Our liberation gift

More than four years since the US invasion of Iraq, local bloggers there have been writing about the experience. After five months of self-imposed exile in her home, Baghdad’s Chikitita re-connects with her city:

I am not an organized kind of person, but since I have not been out in the street in over five months I thought that I’d better make some inquiries to see how life has changed outside the house walls. To my surprise, it turned out that buses no longer pass by my once safe neighbourhood. It has even earned “The Frontline” label based on the fact that it has been teeming with cannibals lately who seemed to have been craving for bus drivers and commuters.

First steps on the main street only corroborated the spooky rumours. I found myself alone in a long deserted street; apart from a few civilian cars, ING convoys and a couple of mangy cats not a soul was there.

For starters, I was thrilled at the thought of walking in the streets, not knowing I’d feel like a tourist. A Tsunami has hit the area and nobody bothered to tell me. I could not recognize the new décor; what’s that charred bus doing there? When did all those shops blow up? I’m running out of pens and notebooks and the only shop that sells stationery has been razed! Only now I could match the sounds I’ve been hearing with the pictures.

I could have taken a cab, but I just missed buses, commuters, smelly fags, the congestion, everything. I was so looking forward to this long-awaited reunion. It was as emotional as I expected, they have changed 180 degrees sadly to the worse. The atmosphere inside was so eerie; passengers are no longer exchanging chitchats as they used to do, not even smiles – except for the woman who passed my fare to the driver. People are no longer discussing politics, particularly the elderly men, whose views and suggestions have always amazed me; I could sense the apprehension and mutual mistrust, no one wants to venture be outspoken about anything or anyone that bugs them. I thought national mourning has been declared; none of the half a dozen vehicles I rode had a radio playing.

Another Iraqi blogger simply doesn’t believe the American people want the war to end.

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