Monday, January 02, 2012

In Iraq, once-dead streets now bustle with Thursday night shoppers and acres of razed buildings have been replanted with palatial new houses

In Iraq, the [war's] legacy will be lived, day by day, with fatalism and frustration at the country’s intractable political crises
writes Jack Healy somberly in an article that accompanies photographer David Gonzalez's Portraits of Iraqi Pride.
But it will also be lived with an undercurrent of optimism, particularly among the young, and a broad Iraqi resilience that predates the arrival of any American soldiers.
In Jack Healy's New York Times article, it is almost as an aside that we learn that the hellish nightmare that Iraqis have gone through since George W Bush sent the US Army to flush out Saddam Hussein's dictatorship in "an unpopular war" (aka a disaster) was perhaps not that bad after all.
… if the war gouged Iraq’s soul, it left lighter fingerprints, too.

… Soldiers or journalists returning for the first time since the depths of civil war sometimes marvel at the transformation of public and private life, how once-dead streets now bustle with Thursday night shoppers and acres of razed buildings have been replanted with palatial new houses. The muffled report of car bombs is startling, not inevitable.

Perhaps two million people have fled Iraq, but Iraqis like the ones pictured here have lived through the painful and terrifying gap between then and now. One raised two daughters. Another built a library of cookbooks and opened a pastry shop.

They are living and working and getting engaged and bringing up a new generation. They are more than a postscript to an unpopular war. For Iraq, they are what comes next.