Baghdad First Impressions

Almutanabbi Statue

May 15, 2014

The Emirates Airbus A330 airplane flight EK941 began its descent into Baghdad International Airport around 9:15 am local time on Wednesday. Looking outside my window I saw the familiar city pattern of an agricultural belt around the outskirts of Baghdad. From my birds-eye view I noticed that the earth beneath me looked fairly beige. There was not a lot of green. Google earth images checked out.

Baghdad looks like a third-world city under occupation. There were no less than five checkpoints on the way to my cousin’s house from the airport with varying degrees of control and inspection. There were also military and police vehicles patrolling the streets or set-up in observation posts around parts of the city. Despite this, the day I landed there was a carbombing within 1km of my cousin’s house. The next day there were three bombings around Baghdad. The people here have long grown used to the daily carnage. Within a couple of hours the affected areas are cleaned up, the bodies are removed, and the people return to their daily lives as if nothing happened. It is surreal to say the least!

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