BAGHDAD – THE CITY OF WALLS (2003-2013) / Daily life inside the bomb busted Green Zone: Part II

Figure 1 – An Iraqi boy watched as American soldiers secured the scene in the aftermath of bombing that detonated near an American Army checkpoint in one of the entrances to the Green Zone.
Image source: Saman , Moises. April 24, 2008. The New York Times, Baghdad. Accessed December 13, 2017. https://static01.nyt.com/images/2008/09/15/world/greenzone_baghdadblog.jpg.

Entering the Green Zone – For the “outsiders” who tried to enter the Green zone from the chaos of Iraq, it was disorienting at first, after queuing in the crowded, tense and long line, and underwent both body searches and identity checks, twice, people passed through the gate and entered the zone. Once entered, there were large green lawns where the office workers (who wore combat boots) spent their lunch, to picnic or to chill. There was a bus station located by the green lawns, the public buses were driven American bus drivers, which had good air conditioning. (Langewiesche, 2004)

 

Economic Aspect – The turn-over rate was quite high since most people stayed inside the Green Zone temporarily, usually just a few week or up to a few months before they moved out. There was a shortage of institutional expertise. There were some specialists involved, including both fluent Arabic speakers and a few non fluent Arabic speakers. Interestingly, regional knowledge of the zone was not the qualification requirement but a liberal arts degree or a political related degree. For the officials, they made good money, on top of that, they also had the federal salaries which they received an extra 25% bonus for living in a foreign country, and another 25% bonus for their hardship. In addition, many of them also received overtime pay. Subsequently, workers made minimum of 6-figure USD annual salaries.

 

Cultural Aspect – The colonial zone – Overtime, the cultural influence has become intensified by isolation. Fundamentally, it was the American, which was mostly bureaucratic and a bit political. Mainly formed by the small town soldiers and blue collar employees. Though, it also consisted of romantic factors of foreign adventures too, the colonial plantations with hybrid lifestyle, of the military posts in all places of the world, and of the fights just outside the gates. Such romanticism was tangible from how people dressed, many of them wore combat boots, yet, they were able to buy ordinary shoes or sandals at the streets. They also dressed in variations of “travel” outfits such as safari vests, cargo pants and bush hats etc.. People were also carrying guns and ammo around, but with no legit reason other than just style and fashion. With super tight security, the Green zone was actually believed to be safer than many towns of the America.

1 Comment on “BAGHDAD – THE CITY OF WALLS (2003-2013) / Daily life inside the bomb busted Green Zone: Part II

  1. It was an eye opening phnomanon for a regular city resident to read about. A regular city resident means stability, it was all about having a home that belongs, somewhere to return to everyday and to raise a family. For those who doesn’t own a permanent home, they move around about every 2 years according to house lease, which is substantial compare to the situation in the Green zone, where they literally comes and go, they only get like weeks of peace then have to relocated. However the people adapts, the temporary flow becomes the backbone of a permanent / semi permanent community.

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