy story for the media to report – long, complicated, inconclusive, difficult to access and costly, both financially and in terms of human lives. Dr Mohammed clearly has an understanding of some of the problems facing the mainstream media acknowledging that “they don’t have the means to cover everything”.
He recognises that news organisations also have business considerations: “most of the people of the world are sick of hearing about Iraq and the disasters and death.” The media “need viewers to keep their business going on so they have to give what the viewer wants,” he says.
But it’s these failings in the media coverage of Iraq that provide the motivation for the reporting Dr Mohammed does on his blog. From his frustration comes the desire to give us a series of eyewitness of accounts. It’s well worth reading the full post and tracking the blog.