Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ice: Currency of Last Resort

In 125 degree heat, ice in Iraq is an important commodity.

With electricity reaching most homes in Baghdad for just a couple of hours each day, ice has come to represent Iraq's steady descent into a more primitive era.

BAGHDAD, July 27 — Each day before the midsummer sun rises high enough to bake blood on concrete, Baghdad’s underclass lines up outside Dickensian ice factories. With electricity reaching most homes for just a couple of hours each day, the poor hand over soiled brown dinars for what has become a symbol of Iraq’s steady descent into a more primitive era and its broken covenant with leaders, domestic and foreign.

In a capital that was once the seat of the Islamic Caliphate and a center of Arab worldliness, ice is now a currency of last resort for the poor, subject to sectarian horrors and gangland rules.

Baghdad's sectarian compartmentalization of ice is as rigid for customers as for deliverymen.

via New York Times

Photos: Johan Spanner for The New York Times


125 degree heat, no air-conditioning, trouble getting ice...Oh god, KILL ME NOW!



jurassicpork said...

The Iceman cometh... not.

You realize, of course, that the goal was never to bring Iraq into the age of modern democracy, don't you? It was all a massive lab experiment into "free markets" (see Orleans, New) that was hideously delineated by all the outsourced work freely given out like pieces of candy by Bush and Rumsfeld. Did you know that private security contractors like Blackwater actually ate up almost a third of Iraq's "reconstruction" budget?

the teach said...

It's a cryin' shame, jurassic.

AnimeFreak40K said...

Oh...this is a good one. Thanks for sending this one my way.

At first I was thinking something along the lines of "Ice Pirates" or something of that nature! XD

Ok, seriously though. What this article does not tell you, is that Baghdad (and Iraq in general) was already in a state of decline well before the US went in there and broke things. Saddam devastated the economy of Iraq by waging his war on Iran in the 80s.

Now, it does mention that in Baghdad, there are places that are without power, air conditioning and water for most of a day, well...what about those smaller cities and towns that are well away from Baghdad? Many of them have not had any of those simple "luxeries" for more than 30 years! How are these places any different?

Anyway, yeah, it sucks over is hot, it is not terribly fun, but it is not unbearable. You get used to it after awhile, and once you do, you stop taking certain things for granted.