Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cholera's phobia in Baghdad

Me and my wife were staying up late watching movies few days ago , I wanted to make us some tea , I went to the kitchen and I was filling the kettle from the tap water , and I don't know why I felt uncomfortable with the water , I decided to fill a glass cup so I can see the water.
What a shock , I immediately brought the camera and took the picture and video . is this drinking water or is it rice water? what are those floating things? I know about the cholera , I know it might be epidemic in Baghdad but I'll be so lucky if this water only contains cholera bacteria! how could they give us this water , why should I respect or obey or even recognize my government they are not providing us with electricity , water and even security, each Iraqi house should be a country and have a flag and it's own government , I depend on my self on electricity , water and even security , what a farce.

Not every day the water is like this , but even if it's color is clear , that doesn't mean that it's clean and suitable for drinking , Bacteria are colorless !

Next day I talked to my friends in the clinic about the water and they said that it was the same in their houses . that means all Baghdad or most of it was supplied with this liquid that I can't name it "water" , one of my colleagues said that he drank it , what could i do ? as he said.

that's when I decided to do something , something should be done to stope the cholera in Baghdad.

I decided to use the donation money to buy cholera vaccine (Dukoral) , water filters and clean drinking water for me , my wife , my friends in the clinic and my neighbors , of course that depends on the amount of donations , I'll start with us and then to the friends and neighbours because the vaccine isn't cheap it costs about 95$ without the shipment fees from the site of abc online pharmacy , I will look if I it's available in Jordan then I'll ask my relatives there to buy it and send it to me.

Now I buy mineral water for my wife because she had an infection in her stomach few months ago because of the water as the doctor said , she has a weak stomach , but for me I still drink from the tap water.
I don't want to see any of the people I know suffering from cholera or any other disease because of the water they drink , as I have mentioned in earlier posts that 5 000 cases of cholera has been reported in northern Iraq. When I hear about people die because of the violence and explosions I can't stop the violence , but I can try to stop the cholera infections , at least I want to try.
Cholera in Baghdad has been confirmed , and what I was afraid of since I got back to Baghdad has happened.2 cases of cholera in Baghdad and one in Basra, and by the way the count of cases in Iraq is about 24 532 cases of cholera now as the latest WHO report say , and the poor government doesn't have chlorine!! that's what they said , my sick government said that the chlorine has dried up this year because the terrorists used it in their attacks!!! did the terrorists took the chlorine from the government? what are they talking about? it's the life of thousands and they lie! Iraqis got used to be killed by an explosion or an assassination or even die in the sick government's jails , but they are not used to die of cholera's diarrhea!
I will not accept to die like this . dehydrate and die! what a sad way to die.
The government's allegation about being irresponsible about the cholera in Baghdad is that the terrorists used the chlorine in their explosions and that the trucks that caries the cholera are waiting at the borders.
It's true that the terrorists used the chlorine in some explosions at the beginning of this year , but did they take it from the government? why do the government talk about it then? let's say that they did take it from the government and the government is connived with the insurgents , the number of chlorine attacks wasn't that much to deplete all the chlorine in Iraq.
If the trucks that carries the chlorine is waiting at the borders , why don't you let them in , aren't they carrying chlorine for you?they are carrying about 100 000 tons of chlorine can't you control where will they go , can't you take it and hold it somewhere safe and use it to save the Iraqis from the disaster?
I noticed that many detergents and cleansing agents is missing from the market because it contains chlorine , that was about 3 weeks ago because I wanted to use some of them to purify water , they say that the government has prevented their import.
They didn't let the chlorine in and they will not , in order to prevent the terrorists from attacking with chlorine , but for them it's OK if the cholera attacked Iraqis , because the sick twisted government wants to look good to the rest of the world with reduced insurgents attacks and to the hell with the Iraqi people , let them die.


LJM said...

Excellent blog post, Mohammed. I admire your wanting to get the cholera vaccine for as many people as you can and to find a way to have clean water. BTW, I really enjoyed being able to see that video, even if the water looks disgusting:)

LJM said...

Oh, and filter the water through a white t-shirt, coffee fliter or sock, something to catch the particles. Try to use white so you can see when it's dirty water. Then be sure to boil the water 10 minutes. There are other ways to purify it using chlorine. These instructions are available from WHO and other places if you google for them online.

Mohammed said...

thank you very much for those ideas , I know about these things , but the water's taste will change , and I believe it's hard to drink water that has a taste and the procedure is not convenient to use it every day , with the all the water you use ; for drinking , washing veg. & fruits and cooking , you know it's a long procedure somehow. and by the way it's very hard to find chlorine these days in Baghdad because of the terrorism attacks.

LJM said...

When I was in Armenia, I had to boil my drinking water. I had the runs the entire time I was there. Can you get something like Imodium there? It's sold over the counter generic here and it's cheap. It helps to stop them. I always boiled a big pot of water and stored it in a glass jar. All the food I ate was pretty much cooked long enough to kill bacteria and such. Still, when I got back to the US, I had to take a round of CIPRO to get rid of whatever I'd picked up there. CIPRO is a very strong antibiotic, as you probably know. During the time I was in Armenia, with the power shortage (two hours of electricity a day) with the water pumps in the building reliant on electricity, we had the same sort of problems, even though the water looked clean. As for the taste, I always had to drink it as tea, hot or cold or add a flavor packet to it, like kids drink that tastes like juice.

neurotic_wife said...

LOI, thats awful. I know quite a few people here at work who suffered from the water. And when I say suffered, I mean they had severe stomach problems. But there are tablets btw, I forgot what they are, they tend to purify the water. Once I find out I will let you know. Excellent post btw. You need to tell the people outside whats really going on in Iraq.

Take care and keep up the good work...

Mark said...

Hi Mohammed,

The constant struggle every day to continue to stay in the city while undergoing these outrageous deprivations is a great example of the Iraqi spirit.

If I had to live in those conditions under an occupation, while hearing officials say how much better things are getting, I would have the same anger as you. How do they expect people to remain and do their work to improve the cities and the country in the 21st Century when the services are those of a small town in the 19th Century?

It would probably drive me crazy, which is why I admire your strength. We in America are told to think only of the successes of the US occupation, but your experiences with everyday life reveal darker aspects of the glorious liberation of Iraq. Keep writing, my man!

Mohammed said...

thank you mark for these kind words , words like these keeps me going.thank you for the encourgment.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...


Here is another method to sterilize the water.

H/T to David in BT's comment's section.

i'm no johnny said...

i hope one day,iraq will be a free again...:)

Paul W. Davis said...


Are you paying for the water? If you are I can understand your disgust. If you are not, then you are fortunate. I live in America and I have had to pay for water that ran black as coal tar. I ended up buying a filter for the house and a pressure regulator. My drinking water is still double-filtered as they get it from a lake and it is nasty every time the lake turns (twice a year). I can empathize with you, nasty water is no fun at all. However, having bad water is not a reason to blame the government. Our government in America is supposed to work quite well, but they botch things up continually.

The only way Iraq is ever going to get things going again is if the citizens themselves work towards solving the problems instead of waiting on the government or the Americans. Personally, I wouldn't wait on someone else to solve my problems -- particularly the government (any government for that matter). And, although the U.S. Military generally functions better that the civilians in government, they still can make quite a mess of things simply because they have other priorities than making the water potable. Not only that, people are still people, and they make some tremendous mistakes, despite their best efforts.

By all means, hang in there and don't give up. If you do, what hope does your country have?

Indigo said...

@paul w davis, but there is no risk of your "nasty" water giving you cholera. Iraqis do run that risk.

I assume that you have only recently started reading Iraqi blogs, otherwise you would know that Iraqis who try to "solve their problems" put themselves and their families in great danger. Anyway, an occupying power has a duty in law to protect civilians - something that the US has spectacularly failed to do in Iraq.

LJM said...


In the US, water is very local in who handles the water treatment. It's not the US government. There are people here who still use sisterns and well water. I actually know people who grew up here without indoor plumbing. There are many Americans here who don't like to rely on government. It's part of the independent streak (John Wayne and all that) existing here. Most of the people who feel this way tend to be libertarian in politics. Other than water, all utilities in the US are private companies. They used to be well regulated, but that's a thing of the past.
I agree about the US having a repsonsibility to the Iraqis to make sure there country is stable so they can solve these problems. It's really too bad there are thugs in Iraq who blow up pipelines and interfere with the reconstruction, including water treatment plants.

fjb said...

I can't imagine having to live like this, day in and day out. I had to boil my water for 2 weeks last winter when the line from the well to the house developed a crack. The water had a brown tinge with particles in it, but nothing like this. You and your wife have an amazing inner strength, and I admire you.

Indigo said...

New Military Report Acknowledges Signs of Police State in Baghdad, Huffington Post, 18 Sept 2007

Virtually ignored in last week's national debate on the US military surge was a report by military experts recommending that the Iraqi police service be scrapped because of its brutal sectarian character. The scathing report stopped short of acknowledging that continuing US support for the Iraqi Security Forces is in violation of the 1997 Leahy Amendment barring assistance to known human rights violators. ... The new report thoroughly documents the violence, ethnic hatred, and lack of transparency surrounding the Iraq Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for some 300,000 police, national police, and border enforcement services, many of them tied to the Shi'a militias of the Badr Brigade, the paramiitary arm of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq [SCIRI] which the Americans empowered after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Four and a half years after the invasion - and a war that has lasted longer that WWI - and two years after a Petraeus' subordinate, Col. Theodore Westhusing, wrote in a suicide note, "I cannot support a [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuses, and liars...I don't know who to trust anymore." Newsweek, Aug. 20-27

On March 22, 2006, President Bush declared that "as they stand up, we'll stand down." The problem is not that the Iraqi security forces need more training, the problem is that they are standing up - as a hydra-headed Frankenstein.

The comments are interesting, too.

Anonymous said...

^Huffington post considers al-Sadr an 'anti-war protester'.
It's a horrible source, I would suggest you not use it if you wish to maintain credibility.

LJM said...

Well, as Mohammed pointed out to me about Reuters, it's always good to have multiple sources on any story to be able to read between the lines and get a more objective perspective.

mirdifderya said...

Great Blog Mohammed!:)

Is the water is getting clearer after few seconds then Water might be coming very fresh, sometime used to happen in Turkey as well. But our water in the south of Turkey is definetly drinkable!

Otherwise is there anyplace that you can take the water for test?

Mohammed said...

Thank you very much. but no it doesn't get any clearer , that's why I took the video.
Sure there are some privates labs that runs tests , but why would I do that ? I know it's undrinkable.every one can see that.

That's so true , you should make your own perception by hearing from all the sides , that's what I think , because only then you would be able to read between the lines as you said.

Is this really what they say ; Al-sadir is an anti-war protester , I can't believe that any one in the world is thinking like this.

Thank you very much.

Indigo said...

At today's press conference, a reporter asked President Bush, Why is Blackwater above the law?

Bush replied that hadn't talked to Iraqis yet, will talk to them next week, needs to know what happened, added "Blackwater is under rules of engagement" - that is thought to be a lie. By definition, mercenaries do not sign up to be bound by rules of engagement.

He referred to the 9/11 terrorists as "19 kids" and said, "Mandela's dead because Saddam killed all the Mandelas." That will be news to Nelson Mandela, still alive.

And none of the gutless news corps called him out on his nonsense.

Indigo said...

You can watch Dubya being incoherent at the link on this page

Bush inartfully suggests Saddam killed Mandela Think Progress, 20 Sept 2007

Here is what, prophetically, Nelson Mandela said before the 2003 invasion,

Former South African president Nelson Mandela has criticised US President George W Bush over Iraq, saying the sole reason for a possible US-led attack would be to gain control of Iraqi oil.

The US stance on Iraq is "arrogant" and would cause "a holocaust" ... He also said UK Prime Minister Tony Blair - who supports Washington over Iraq - was in fact the "US foreign minister". ...

"Why does the United States behave so arrogantly?" Mr Mandela asked.

"Their friend Israel has got weapons of mass destruction but because it's their ally they won't ask the United Nations to get rid of them.

"They just want the oil," Mr Mandela went on. "We must expose this as much as possible."

Nelson Mandela called Mr Bush "a president who can't think properly and wants to plunge the world into holocaust".

And so it came to pass.

LJM said...

The New York Times is reporting one case of cholera in Baghdad, with perhaps two others still not confirmed to be cholera. There is also one case in Basra. The government minister in charge of water for the country says there's a national shortage of chlorine due to the use of chlorine in bombings earlier in the year. WHO says response teams in neighborhoods in Baghdad may have to deal with the problem where they are instead of one centralized location, due to security reasons. That makes sense to me. The main thing is that all the neighborhoods receive the necessary supplies and it's not handled along ethnic lines as medical care seems to be going there now. One thing the US military is very good at is setting up field medical clinics and hospitals. If Iraqis could stop killing each other and allow a humanitarian mission to set up these clinics in the neighborhoods with supplies being permitted to be distributed, that would be a universal act of compassion on the part of all Iraqis regardless of sect. It would be similar to the celebration of the Iraq soccer team win.

Anonymous said...

Is this really what they say ; Al-sadir is an anti-war protester , I can't believe that any one in the world is thinking like this.

My mistake; they actually consider al-Mutlaq a 'peace advocate'. Mutlaq may be better than al-Sadr, but a peace advocate he is not.

Well, as Mohammed pointed out to me about Reuters, it's always good to have multiple sources on any story to be able to read between the lines and get a more objective perspective.

Yes, multiple reliable sources...

Indigo said...

ljk, September 21, 2007 4:34 AM, One thing the US military is very good at is setting up field medical clinics and hospitals. If Iraqis could stop killing each other and allow a humanitarian mission to set up these clinics in the neighborhoods with supplies being permitted to be distributed

You are omitting an important part of the equation. The "San Salvador option" - the non-Iraqis and Iraqis being paid to kill Iraqis. Anyway, the experience of other countries shows that the terrorists will do whatever they consider necessary to commandeer all the anti-cholera medical supplies (ie make sure that their fighters are fit to continue fighting); and the illegal occupying power will attempt to bargain with anti-cholera supplies - there is no way that the US is going to be HUMANITARIAN about this (ie distribute on basis of need) - they have not to this date, why start now? Dear me, no, if an ordinary civilian wants US-supplied anti-cholera medication, he will be made to "do something" for it.

Come on, remember the people queuing for work with the Merkans who got blown up, because the occupiers could not be bothered to protect them? People queuing at US run field hospitals will get blown up.

America has broken Iraq, quite deliberately. Nothing matters to Dubya and Cheney except the OIL.

Iraqis have got to look out for themselves.

Indigo said...

UK soldier's Iraq video diary - A British soldier who served in Iraq has made a film for the BBC documenting his time there. It is the first time a reservist has produced a diary of this kind. Private Joshua Fortune, 22, was posted to Basra, as part of Operation Telic, in October 2005.

Iraqis are quite an amazing people. One of the things that struck me was the discipline that they have. I'd have difficulties waking up in the morning, but whenever I was awake, they were already out there, done their prayers and they were working for the day.

Links to short clips (Real Player format and Windows Media Player format) from the documentary film.

Indigo said...

Basra Diary will be shown for the first time on

Saturday 22 September 2007
on BBC News 24
at 05.30BST

or you can watch it in full online from 05.30BST/06.30GMT.

LJM said...

indigo, the WHO idea of having neighborhood run operations is precisely due to the security issues. The main thing, obviously that has to happen is for the water in Baghdad to be chlorinated. I understand chlorine is on the way for this purpose, but has been held up at the border with Jordan. I take issue with what you are saying about the US military medical teams, which include all the medics. I worked at a MEDDAC in Germany. It's not in anybodies interest to not permit what is needed to help with a cholera situation from getting where it needs to go. The only ones who might block this are the ones you mentioned being paid to block it. That's why this has to be handled at the neighborhood level, where the neighborhood watch groups (security) can do what they can to keep these paid guys out of their neighborhoods. There are no perfect solutions.

Anonymous said...

Oh how convenient!! "The terrorists have used all the supplies of chlorine....". So why isn't the Iraqi Government getting some more for their own people? Don't they realise they are supposed to have a responsibiility for their people??

I think you will find the US Government has issued instructions to the Iraqi Government that they are NOT to tackle the cholera problem at all.

Bush and his Government quite frankly would welcome a raging contagion of cholera in Iraq.

soosoo said...

oh my god
3 cholera cases reached our city!!
god bless us and bless all poor people who has nothing in their hands to do.

Indigo said...

Slapped wrist for Blackwater and then they carry on. Why am I not surprised? With how much was Al Maliki's palm greased? US tax dollars at work.

The US security firm Blackwater has resumed limited operations in the Iraqi capital Baghdad four days after a deadly shootout involving the company.

Blackwater can call in their own attack helicopters when they want to commit a criminal act.

Tell me again how Iraq is a sovereign country.

LJM said...

OK, look, Americans don't want to see "a raging cholera epidemic" in Iraq. People in Iraq have got to join with the neighbors they know and trust to work on this situation. For starters, filter your water through a coffee filter, t-shirt, sock (clean clothes of course) and let the particles of sand or whatever get sifted out of the water. Then boil a pot of water for 10 full minutes to kill the bacteria that might be in the water. Keep it in a clean jar for drinking. Don't eat raw foods. Cook your vegetables and perhaps even fruit. Neighbors with sources of power just have to help other neighbors to have their cleansed water. As for the illness, not everybody gets deathly sick from it. There are generic antibiotics that kill the bacteria if someone gets sick. The chief one is tetracycline, which is a really old one and should be cheap. The World Health Organization has information about all of this through their website. Try Googling for treating cholera and water purification to get all sorts of information on what to do. If you can get the hand sanitizer that doesn't require water, be sure to keep your hands clean and of course the same for everyone in your family. Iraq has been through too much to let a waterborne infection get the better of you. There have been other times when cholera has happened in Iraq since 2003 (an probably before) and Iraq has managed. Pull together like you did for the celebration of the win of your soccer team.

Indigo said...

Currency news.


The UK pound = 2.02 US dollars

The Canadian dollar reached one-to-one parity with the US currency for the first time in 31 years.

The euro reached as much as $1.4099 in Thursday trading, its highest level since the single European currency was launched.

LJM said...

Brits, Canadians and Germans will winter in Florida and their money will go far. Canadians living on the border will come to the US to buy gasoline and shop. Americans will stay home and try to find domestic products to buy. The price of food and fuel (even domestic) is high and going higher. We have a big credit crunch from all the borrowing here. The cost of the war in Iraq will be in the trillions of dollars. Future generations will be paying for it for a long time to come. If you're having shadenfreude over the falling dollar, indigo, thats ok with me. When I was a kid the US dollar and the Canadian were one to one. It took $5 to buy one British pound.

Indigo said...

It is not schadenfreude, ljm - I am just sounding an alarm.

Mohammed said...

Sure nothing will put me down , I'll continue to live and continue to struggle whatever the circumstances are , I'll be stronger , I will never give up , but you know the situations outside the home is dangerous enough , I want to be safe in my home, now even the water is dangerous , everything in Iraq is dangerous , but be sure nothing will put me down , thank god the tetracyclin is cheap and affordable but my wish was to get vaccines for the people I know , but the donations are enough for one and a half vaccine so I'm buying mineral water now , you know it's expensive if you depend on it completely , I'll try to boil water from tommorow , I wish it will not taste as bad as it was in the gulf war , I remember it was so nasty.
LJM and Indigo take it easy both of you are my friends , cool down.

LJM said...

Well there's always more than one way of looking at economics. When the dollar is lower to other currencies, it helps our trade deficit, which is huge. As for the general US population, whatever benefited the rich in terms of the dollar during the Bush years, didn't trickle down to the rest of us. Some segments of the population have experienced hard times all these years. I've been expecting a recession for a long time. You only have to look at New Orleans to see that the government hasn't had a focus on spending on regular Americans. We've been reliving the Herbert Hoover years. There are also comparisons to the "gilded age." Bush has done great damage to the middle class in the US. I recall Britain going through something similar in the Thatcher years.

LJM said...

I know you and your wife will find a way to cope with this siutation. Like you said, tetracycline is cheap and if you can buy bottled water to drink and boil water, eating really very well cooked foods, you're ahead of the curve.

People need to do better with the donation button to make it possible for Mohammed and his wife to have what they need to prevent a problem with waterborne infection and help all the neighbors they can.

LJM said...

I hope the appropriate officials in Iraq will tell the World Health Organization to send the antibiotics and medical supplies they are will ing to send to Iraq to help with the cholera outbreak. It sure seems like a no brainer that Iraq can use antibiotics and medical supplies. I hope they can send the water purification tablets people need there to purify their water. Not everyone in Iraq has access to boil water and purification is imperative. Each neighborhood in Baghdad needs to have their own field clinic where they can go to be educated and get the supplies they need from people who are their neighbors and are trusted. There must be doctor's offices or even dental clinics that exist in each neighborhood, even pharmacies, to become a temporary clinic for people to get information and supplies.

Indigo said...

@mohammed, LJM and Indigo take it easy both of you are my friends , cool down.

It's OK, I can tell from what LJM says that he is extremely knowledgeable, sophisticated and exceptionally good-hearted; and I respect him. It is just that we are both, I think, anxious for you and your wife.

Indigo said...

Iraqi cholera outbreak spreads to Baghdad, Kim Sengupta in Baghdad, Independent 22 Sept 2007

An outbreak of cholera in Iraq, which has so far infected 1,500 people, has now reached Baghdad, the World Health Organisation reported yesterday. ...

Fadela Chaib, a spokeswoman for the WHO, said: "The first case of cholera confirmed in Baghdad was two days ago. A 25-year-old woman had contracted the disease. For the time being we have only one case. It is likely others will be identified. The most important thing for Baghdad, even if it is difficult, is to strengthen the disease surveillance system, to be able to identify all the suspected cases and to know what we need in terms of oral rehydration salts, intravenous fluids and antibiotics so we can be ready when we see more cases."

Dr Ali Jassem Mohammed, an Iraqi public health specialist, said: "There are now about six million people living in Baghdad. Many have fled the city and the country because of the violence, but others have come in for surrounding areas. Many of them have very poor standard of living and of hygiene, so we are facing a highly risky situation." ...

A report by Oxfam and the NGO Co-Ordination Committee In Iraq (NCCI) warned recently that 70 per cent of Iraq's population did not have adequate water supplies and only 20 per cent had access to effective sanitation.

The report also says that WHO is working with the Iraq government to avert an epidemic. Not holding my breath for anything competent being done by the Iraq government. Will Blackwater protect deliveries of rehydration salts, antibiotics, etc? I doubt it.

Please contribute to Mohammed's PayPal account, people - the Iraqis themselves, not the government, know best how to make stuff work on the ground.

Mohammed said...

I'm ready and I love to contribute and be part of these neighborhoods clinics if they were realted to a humanitarian organization or the WHO or anything else , as long as they are not related to the government , because if they are; then it will have shortage in supplies and corruption .....etc

LJM said...

That's the spirit, Mohammed, each neighborhood needs their own locally run NGO with support from WHO or Oxfam or someone who could just send you an e-mail to sort out how to send supplies.

Indigo said...

Sweden is no longer a haven for Iraq's refugees, Houston Chronicle, 22 Sept 2007

Nearly 9,000 Iraqis requested asylum last year alone, Swedish officials said, and roughly 20,000 are expected to enter the country seeking protection this year.

By contrast, America has allowed far fewer Iraqis into the country. Just 68 Iraqis entered the U.S. legally between October and June as refugees, State Department officials said Friday. A total of 1,135 have found haven in this country since the start of the Iraq war in 2003.

The arrival of so many refugees in Sweden has changed its society, which used to be largely homogenous, and given rise to an anti-immigrant political party, called Sweden Democrats. The government has endorsed the stricter policy. Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said earlier this month that Iraqis will no longer automatically qualify for asylum despite the fighting.

Mohammed said...

Sweeden used to be Iraqis gold treasure and the only hope , If it was a bit cheaper I bet you will see half of all the Iraqis there.It's a sad thing that it will not accept Iraqis anymore.But I heard that sectarian violence and hatred started to appear between Iraqis there.

Indigo said...

Possibly of interest to Mohammed and Zeyad (cross-posted to Healing Iraq).

British medical staff see an advance screening of Michael Moore's "Sicko". Guardian 24 Sept 2007

Here are some of their comments (more in the article):

'The NHS system where you pay £6.65 for virtually any drug is pretty amazing' Muna Ahmed, 32, clinical genetics specialist

'I don't know how American doctors can work in a system that means they have to turn people away' Haseena Iqbal, 30, GP (general practitioner doctor)

'I really had no idea that US patients can just get kicked out of hospital, put in a taxi and dumped on the street' Shazia Jalali, 29, GP

'Especially in emergency situations, the NHS is really good. Kids are generally well looked after too' Stephen Whyte, 22, hospital pharmacist

'Thank God for the NHS. Thank God the NHS didn't go the American way' Ehsan Khondaker, 33, GP

'Moore proves something that should be self-evident, that healthcare should be free, and is one of the basic pillars of a decent society' Nikos Gorgoraptis, 26, junior doctor

'I was thinking that all the way through the film. It's just so wrong. America is supposed to be the world's greatest democracy, but what's happening is completely undemocratic. The NHS has got its problems but, my God, it's one of the best things in the world.' Brian Belle-Fortune, 46, student nurse tutor

You will notice how many of the names here are from other countries. ("Sicko" goes on general release in the UK on 26 October.)

Marcus said...

Muhammed and Indigo

I don't fully recognize my country, Sweden, from your posts. From Indigos article:

"The arrival of so many refugees in Sweden has changed its society, which used to be largely homogenous, and given rise to an anti-immigrant political party, called Sweden Democrats. The government has endorsed the stricter policy."

Actually our society was very mixed even before the war in Iraq. Iraqis are becoming one of the biggest groups of immigrants but are not yet close to the group from former Yugoslavia. So it's not like we had a homogenous society before and this changed when Iraqis came. The Sweden Democrats were a political force locally before any Iraqis were showing up, although they have never yet reached 4% in a national election which is required for them to reach the parliament. Most swedes recognise them as a right wing semi-nazi bunch of wackos. But undoubtedly there are those that are attracted by their anti-immigrattion stance. The bigger risk is that some of the more mainstream political parties will start flirting with such sentiments as seen before in many countries in Europe. This is not directed at Iraqis but against immigrants in general.

Mohammed, you write that "I heard that sectarian violence and hatred started to appear between Iraqis there". I have never heard about this. It's not been in any of our newspapers here. If there has been sectarian hatred here it has not led to any serious violence or it would have been big news that I would have heard of.

No, I think the reason behind this new policy is that the government is starting to fear that the country will not be able to handle a greater influx. 20.000 are estimated to arrive this year and there is experience from before (Balkan) that this will end up meaning 100.000 once all relatives have been brought here eventually. Some will find jobs but many will live on welfare, which is costly. So, I'm sorry to say that this decision is an economic and protectionist decision to steer away from what some see as an intolerable strain on our own communities. It has nothing to do with Iraq being "safe enough" which is just a pathetic excuse. It has nothing to do with the behavior of Iraqis who have reached Sweden already. It has to do with our own welfare system and the numbers it can handle.

Mohammed said...

Thank you very much for this information.
You are Sweedish and you know about Sweeden better than me , but I heard rumors that sectarian hatred is beginning to appear between Iraqis , it's not necessary that it's something big and it might be a rumor , but this is what the Iraqis here in Baghdad are talking about.
Thank you again for the information.

Indigo said...

A Pentagon group has encouraged some U.S. military snipers in Iraq to target suspected insurgents by scattering pieces of "bait," such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition, and then killing Iraqis who pick up the items, according to military court documents. Washington Post, 24 Sept 2007

So, dear Iraqis, don't pick up stuff on the ground - even if your intention was to drop it in the drain or a bin, so that terrorists would not see it and use it - the Pentagon can't imagine anyone being that socially responsible. And they don't bother with "innocent until proved guilty". The criminal invaders just shoot to kill.

LJM said...

I just read an article about teachers in Iraq now boiling water for their students at school and sending home information to do the same at home to parents. The article says the teachers have noticed a reduction in the number of kids missing school, because of diarrhea. Bravo to the teachers in Iraq for taking it upon themselves to make a difference.

Anonymous said...

"I don't fully recognize my country, Sweden, from your posts."

Welcome to my world, Marcus. :)


Marcus said...

You don't recognize Sweden either Bridge? ;)

bARABie said...

Marcus cut the crap, whites are the MOST racist of all humans. Don't DARE try convincing people who don't know better otherwise.

Mohammed said...

welcome marcus , welcome back bridget to my blog.

Indigo said...

barabie doesn't know much about other countries, evidently.

bARABie said...

Indigo, "EVIDENTLY" you don't know bARABie.

Anonymous said...

^Relevance is demanded to your accusations. As well as proof.

Anonymous said...

EVIDENTLY, bARABie doesn't know that in America, Arabs are classified as white.


angellica said...

We dont need to talk about cultures in this moment.
Im scared about Cholera...
I hope your country get better, no wars, no fanatism, no crisis,

Im brazilian...I cant belive things are more than what we see on tv...
Im sad, im sad....

bARABie said...

"EVIDENTLY" bridget (don't deserve a capital b) Arabs don't consider themselves white either.

"In addition, many people of Arab descent do not identify as White and object to the government's classification and the refusal of the US census committee to create a separate category."
An Arab from Morocco is "white", REALLY? hehehe WHATEVER!

bARABie said...

Tell me indigo (another who doesn't deserve a capital i) why if you drove through a suburb called Highland Park in Texas and were black, you would not make it to the other end of Highland Park without being pulled over by the police?

Anonymous said...

An Arab from Morocco is "white", REALLY? hehehe WHATEVER!

No, but I've met Palestinian Arabs who have been mistaken for Irish...
In fact, I don't know one "black" Arab east of Egypt.

nothing changes said...

I just stumbled accross ur blog. U mentioned that u think the iraqi's will soon be extinct...I am so worried that will actualyl happen. Ive been thinkin about this alot, esp since alot of iraqi's that leave Iraq end up marrying non iraqi people. THats really worries me. What will become of our great nation???

Mohammed said...

nothing changes,
only god knows , only god.
unless a miracle happens , things will stay like this , a good choice for your name!

nothing changes said...

Salam :)
Iraq has gone through thick and thin, and it has endured so much and I dont think it is the end of it, but I do think it will take a long time for it to be rebuilt and re-established once again. Thats a positive thing but Im afriad that I wont be here to witness it. We left Iraq when I was 4 years old, and I desperately want to go back to my home before I lose that sense of belonging. I want my kids to grow up as people who love and are aware of their heritage. Allahu A3lam, inshallah Khair, I hope God has something better for Iraq.