Thursday, March 23, 2006

BAGHDAD: Can't Escape the Iraqi Heat

Photo of a sandstorm blowing into Baghdad from Pattiea via Flickr.

I REALLY LIKE THIS QUOTE from the blog Madly in Love With Iraq, a blog authored by an Iraqi currently living in the United Kingdom. Part of it appeared in Thursday's Blog Log in Express:
When I miss home I go and sit in the steam room, the heat reminds me of the scorching summer of Baghdad and brings back all the memories, the ones I want to wipe off and the ones I want to cherish.

The heat contributed a lot to our hot temper, nervousness, anger, restlessness and finally the uniquely genuine warmth.

What this country has been through is unique as well. Fear, scepticism, aggression and defeat are all built in inside our souls.
My longtime friend, David Enders (who I know from way back in Sunday school and more recently The Michigan Daily) has told me much about the heat in Baghdad from his various experiences in Iraq as a gutsy freelance reporter. So I'm going to pull some quotes about Iraq's heat from Enders' book "Baghdad Bulletin," which chronicles his experiences starting Baghdad's first post-invasion English-language publication, that folded after a few months as the violence began to intensify through the late summer and into the fall of 2003.

BAGHDAD, July 5, 2003, after 24-year-old novice reporter Richard Wild was shot and killed outside the natural history museum:
Sleeping on the roof ensures that I never sleep in. As the sun creeps over the low roof wall, it hits my face in a slow burn, impossible to sleep through. For some reason there are always flies in the morning as well, and though covering my face with my sheet staves them off, it soon becomes stifling.
BASRA, Aug. 22, 2003:
Everyone knows I need a vacation. The bombing seems to be a good enough justification, but I'm not really sure Basra is the best place for a break. Rumor has it that the temperature here tops 70 degrees Celsius, but no one seems to have a thermometer. They don't go out during the day, and when I make the mistake of running outside barefoot to answer the satphone one afternoon, I have to doubletime it back into the house to save my feet from the burning tile. The heat melts doorknobs.


"I thought all Americans loved pornography."
"But aren't most porno movies made in America?"
"That might be true, but that doesn't mean everyone watches them.
To be fair, I thought it was the Iraqis who were obsessed with porn. Their ubiquitous satellite dishes largely decode adult stations and a few news channels. In fact, were it not for the pacifying effect of all that televised flesh during the hot summer, popular armed resistance might have begun much sooner.
So does that mean the next American tactic to secure peace in Iraq is to flood the country with pornography? I think that'd probably enflame situations more. We'll see if the violence dies down in July and August when the heat is at its worst. (Dave, be well. I know you're being careful over there right now, but be careful.)

>> "Is It Really a Teething Problem" [Madly in Love With Iraq]
>> "Murder at the Museum" [Guardian]
>> "Baghdad Bulletin" [University of Michigan Press]


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