Sunday, June 8, 2014

Things I am going to miss...

In the last two months I was in Iraq in order to see family and prepare for my return. I am back at Malaysia right now, and in the next 20 days or so, I have to move permanently to Iraq. Each day I prepare few things to take with me and dispose of the unnecessary items.

During these days many things I encounter things I am going to miss, so I am going to list them here. Some might seem trivial, if so, you are lucky because you have them for granted.

1- Ability to have a walk at anytime: for years during my stay in Malaysia, whenever I want to have a walk at the very morning (1:00 AM, or 4:00 AM). I could walk into Pelita restaurant or McDonalds which is about 30 minutes from my apartment. This helps me release stress from work and other issues.

Unfortunately, in Baghdad, there is a curfew that starts about 11:00 PM and lasts to the sunrise. Even walking in an area you are not from, could cause you problems.

2- Clean streets: One of the disappointments i had when seeing Baghdad - which I haven't seen since the end of 2006 - was how dirty the streets are. Garbage everywhere, concrete blocks scattered everywhere blocking many streets.

3- Fast paperwork processing: In Iraq it is common knowledge that most employees neglect their jobs, either because they don't want to work, or because they want to blackmail the people they are supposed to serve. To give you an idea, I have a paper work that took me over two years and haven't finished yet. One of my family members had a paper work which took about 7 years to complete because of mistakes, slow processing, and instability of Iraq.

On the other hand, in Malaysia, most paper work takes a day or two - in my case at least - to finish. I am going to miss that. What was the longest period of time you spend doing some paper work? a day? a week? let me know in the comments.

4- Availability of services: Clean water, electricity, internet, mail, etc are taken for granted in many countries. Take electricity for example: Iraq still can't offer stable electricity to its citizens. During my two months stay, I was surprised by the wires that are spread from the private electricity contractors who supply houses. Basically most houses now have 3 sources:
A] National electricity service.
B] Private electricity service.
C] Having your own generator.
Although billions has been spent on repairing electricity in Iraq for the last 10 years, it is worse than before. This just shows how corrupted the country is.

Other services like banking services are not as reliable or accepted by other countries. This either due to regulations by other countries, or international companies refusing dealing with Iraq.

5- Respecting the law: basically there is almost no respect for the law. An obvious example is the police officer who was once controlling traffic. He made few cars go into the wrong side of the road against traffic. Other people tried to do the same, but he stopped them saying: "That was a higher ranking officer". If the officer who represent the law does not respect the law, how do you expect people to respect it?

6- Safety: I am sure you already know how things are in Iraq. Almost no day passes by without an explosion happening. For example about two weeks ago I was at the company's when the whole building was shook by an explosion about 400 to 500 meters from our location. Some terrorist blew himself with his car resulting in burning about 20 to 30 cars with the people in them alive, not to mention others who where injured.

One technique I follow in Baghdad, is to take the first taxi available to any place I need to go, avoid congestions, and almost never stay in the street.

7- No need for ID: In my stay in Malaysia, during the 6.5 years, I was never asked for my ID by an officer. In Iraq, you have to carry your ID all the time. If you don't carry one you get into trouble.

8- Wearing anything you like: This might seem strange at first glance, but this incident that happened to a relative can give you an idea. One of my relative went to an area of Baghdad where some religious militia have control. He was wearing a colorful T-Shirt, and at the time, it was a sad religious event. The militia approached him questioning why he was wearing a "Cheerful T-Shirt" during these sad days. Not sure what they would have done to him, but putting people in prison or torturing them if there are any suspicions is normal and is done by any group who have control. Luckily he was from the same "Religious group" of the militia so they let him off with a warning.

I am moving back in time over 1400 years ago. Not sure if I will have a chance to continue my hobbies, updating the website, making tutorials, etc. or not. Such things just lose their value over there.

Thanks for reading, and sorry if I made you sad.

yours sincerely