Saturday, May 31, 2008

It's Not Pretty But It's Home... For A While

A photo from last trip. Baghdad ballet students gather around their teacher.

I made it into Baghdad yesterday morning after a day and a half of traveling. Coming back to the villa is in some respects like coming home; I’ve spent so much time here over the last fifteen months or so. Few things have changed and the media guys are telling me that it’s been remarkably quiet over the past several weeks, some say that they’ve never seen it this calm.

To me there’s a sense of creeping progress, by that I mean that Iraq seems to take two steps forward and then one large step back. I see the signs of development and progress all around; thriving road-side shops, clean, well-dressed kids walking to school, families playing in the zoo or the park. Then, however, the heavily armed convoys roll past reminding me of where I am. Masked militia thundering around in police vehicles, siren screaming, and threatening people with a pointed weapon that don’t readily yield.

It’s not pretty and it’s far from what I would call normal, but it’s home for the next several weeks.

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