Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Dispatches from Iraq, Part 3

Posted by Keith

Baghdad - April 30, 2004

Hello everyone!

I continue to get replies asking for permission to use excerpts from my dispatches on web sites. I encourage all who are interested to do so. Don't worry, I won't write about anything I shouldn't be writing about. As a result, some details will be noticeably lacking but the idea is that a clear picture of what life is like here and my perceptions of what is going on around me will be accurately related. Additionally, feel free to forward these dispathes on and let me know if you know anyone that would like to be added to the list.

Now I shall attempt to paint a basic picture of what life is like here.

In some ways, I feel like I'm back at summer camp when I was a kid what with living in a big communal tent and the large cafeteria style dining hall. I live and work in the vicinity of one of the several palaces that populate the Green Zone. The palace itself is a rather ostentatious building with marble all over the interior. Inane quotes from SH (Saddam Hussein) line some of the walls. I can't read them of course (they are in Arabic and I am hoping to delve into that language very soon) but apparently they say things like "Work hard and you will be rewarded". His initials are imprinted on all the bricks in the walls in our dining area. The story is that our dining hall once housed a huge banquest hosted by SH whereupon many of the attendees were poisoned. Of course, I'm hearing such stories all the time and take everything with a grain of salt. Apparently, one of Udai's many liquor collections are in the basement and includes 6 bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label. One can also take a look at Udai's sword and pistol canes (the man was injured by an assasination attempt - hence the weapons disguised as canes - like something out of a bad Kung Fu movie).

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