"Who's Your Baghdaddy?" Top 5 Page for this destination Baghdad by american_tourister
Baghdad Travel Guide: 116 reviews and 316 photos
Blame the Americans, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, whoever. Blame Saddam, the media, the insurgents, the Army. Go right ahead and blame them all. Hell, blame me if you need to.
The fact is the blame belongs on the world. That's right. The entire world is to blame here. Everyone wants to drive a car, have electricity, entertainment, cheap food, plastic items, etc. The world's entire economy is based on oil and if Saddam and the Dictatorship he founded had not gotten so filthy rich from selling the oil they would not have gotten so greedy.
They repressed their own people. They killed their own people. They invaded Iran. They invaded Kuwait. They tried to kill a sitting President. They were taken out but a more dangerous element that was never suspected has taken their place. We have swapped one dangerous foe for another more dangerous foe.
Baghdad is in a beautiful setting and has some wonderful people who suffer terribly. They suffer because about 25,000 zealots want it that way. They suffer because of religious intolerance. They suffer again because of greed. This time it is not about money, it is about power. It is about the power to tell someone how they must live, act, dress, worship, and think. To me that is the worst sort of dictatorship.
I have been all over the city. In 2003 we had no issues just stopping and shopping, having a Coke, and talking with ordinary citizens. It's not that way now at all. I want it to be better than that. I want to freely walk the streets. I want to be a tourist, not a conqueror.
I was in and out of here for 4 long years. I needed a break. I have left bodily but in my mind I am still there every day. The sights and sounds there will never leave me. If you have not been there you won't understand how our time there shapes our lives today.
This is me with some of my local crew. Ali, Nutty Dude, and Ali Baba. Ali is on the far left. He speaks some English and Russian. He was a student and wants to see America.
The PIB (People in Black) is Nutty Dude. His real name is Ahmed but we called him Nutty Dude because he is certifiably mad. He is so nuts that he was kicked out of the Iraqi Army! I wonder about him at times but he is a hard worker and has a sunny disposition.
The little pirate on the right is Ali Baba. He is named Jassim but we nick named him Ali Baba (The King of Thieves in 1001 Arabian Nights) the first day he got here because he is always trying to trade stuff. Trading up is one thing but this dude is outrageous. He will try and give you a postcard for a pair of shoes, or a small tacky statuette for a camera. We find him to be very entertaining.
They work for a sub contractor. There are no labor laws here to speak of and we try and treat them very well. They have remarked many times that we are the first people they have ever worked for who praise them often.
Regardless of how they look, they are great guys and I enjoy my time with them.
UPDATE - DEC 2006
Ali was killed at the entry to the BIAP by a car bomb one day while he was in line trying to get access to go to work. Nutty Dude and Jassim were warned not to come back to work and no one has seen them since 2004. I wonder about them. They were great guys. They were the normal Iraqis.
Much of the area is devastated from the wars. Don't forget that there was a terrible war fought between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s. It was a bloodletting of first magnitude.
After this was the Gulf War and now this latest war. I don't know what the historians will call it but I call it the "Foolish War" because it did not have to happen. Fools in Baghdad let it happen.
UPDATE - DEC 2006
Most of this has been cleaned up and/or repaired.
- Pros:The most exciting place in the world
- Cons:Danger at every street corner
- In a nutshell:I want to go back one day and visit in peace
To get around quickly and with the least amount of danger you have to fly. You must be in the military or be a US Army... more travel advice
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