Many in Baghdad Feel Angry, Hopeless
Three Weeks On, Many in Baghdad Feel Angry, Hopeless
By 0aHuda Majeed Saleh and Elizabeth Piper
Wednesday 30 April 2003
BAGHDAD - With no law and no government, the people of Baghdad feel 0aalone, afraid and angry.
Three weeks after Saddam Hussein's overthrow, many parts of the capital 0astill have no water or electricity, there are floods of sewage and only a 0atrickle of convoys have made it through with urgently needed food and medical 0asupplies.
American civilian administrator for Iraq Jay Garner told reporters on 0aWednesday that the situation was improving every day and that power had been 0arestored to about half of the city.
"There is no humanitarian crisis -- in fact the Doctors without Borders 0ahave gone home -- and there's not much infrastructure problem here, other than 0agetting the electrical grid structure back together," the retired U.S. general 0asaid.
Confused, weary citizens crowding the streets around the Palestine 0aHotel where U.S. troops and the international media are based may need more 0aconvincing. Some are seeking work, others desperately hope for word on the fate 0aof missing people.
"It has never been this bad before," said Nada Ali, as she joined a 0acrowd near the hotel. "It just seems to get worse every day. I used to have 0ahope, but I can no longer believe we will be saved. No one cares for us.
"I have four people at home and my husband was killed during fighting 0ain Basra. I have no money and I no longer know what to do," she said.
"I want to survive, but it just keeps getting harder."
As the days wear on, the shock and excitement felt over Saddam's fall 0ahave given way to gloom mixed with defiance.
CITY WITHOUT HOPE
"We can't hold out for much longer. This is a city without hope. We 0ahave nothing left," said Hashim Mohammed, a teacher.
"We did not defend Saddam because we did not want him. But if this 0asituation continues all the Iraqi people will fight the Americans," said Nizar 0aSarhan, a retired civil servant.
"The Americans do not care about us, they have got what they came for, 0athey have got oil. They will keep on delaying the installation of an interim 0agovernment," he said.
All Baghdad's government ministries and offices were looted and burned 0aexcept for the Oil Ministry building which was guarded by the U.S. forces.
"We want security and stability, they (the Americans) will bring 0adiseases, AIDS and night clubs," Sarhan added.
Young people were more ambivalent about the U.S. presence.
Amir Yassin, playing in a Baghdad pool hall, dreams of one day visiting 0aa "real pool bar" in the United States with peaceful Americans far from the "madness and murder" of Iraq.
Yassin, 27, is angry at U.S. troops for killing Iraqis -- at least 15 0awere shot dead in the western city of Falluja this week -- but he still hopes to 0atravel to America.
"They (U.S. troops) should leave our country soon, they really have 0amade too many mistakes now and will pay for them, I think. But when they go, 0athey can take me with them," he said.
In a nearby barber's shop, electrician Malik Mozal, 31, gets a 0arazor-sharp flat top cut for 750 dinars (35 cents). Redundant while the power 0astays off, Mozal holds out little hope that a new government can bring peace, 0aeven backed by U.S. force.
Politicians from across Iraq agreed earlier this week to try to form an 0ainterim government in four weeks with the help of U.S. and British advisers.
"I hope a new Iraqi government will bring security, water and 0aelectricity. But I fear it will be a return to Saddam's days. The same thing all 0aover again," he says.
"The Americans? Let them do what they will. We live with little hope," 0aMozal said.
Go 0ato Original
Garner: Americans Should Beat Chests with 0aPride
Wednesday 30 April 2003
BAGHDAD - The retired general overseeing Iraq's postwar reconstruction 0asaid on Wednesday that his fellow Americans should beat their chests with pride 0aat having toppled Saddam Hussein without destroying the country's assets.
"We ought to be beating our chests every day. We ought to look in a 0amirror and get proud and stick out our chests and suck in our bellies and say: 'Damn, we're Americans!'," Jay Garner told reporters, saying that Iraq's oil 0afields and other infrastructure survived the war almost intact.
Garner, who was speaking after talks with visiting Defense Secretary 0aDonald Rumsfeld in Baghdad, took the media to task for emphasizing anti-American 0ademonstrations and dissent in the wake of the three-week U.S. led war that 0adeposed Saddam.
His comments came after U.S. troops opened fire for the second time 0athis week on an angry crowd protesting against the U.S. presence in the town of 0aFalluja, west of Baghdad. Iraqi hospital officials said two men were killed in 0athe latest incident. At least 13 died in shooting on Monday, they said.
Garner said the war was fought in a way that prevented Saddam's forces 0afrom setting fire to its oilfields and had largely preserved Iraq's 0ainfrastructure intact:
"I was planning on the oilfields being torched, a huge humanitarian 0acrisis and a monumental reconstruction task, " he said.
"There is no humanitarian crisis ... and there's not much 0ainfrastructure problem here, other than getting the electrical grid structure 0aback together."
The situation in Baghdad was improving every day and power had been 0arestored to about half of the city, he said.
The U.S. military is increasing its presence in the Iraqi capital to 0aboost security and help in wiping out pockets of resistance from diehard Saddam 0asupporters.
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