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
 Mar 28 2015 - Saudi pounds Yemen rebel campsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Saudi-led coalition warplanes bombed rebel camps in Yemen Friday in a second straight day of strikes as embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi arrived in Egypt for talks ...

 Mar 28 2015 - Qatar- QMMF's West, Simon start strong at homeThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) QMMF Racing Team's Anthony West and Julian Simon made a good start to the 2015 Moto2 season at the Losail International Circuit here on Thursday night.Under floodlights of ...

 Mar 28 2015 - Qatar- Cudlin wins first raceThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Britain's Alex Cudlin (centre) won the first Qatar SuperBike (QSBK) race at Losail International Circuit on Thursday night. German rider Nina Prinz (left) came second. ...

 Mar 28 2015 - Qatar- Marquez stays on top of time sheetsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda yesterday finished on top of the combined time sheets after a frantic end to Free Practice (FP) 3 with Britain's Cal ...

 Mar 28 2015 - Oil dives 4.7% on easing Yemen worriesThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Oil prices sank Friday, giving back some gains from a two-day surge, as traders kept an eye on the Saudi-led air assault against Shiite rebels in Yemen.US benchmark West ...

 Mar 28 2015 - UN orders Libya rights abuses investigationThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The UN Human Rights Council decided Friday to send a mission to war-torn Libya to investigate a range of abuses by different sides and help bring perpetrators to justice.The ...

 Mar 28 2015 - Ex-president Saleh calls for Yemen ceasefireThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is close to the country's Shiite Huthi rebels, called Friday for a ceasefire and the resumption of UN-brokered dialogue ...

 Mar 28 2015 - Saudi pounds Houthi campsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Saudi Arabia said yesterday the coalition forces it is leading will not at any cost allow weapons or other supplies to be made to Houthi militiamen in Yemen.The spokesman for ...

 Mar 28 2015 - Hamas denounces EU terror list decisionThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Hamas on Friday denounced a European Union decision to keep the Palestinian Islamist group and de facto Gaza Strip ruler on its terrorism blacklist, despite a court ordering ...

 Mar 28 2015 - Qatar- 28th Qafco Flower and Vegetable Show opensThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The 28th edition of the Qafco Flower and Vegetable Show has witnessed nearly 500 competitors and 5,000 exhibits at Al Banush Club in Mesaieed.This year, the event has been ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

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