a VirtualTourist member from Pristina
Next week I'll be there working for an IT company (WWNS - world wide network services).Can someone give me a detailed description of working in Baghdad?
Think twice. Someone on VT had a friend who worked there and had a miserable time. She was forced to be in a bunker for months as it was so dangerous walking around in the real world. Then again, maybe it's easier for a man.
Read some articles by Robert Fisk (at http://www.independent.co.uk/ or at http://www.robert-fisk.com/) or Dahr Jamail (http://dahrjamailiraq.com/) to know more about the day-to-day situation for working people.
Robert Fisk in The Independent, 3rd March 2005: 'Still Iraq’s civil servants go to work, and still they go on dying. They die now so often that their names even their jobs escape us.'
This is a quote from Dahr Jamail, an Alaskan correspondant for 'The New Standard' writing from Baghdad on 04/09/04: 'I write this holed up in an apartment in the Karrada district of Baghdad with my friends, all of us afraid to venture too far from our abode, and rightly so. We have three armed guards on the roof, as well as on the first floor of our small apartment building, and all of the lights on the outside are turned on.' Follows a list a foreign contractors that have been killed or gone missing.
On May 30, 2005, that is less than two weeks ago, Jamail writes: 'Things are getting worse by the day.'
Enjoy your stay.
Thanks a lot. That was very helpfull. :)
Hope they are paying u danger money because it sounds like u will be needing it. An Australian who was living in the US is currently being held hostage in Iraq. He was set up by an interpreter who led him to his kidnappers.
There is one more thing you should be warned for: the hazards caused by exposure to depleted uranium of which hundred, even thousands, of tons have been used in Iraq, hazards not only to your own health but to the physical integrity of your future offsprings.
Consider that you will be inhaling those particals day and night and there are plenty of other sources of exposure (use of contaminated metal scrap to manufacture cooking and kitchen gear, water cans or pipes, for ex.).
Just search the net with following terms: depleted uranium iraq, and see what DU can do to you. Warning: the pictures of the malformations in human beings caused by DU you will find in some of these articles are very graphic.
Gees, I've never heard such mis-information. Yes, there are a few hazards in Baghdad, more or less depending on which part of Baghdad you will be in. The IZ is not bad right now. They've been cleaning this part of town up quite a bit, and it is not as dusty as other parts get. If you are in the Red Zone, you do need to take some extra precautions, and you will need security, but honestly you have a greater chance of being killed or wounded in Washington DC these days.
As for the radioactivity, conisider this, if there was this big contamination issue, do you really think people like Rumsfeld and Rice would be coming here and greeting thousands of soldiers at their bases, unprotected, without even simple air filters? Maybe there are a few sites with some Cesium contamination, but they were cleaning that stuff up two years ago, and even then it was only a passing concern.
Do expect to have diarrhea here off and on. Especially if you eat at the Army chow halls. Like eating anywhere else here, including the local food vendors, it is hit or miss.
Since you are doing IT, you might want to consider that the Army regularly jams radio traffic all over the country at random times. I guess this is to make things difficult for the terrorists, but it is a real pain to lose my wireless connection for half an hour while they plug up the entire band. Cell phones likewise don't work all the time. You get used to it.
It used to be every man for himself driving here, but lately the Air Force Police have been cracking down on Ex-Pat driving habits, and the PSD teams have been ordered to slow it down inside the city. This is helping. The PX here in town is little more than a glorified 7-eleven. You will need a CAC card issued by the military in order to utilize the PX or any of the chow halls around town.
Good luck, and don't believe all the rumors you will hear. If you can last here a month or two, you will find a way to live with it and make the best of the situation.
First of all, many people are working in Iraq. Iraqis of course and also many expats from all over the world and they re surviving
I think the first thing you have to consider at is the pricetag of your head !
How much money do you make a month ?
do you have a special insurance covering kidnapping, plastic surgery, .... ?
do you have an escort ?
are you travelling around to carry out your job ?
do you live in the green zone or outside ?
how regular will be your R&R ?
how many days a week are you supposed to work ?
Will you have a DOD card that will provide you access to many facilities ?
and so many other things ....
Pls beware that the "red zone" is approx. 99 % of Baghdad surface. Is it not really weird to call a city "red zone". Say you have Baghdad and the Green zone.
Indeed, if you stay in an office and work in remote control with your staff, you will be like in jail, meeting the same persons, having the same food, talking the same stuffs, getting mad about the same things but ... if the premises are well protected, you are safe.
If you go around, it gives you a better picture of Iraq, the Iraquis and the situation but you expose yourself to direct hit or collateral damage.
It 's a matter of choice !
Good luck anyway !
"If you can last here a month or two, you will find a way to live with it": that explains a lot.
As for Rice and Rumsfeld (Bush has already been forgotten it seems): imagine the impact on the soldiers if they would make their appearance wearing air filters! That really would be a blow to the morale of the troops! It's not because they did not sport air filters, other, more advanced, precautions weren't taken: f.i. anybody can confirm they were not adminstered iodine pills before arriving? Who can exclude that after they left the country, they did not undergo a detox treatment? Moreover, their presence in Iraq was very short: their stay is counted in hours, not even days.
When I say last here a month or two, I mean adjusting to life in a semi combat zone. Yes, we do occasionally have a mortar or rocket land in the IZ, and you may have a bullet come through your roof while you are here. This will likely make the uninitiated nervous, but you can adjust to this and find a way to deal with it if you so desire, just like dealing with everything else (the diarhea, the solitude, the monotony, the lack of creature comforts, etc).
Okay, I will come right out and say it. There is no widespread radioactive contamination in Baghdad. There were some places where Cesium was dumped and those places had to be hazmatted, but that was some time ago, and yes, radiation levels are monitored here, and no, no extra precautions are taken to protect dignitaries from ambient exposure to radioactive contamination than are taken for the general ex-pat population. I am here, I am familiar with radioactive protocols, and I get tested when I go home on R&R! (part of my ongoing study from having worked at a nuclear facility in the past).
As for Rice and Rumsfeld, they blow morale every time they show up. We take more incoming when they are here. Maybe they are good sports, but please keep them at home.
Hi [VT member 9c1ba]! I noticed you logged into VT yesterday. How are you doing? Are you still in Baghdad? Hope you are well. How have things gone for you? Would appreciate hearing from you.
"but honestly you have a greater chance of being killed or wounded in Washington DC these days"
Are you being for real? I dont hear about 100's of people getting blown up kidnapped everyday in Washington DC... notihng major has happend since 9/11
True, but how many people die on the road each day, don't hear anything on the tv each day & it can be prevented!