Thursday, January 27


The latest from Riverbend:

E. and I spent the day carrying up buckets of water. The water flow is so weak, it takes about 17 minutes to fill up a 10 liter plastic pail (I was timing it). We've carried up about 10 buckets until now. The water still doesn't reach the kitchen faucets so we've managed to move the dirty dishes to the bathroom and are washing them there.

Unfortunately, the electricity situation has deteriorated. We're getting about four hours for every twenty hours in our area- I'm not quite sure what's going on in the other areas. It feels like we're almost cut off from each other.

Baghdad has been unstable these last few days. We had several explosions this last week and although the number of explosions wasn't surprising, the force of a couple of them had us wincing. There's a real fear of the coming elections and what they might bring. I don't like the idea that they've selected schools as election sites. School is out right now, but the security threat is obvious- elections sites are most likely going to be bombed. Schools are having a difficult time as it is getting things fixed and replaced, they don't need the added trauma of an explosion. It's just a bad idea.

The curfew begins at six from now on and there's also a "driving curfew" in addition to the ordinary one. I don't have the exact hours but I know that during several hours of the day, it's ok to be on foot but not ok to be in a car. I don't have the slightest idea how they're going to enforce that one.

Ghazi Al Yawir, our alleged current president, was giving an interview on LBC yesterday. Apparently, he and Allawi aren't on the same election list anymore because they had a falling out as to who should head the list. Ghazi proposed the president should be the head of the list and Allawi claimed somebody Shia (Allawi himself) should head the list. Now, Allawi's group is 285 on the election ballot and Yawir's group is 288, I think.

My favorite question during the interview was when the reporter asked him what he thought of Chalabi possibly being arrested. Ghazi looked flustered and a little bit unsure (apparently he hasn't been watching CNN while abroad). He actually told her that the person who claimed Chalabi was wanted was probably speaking his own "personal" opinion and that it wasn't representative of the 'government'- never mind the person in question was the Minister of Defense. To be perfectly fair, he didn't mention which government he was referring to- I couldn't tell if he was talking about the US, the UK or the current group of Puppets. He claimed that for Chalabi to be arrested there needed to be 'proof' he had actually done something wrong... the Interpol wanting him really wasn't enough.

It's a bit discouraging to watch the current government so uncoordinated. It's like they don't even communicate with each other. It's also somewhat disturbing to know that they can't seem to decide who is a criminal and who isn't. Isn't there some "idiots guide to being a good Vichy government"?

They say communications are going to be cut off very soon. Telephones are often cut off and the mobile network is sometimes inaccessible for days at a time but we heard there also might not be web access. Students have a mid-year vacation right now but no one is going anywhere. Almost everyone is trapped at home because the security situation is quite bad and no one wants to be caught in an area where an explosion might occur. If the bomb doesn't kill you, the Iraqi security forces or the Americans might and if no one kills you then you risk getting a bag over the head and a trip to Abu Ghraib.

There's an almost palpable anxiety in the air these last couple of weeks and it's beginning to wear on people- fuel shortages, water shortages and a lack of electricity. It's like the first days of the war all over again.


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