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Killing Baghdad

By : Omar Hadi

Being asked to write an article on Baghdad came as somewhat of a surprise to me, as although I am originally Iraqi I have not been back to Iraq in over twenty years. What memories I have of Iraq or Baghdad are not anything close to the truth today and therefore what I write is read and researched from books, articles and through the media. Although I have tried to remain detached, I cannot but condemn the regime that has catapulted the country back into the dark ages. However this article will try to serve as an introduction to the city of Baghdad past and present. It will give a very brief history of the city's traditional dwellings, and its rapid transition to a modern and densely populated urban environment. The article will examine the city from differing perspectives and seek to understand the aspirations of a city embarking on a new age - an age in which 'modernity' promises to have the answers to all problems. The study will also investigate some of the effects of war on the city and in particular the Gulf war of 1991. It will look at the scars left by allied bombing and the subsequent deterioration of life under sanctions imposed on the city. It will not try to highlight solutions, but instead pose the problems faced, and to a certain extent steer clear of the complex politics that has embroiled Iraq for much of the twentieth century.

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