Many Iraqis struggle every day to find work, but a shortage of jobs, superimposed on a tradition of using personal connections to do business, has led to what Iraqis complain is an explosion in corruption and graft among their nation’s officials.
The war is over for now in Sahar al-Jawari’s Baghdad neighborhood, but life is still a struggle. An American soldier encourages her not to be pessimistic, but it’s hard to look on the bright side while supporting a family by selling off your jewelry.
Sectarian violence has driven millions of Iraqis from their homes. Now that the violence has abated in one formerly upscale Baghdad neighborhood, residents are returning to find squatters who refuse to leave and a government and occupying army unwilling to kick them out.
As one U.S. soldier tells Truthdig foreign correspondent Anna Badkhen, it’s not entirely a bad sign that residents of Baghdad’s Saidiyah neighborhood are complaining about their meager daily power allotment: A year earlier they were concerned about just staying alive.