Al Jazeera World

Roadtrip Iraq

From north to south, Iraqis tell of the damage wrought in the overthrow of a dictator and the chaos that has followed.

Last updated: 16 Jun 2014 14:15
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Note: This film by Feurat Alani originally aired July 31, 2013

The incidental casualties of war are the individuals who lose family, property, limbs and lives. But sometimes collateral damage can describe what has happened to an entire nation.

Ten years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq still suffers from the damage wrought in the overthrow of a dictator and the chaos that followed.

Now, as Iraq adjusts after the withdrawal of American troops, what is the new reality of everyday life? What are the daily struggles for the ordinary people of this extraordinarily diverse country?

The film asks how far Iraq’s authorities have been able to deliver justice, prosperity and the kind of security needed for any kind of normal civilian life.

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From the mainly Kurdish north, through the predominantly Sunni middle belt, and ending in the Shia-majority south, a film crew takes a roadtrip by bus, gathering stories of ordinary people as they jump on and off for their part of the journey.

Artists, warlords and widows are among those who share their sorrows, reveal their problems and describe their dreams. We discover just what the country looks like through the eyes of its war-weary sons and daughters.

We meet activists, among them Zahid Mahmoud, who sums up his perception of the state of the country:

"We didn't have freedom under Saddam's rule, but we didn't live in hunger either. Today, we do have freedom but people are starving. Most people are poor. Thousands of new graduates can't find a job. The leaders are monopolising the job market for the benefit of their entourage."

Another resident's wishes sum up the yearning of the divided country. 

"Our wish is that we get a just ruler. Someone who can reconcile our differences and listen to everyone whether Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Arab or Christian," Taha Kamel from Fallujah says. 

A dictator was taken down at a very high price to the Iraqi people. A price that it seems they will continue to pay for many years to come.

Roadtrip Iraq is crossing the country from north to south, taking the pulse of a nation that is no longer at war but neither at peace.

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