|Iraq - victim of a dictator and a dictator-to-be|
Iraq, Iraq: one of the saddest stories of the 20th century. I spent altogether four or five days there just around the end of the shameful war between Iraq and Iran. I was sent there - accompanied with an engineer - to study the possibility to participate in the reconstruction of storage capacities of Iraq. What was the exact cause of this war that resulted in huge losses on both sides, more than a million young soldiers, absolutely innocent civilians, women and children were killed on both sides in the name of Allah, in the name of "getting back" ancient soil for Iraq, is difficult to understand. The exact size of material losses will never be known or officially published. The reason might have been the craziness of Saddam Hussein and his group, but there were probably "deeper" causes as well, that prompted the United State to back the regime of the dictator, who a few years later occupied Kuwait and whom they had to teach then and whom they recently attacked again, this time without any justifiable reason. The good friend dictator became the main enemy of the "democratic world" in the eyes of the new "regime" of the USA. Dirty politics, no doubt. How dirty it might have been, you may judge from an Italian site Iraq91, translated into Hungarian.
The trip to Iraq was terrible. We had to fly to Amman (Jordan), take a bus that crossed the desert from there via the neutral territory bordered by Jordan, Kuwait and Iraq and reached Baghdad late in the evening. (Or even next morning? I am not sure.) The bus was below normal standards, just bearable, the air-conditioning could not eliminate the heat, the stopovers were rare and ugly. I left the bus only ones during the trip, because the place we stopped at was worse than one can imagine: an absolutely dirty buffet with no service except tea in sticking cups and water in a cistern of unbearable pollution, smelling accordingly, aluminium pots of common usage, toilets filled with filth up to your ankles. Horrible!
The next horror expected us at the border of Iraq. A queue of 4-500 m was waiting for visas and/or for passport- and customs control. Somehow, with great difficulties - having been pushed to and fro - I could arrange for a separate check, but could see from a distance that the officers of the border guard were mercilessly using long whips to keep some order in the queue, in which women and children were waiting along with their husbands, fathers. I could hardly believe my eyes!
The hotel, booked by the Trade Councillor's Office was moderate, but we did not mind after the nice trip. Starting from next afternoon we met officials of two organizations, nice, competent people, speaking good English. We were told that everything would be done floating tenders, etc. Some preliminary information were also given regarding expected projects...
Baghdad seemed to be untouched by the war, the traffic was normal, the streets full of people, shops and bazaars quite well supplied both with eatables and technical goods. What I did not like was dirt and negligence. From this point of view the streets could only be compared with the Chor-Bazaar of Bombay and the escalators of underground passages (of the best possible manufacturers) were idle, filled and stopped by dirt. Otherwise the city was nice, having a lot of modern buildings, enormous monuments of Hussein, wide streets.
We were lucky, they just threw open the airport of Baghdad for limited number of passenger flights and we could leave Iraq by air. It was a fight to get through the waiting crowd but it was nothing in comparison with our arrival to Baghdad.
I always feel pity for the population of Iraq, when I recall my short staying there and think about the immeasurable sufferings they have gone through before and since then. Inhuman, terrible!
And it is a pity I could not visit any of the important historical sites, monuments of Mesopotamia. I attach a few links to web-sites on the subject. I can imagine the wonders of the National Museum of Baghdad and the beauty of the historical sites, since I have several times seen the exhibits of the Pergamon Museum of Berlin, among others the Istar Gate of Babylon.
Time is flying, the USA launched a new, ugly war against Iraq. I had to replace or remove the original links.
The Photographs Tell the Story (how was he pulled down?)
Best: Google>Pictures>Iraq War