Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Once an Arab model, Baghdad now world's worst city  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 21/03/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) As recently as the 1970s, Baghdad was lauded as a model city in the Arab world. But now, after decades of seemingly endless conflict, it is the world's worst city.That is, at least, according to the latest survey by the Mercer consulting group, which when assessing quality of life across 239 cities, measuring factors including political stability, crime and pollution, placed Baghdad last.The Iraqi capital was lumped with Bangui in the conflict-hit Central African Republic and the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, the latest confirmation of the 1,250-year-old city's fall from grace as a global intellectual, economic and political centre.Residents of Baghdad contend with near-daily attacks, a lack of electricity and clean water, poor sewerage and drainage systems, rampant corruption, regular gridlock, high unemployment and a myriad other problems."We live in a military barracks," complained Hamid al-Daraji, a paper salesman, referring to the ubiquitous checkpoints, concrete blast walls and security forces peppered throughout the city."The rich and the poor share the same suffering," the 48-year-old continued. "The rich might be subjected at any moment to an explosion, a kidnapping, or a killing, just like the poor."Our lives are ones where we face death at any moment."It was not always so for the Iraqi capital.Construction of the city on the Tigris River first began in 762 AD during the rule of Abbasid caliph Abu Jaafar al-Mansur, and it has played a pivotal role in Arab and Islamic society ever since.In the 20th century, Baghdad was held up as a gleaming example of a modern Arab city with some of the region's best universities and museums, a highly-educated elite, a vibrant cultural scene and top-notch healthcare.Officials still note how their counterparts from the region would hold up Baghdad's international airport as a model, and oil cartel OPEC was founded in the Iraqi capital.And it was home to a diverse population of Muslims, Christians, Jews and others."Baghdad represented the economic centre of the Abbasid state," noted Issam al-Faili, a professor of political history at the city's Mustansiriyah University, an institution which traces its own history back nearly 800 years."It was used as a base for taking control of neighbouring areas in order to strengthen Islamic influence.""It used to be a capital of the world," Faili said, "but today, it has become one of the world's most miserable cities."

In February alone, 57 violent incidents struck the Iraqi capital, including 31 car bombs. As recently as March 5, a dozen shootings and bombings across the city killed 20 people. The very next day, four more bombings left 11 dead.Security forces typically respond with heavy-handed tactics reliant on setting up new checkpoints to add to the plethora already scattered around Baghdad, and restricting movement as much as possible.Massive concrete walls, designed to withstand the impact of explosions, still divide up confessionally-mixed neighbourhoods, while the government sits in the heavily-fortified Green Zone, which is also home to parliament and the US and British embassies, access to which is difficult for ordinary Iraqis.- Uphill task -Some are working to clean up the city and beautify it, but even they acknowledge the uphill task facing them."I am actually hurt that Baghdad ranked among the worst cities in the world," said Amir al-Chalabi, head of the Humanitarian Construction Organisation, an NGO which runs civic campaigns aimed at improving the city's services."Successive governments have not worked to develop Baghdad," he said."It has become deserted, and it suffers from instability. At night, it turns into a ghost town because of the lack of lighting."Messes of electrical wires run along neighbourhood streets, as privately-operated communal generators work to make up for the shortfall in provision from the national grid, albeit at a price.

Poor drainage means that even moderate levels of rainfall during the winter lead to flooding, as pools form on the city's potholed streets, while scorching summer heat forces the government to regularly declare national holidays.Economic growth nationwide is strong, thanks to healthy oil production, but because the industry is not labour-intensive, it has not made a major dent in unemployment, including in the capital."Baghdad's problems cannot be counted," said Daraji, the paper seller."The situation in Baghdad is sad. Sometimes it makes us cry -- beautiful Baghdad is today in ruins."

 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Jan 26 2015 - GCC Secretary General Receives France AmbassadorSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Secretary General of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani received here today the French Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ...

 Jan 26 2015 - Guinean President Arrives in Riyadh to Offer Condolences on Death of Late King AbdullahSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Guinea's president Alpha Conde arrived here today to offer condolences on the death of late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. At Riyadh Air Base Airport, Guinean ...

 Jan 26 2015 - Russia's Putin says Kiev refuses political solution to crisis in eastSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that the Kiev government was refusing a political solution to violence in the eastern Ukraine where fighting has flared ...

 Jan 26 2015 - Alexis Tsipras sworn in as Greek prime ministerSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Athens, Rabi'II 6, 1436, Jan 26, 2015, SPA - Leftist SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is sworn in as Greece's new prime minister, hours after his party's landslide win in ...

 Jan 26 2015 - Côte d'Ivoire's President Arrives in Riyadh to Offer Condolences on Death of Late King AbdullahSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Riyadh, Rabi'II 06, 1436, January 26, 2015, SPA - President of CØ£´te d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara arrived here today to offer condolences on the death of late King ...

 Jan 26 2015 - FGB announces deal with Dalma EnergyEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) ABU DHABI, 25th January, 2015 (WAM) - FGB looks to maintain strong growth in 2015 having already closed a USD 313.7 million secured syndication facility on ...

 Jan 26 2015 - Kuwait projects $24 bn deficit despite spending cutsAFP
(MENAFN - AFP) Kuwait on Monday projected a $24-billion deficit in its new fiscal year budget despite a massive spending cut due to plunging oil prices. Revenues for 2015-2016 are projected at $41.1 ...

 Jan 26 2015 - New Saudi leaders to press economic diversificationAFP
(MENAFN - AFP) Saudi Arabia's new leadership will push forward efforts to diversify the growing but oil-dependent economy, while easing procedures for investors, senior officials said on ...

 Jan 26 2015 - Dubai Islamic Bank Group net profit up by 63 per cent to AED 2.8 billion in 2014Emirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) DUBAI, 25th January, 2015 (WAM)-Dubai Islamic Bank (DFM: DIB), today announced that its net profit surged by 63 per cent to AED 2.80 billion, up 63 per cent in ...

 Jan 26 2015 - FCCI organises first Serbian Business and Investment ForumEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) ABU DHABI, 25th January 2015 (WAM) -- Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) on Sunday organised the First Serbian Business and Investment ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help