- Title: IRAQ: WITH ELECTIONS JUST DAYS AWAY THE STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL CONTINUES
- Date: 26th January 2005
- Summary: (BN09) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JANUARY 16, 2005) (REUTERS) 1. MV MONA NAJEM, A BAGHDAD RESIDENT WHO SUFFERS FROM CONSTANT ELECTRICITY CUTS, LIGHTING FUEL LAMP IN HER KITCHEN; SCU NAJEM LIGHTING LAMP 0.18 2. MV NAJEM'S FAMILY SITTING AT KITCHEN TABLE IN THE DARK; SCU NAJEM EATING/ LAMP ON TABLE; SCU FUEL LAMPS ON DINNER TABLE; CLOSE OF AMER, NAJEM'S HUSBAND SMOKING (4 SHOTS) 0.56 3. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MONA NAJEM, SAYING: "What elections? These elections are a failure because there is no security, no electricity, no petrol, no oil and even if the oil refineries work, then they are attacked. So how can we vote? The election offices are under threat of attacks and we have one right here. So how? Give us a solution." 1.19 4. MV NAJEM AND HER FAMILY SITTING AT HOME IN THE DARK 1.25 (BN09) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JANUARY 3, 2005) (REUTERS) 5. HAS IRAQIS WORKING AT WATER FACILITY BEING SUPERVISED BY U.S. OFFICIALS; SLV WORKERS CLEANING WATER FACILITY; SLV U.S. TROOPS AT SITE; SLV FACILITY (8 SHOTS) 2.05 (BN09) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JANUARY 17, 2005) (REUTERS) 6. SLV PEOPLE STANDING IN RUNDOWN STREET WAITING IN LINE TO PICK UP PETROL; SLV /SCU MAN SITTING BEHIND BARBED WIRE SMOKING CIGARETTE; SLV WOMEN SITTING ON FLOOR BEHIND BARBED WIRE; SLV WOMEN QUEUING UP BEHIND BARRIER WAITING TO PICK UP PATROL (6 SHOTS) 2.36 7. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UM HUSSEIN, WOMAN WAITING IN QUEUE TO PICK UP PETROL, SAYING: "I want to warm up, it's cold. I need petrol, I need bread to eat. It doesn't work like that. I am sick, I am a widow, my children are all dead. This is not my house. I live in Al-Thawra. I have been here for four days, waiting to fill petrol. For four days. Elections? I will vote if they give me petrol. I will vote for them and hold them in my eyes." 3.05 8. MV PEOPLE HOLDING BARRELS AND WAITING TO PICK UP PETROL; MV WOMAN STANDING BEHIND BARBED WIRE AT PETROL STATION; SLV WOMEN SITTING ON THE GROUND; SLV MEN STANDING AGAINST WALL, QUEUING UP FOR PETROL (5 SHOTS) 3.38 9. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RAZAK MAHMOUD, MAN QUEUING UP TO GET PETROL, SAYING "I will (vote). This is the future of all Iraqis, not the future of a few individuals. It's the future of all Iraqis, our children and their children. We can't continue living in this chaos, where there is nothing. That's not possible. We have to vote." 3.51 10. SLV PEOPLE GATHERED IN RUNDOWN STREET 3.56 (BN09) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JANUARY 16, 2005) (REUTERS) 11. MV DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER BARHAM SALIH SPEAKING TO REPORTER 4.02 12. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER BARHAM SALIH, SAYING "I predict to you that Iraq will be transformed. Iraq will become a vibrant economy. And that will be a model to the rest of the Middle East." 4.13 (BN09) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JANUARY 17, 2005) (REUTERS) 13. SLV BULLDOZER REPAIRING STREETS; SLV WORKERS REPAIRING STREETS (5 SHOTS) 4.50 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 10th February 2005 12:00
- Location: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVAD6E5JHVVXRIS6VEM7D6TCAHOU
- Story Text: Struggle for survival continues despite hopes
election will bring new prosperity.
Iraq's elections are only days away but there are
many people who don't see that they will change anything in
Iraq. For the poor, the struggle to survive will continue,
no matter the outcome of the vote.
Mona Najem hardly ever follows the news, not because
she doesn't care, but because she doesn't have electricity
to watch television or listen to the radio.
Every night, Najem lights her fuel lamps and sets them
on the kitchen table where she, with her husband, son, his
wife and their two-year-old son have dinner. Sitting under
the dim light, the Najem family discuss the situation in
Iraq - the chaos and violence that has left many without
electricity, clean water, fuel, basic services and
Iraqis were promised billions of dollars in mainly
American aid to rebuild their country, but the cycle of
suicide bombings, raids, kidnappings and murders make
progress slow, difficult and dangerous.
Not even U.S.-backed government officials expect an
improvement any time soon.
Najem, who spent most of her life living abroad,
returned home only three months before the war. She says
the time is not right for elections. Having spent almost
two years living in the dark, Najem says Iraqi officials
should concentrate on providing people with basic
facilities rather than campaigning for power.
"What elections? These elections are a failure because
there is no security, no electricity, no petrol, no oil and
even if the oil refineries work, then they are attacked. So
how can we vote?" said Najem while sipping her tea under
the dim light of her living room.
Faced with constant violence, many Iraqis who can
afford to leave have done so, to countries such as Jordan
But the rest of the population must face the challenges,
the lack of fuel and electricity and rising prices that
make most things beyond the reach of ordinary people.
Many reconstruction projects are on their way and
improvement in some parts of the country is visible.
But the increased chaos, kidnapping and beheading by
Islamist militants has led many foreign contractors to
rebase in Jordan or the United Arab Emirates, adding to
Even the number of Iraqis employed on rebuilding
projects, mostly as labourers, has fallen.
And with the deteriorating security situation and
up-coming elections, some of the money has been diverted
from reconstruction to equipping and training Iraq's
fledgling new security forces.
Prices have been driven up by power and electricity
crises, and insurgents and criminals controlling key
sections of the transport network, especially around
Sabotage attacks and violence have crippled refineries
and badly disrupted imported fuel flows.
With residents queuing for days to fill up with
gasoline for less than one cent per litre, children by
roadsides touting cans offer a swift service for 12 times
The situation is so chaotic that some people say who
wins the elections, despite political divisions, is the
least of their worries -- keeping warm and safe is a
Um Hussein, a 60-year-old widow from Baghdad said she
will vote. Her concern is not along any sectarian or ethnic
lines. Having to queue up for four days at a pumping
station, Un Hussein said that she will vote for the
candidate who will give her petrol.
"I want to warm up, it's cold. I need petrol, I need
bread to eat," she said waving an empty gallon.
"I will vote if they give my petrol. I will vote for
them and hold them in my eyes."
For many ordinary Iraqis, the situation and lack of
infrastructure and facilities, leaves them desperate for
any change. After years of repression under Saddam Hussein
and crushing U.N. sanctions, Iraq's people remain poor at
A cylinder of liquified gas for cooking now costs
5,000-10,0000 dinars (3.5 - 7 U.S. dollars) compared with
2,000 dinars two or three months ago and 500 dinars during
Saddam Hussein's rule.
Customers at pumping stations are made up mainly of
ordinary Iraqis who cannot afford black market prices, such
as Razak Mahmoud, a truck driver who has been waiting for
eight hours in front of a station in Baghdad.
He says that elections are necessary to improve his
situation. Hoping that the winning parties will provide
better services for the public, Mahmoud said that he will
"I will (vote). This is the future of all Iraqis, not
the future of a few individuals. Its the future of all
Iraqis, our children and their children. We can't continue
living in this chaos, where there is nothing. That's not
possible. We have to vote" he said.
Despite the chaos, violence and instability, Iraq's
government insists it's sticking to the timetable for a
January 30 election.
Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said that following
the elections, the situation in Iraq will improve.
"I predict to you that Iraq will be transformed. Iraq
will become a vibrant economy," he said.
"That will be a model to the rest of the Middle East."
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