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March 26, 2007

Can't Watch It

Bernard Chazelle urges us all to watch this video from the Guardian about the imminent closure of Baghdad's last orphanage.

I haven't been able to bring myself to watch it yet, so I'd be interested in hearing whether it's unbelievably hideously awful or just normally hideously awful.

Posted at March 26, 2007 11:30 AM | TrackBack

You visited that institution in BETHLEHEM, PALESTINE...the irony, the irony, the irony, the irony, the irony, the irony...

Posted by: En Ming Hee at March 26, 2007 03:19 PM

sheesh i musta watched a lot of tv this weekend, i saw fareed zakaria say this:

in 2003, the coalition provisional authority, consumed by free market ideology, shut down all of iraq's state-owned enterprises. this crippled the bulk of iraq's non-oil economy and threw hundreds of thousands of workers out onto the streets.

now, one state-owned company has been restarted: a bus factory in iskandariah, south of baghdad. hundreds of workers still in the area showed up for work, and the machines are humming busily, with no attacks.

quote: "the insurgents attack people working for the police, army, or the americans. they don't want to alienate locals trying to make ends meet," said one official working on the project.

most of the original state enterprises could be restarted soon. the problem is money. washington will not appropriate a cent to start up state-owned iraqi companies. the iraqi government has billions in oil revenues of its own, but is so dysfunctional that it cannot move a new project through the system.

a global consulting firm has reviewed iraq's state-owned enterprises and estimated that it would cost $100 million to restart all 193 of them, and employ more than 150,000 iraqis.

that's as much money as the american military will spend in iraq in the next 12 hours.

it's funny, the show's web site described that as "Investing in Iraq: Fareed discusses an important, yet unexplored, step to building stability in Iraq." oh sillies don't you know regime change includes business contracts most of all?

Posted by: hibiscus at March 26, 2007 05:20 PM

oh! poo!

*only the first and last paragraphs of that comment are me, the rest are zakaria's monologue.

Posted by: hibiscus at March 26, 2007 05:22 PM

This is a lost generation of kids who will grow up traumatized for life.

And I can almost hear it. In 25 years some of them will behave badly and Tom Friedman will pen another column entitled: "What is it with those Arabs?" And Kristof will answer in its gentle voice: "Why Muslims who live far from the ocean are genetically violent." And thus the problem will be solved.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at March 26, 2007 08:03 PM

What depresses me is that after four yeas of occupation we have not established enough civil society connections for me to have any idea how to address this as a private individual. I'd love to have somewhere to send $50 with a note that says, "Please believe that I wish this hadn't happened," but whenever I even begin to look for such avenues the results are so bleak and unpromising I don't know how to do it.

Posted by: Saheli at March 27, 2007 03:28 PM

Saheli - here is one idea:

How to Help

Very few organizations are working on getting aid to Iraqi refugees, and of those that are, many are too small or too beleaguered to accept individual donations; the Iraqi Red Crescent, for example, has suffered bombings and mass kidnappings, yet its volunteers continue to deliver aid to displaced families inside Iraq. One of the larger relief organizations working with the refugees is the Catholic group Caritas, whose caseworkers I shadowed while in Amman. Bucking the image of the Land Rover-driving aid worker, they made their rounds in an aging gray Honda, its roof eaten through by rust. They visited Iraqi doctors, engineers, and executives desperate for food, heat, or blankets to fend off the desert winter; one family told the crew they had just sold their stove to buy food. Caritas helps a few thousand families a year, but "the demand far outstrips the money available to us," says Magy Mahrous, who oversees the project. You can make a contribution at:

International Catholic Migration Commission
Citibank USA
153 East 53rd Street, 16th floor
New York, NY 10043
Account # 10100491, ABA # 21000089, Swift Code CITIUS33
To ensure that the money reaches the Iraqi program, write "Iraq-icmc" on your check.

Posted by: Susan - NC at March 27, 2007 09:48 PM

here's another one:

War Child International

and then American Friends Service Committee

Posted by: Susan - NC at March 27, 2007 09:54 PM

Thank you Susan . . .seek and ye shall find. . . .

Posted by: Saheli at March 27, 2007 10:40 PM