The Iraq election business

As violence, poverty and corruption seem to be on the rise, Iraqis find it hard to relate to campaigning politicians.

by

    The sparks fly as the noise of the ‎metal drags along the streets. In the back streets of Baghdad the old city has come alive. The homes have seen better days, but despite the run down nature of them you can see the old architecture shine through. Balconies and wooden doors still stand proud if a little faded by age.

    At first glance, I think I'm looking at a dust covered ‎wall plant, falling from the roof of the building all the way across the front, but on closer inspection, it's electric wiring. The wiring criss-crosses the street a few feet above our heads. Pictures of the revered Imam Hussein, a key figure in Islam, gently flap in the wind. On the ground, the workers print out huge posters and weld together iron frames to hang them on.

    ‎All around this area are small shops and printers are working around the clock to distribute the party messages across Iraq. ‎

    It's always odd to see the business of an election rather than the politics. Here, in this street, famous political faces are reduced to factory work, each face on each poster piled up high in middle of street. The repetitive nature of the job is at odds with election promises of a better future printed on some of the posters.

    Image problem

    Sattar Sajjad has been sat in the street for hours now, banging and welding away in the heat of the sun. ‎For him this is just a job, like any other.

    "I do this to earn for my family. What do I care about the faces on these posters? I barely recognise them. They mean nothing to me and my life," Sajjad says.

    It's apathetic statement‎ but I've heard it across Baghdad. Iraq's politicians have, to put it gently, an image problem. The general public perception is that they are fat cats living life large whilst ordinary Iraqis suffer.

    However, change the phrasing of the question and ask would they like a return to the old days of Saddam Hussein and the answer seems to be a resounding 'no'.

    Iraqis have suffered‎ more than most and yet violence, poverty and corruption seem to be on the increase. This election, the third since American occupation, is one sign that things are better. One sign, however, most Iraqi's will tell you, isn't enough.


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