From IRIN News:
|BAGHDAD, 19 April (IRIN) - Students and government employees say that tight security on the streets of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, is preventing them from going to school and work. Some teachers say the situation is having a serious impact on education in the country.|
According to the Ministry of Education (MoE), four colleges and 10 schools are suffering from road closures as a result of meetings called by the new national assembly. Some schools haven’t opened since the first assembly meeting two weeks ago.
“Every day I try to get to my college, but policemen have blocked the streets and it’s impossible to get there through other roads. Most of the main avenues in the capital have been closed and it is just delaying progress and our studies,” Mahmoud Obeid, 22, a medical student, told IRIN in Baghdad.
The national assembly is meeting inside the fortified green zone in Baghdad, situated in the heart of the city, where many main roads meet. Road closure here can affect transportation throughout the busy metropolis.
Dr Sabah Kadham, deputy minister of interior, told IRIN that these security measures were needed to ensure safety during the meetings and prevent car bombings in the area.
“We understand that it may be affecting people, but it’s the only way to guarantee some security and permit the development and construction of the new constitution of the country,” Kadham added.
“The main problem is that they [the new assembly] just care about the meetings and don’t look at how security is affecting ordinary Iraqi lives. It is not right to conduct meetings without taking into consideration the chaos being caused to the education of our children,” a senior officer at the MoE, Bilal al-Shehkly, told IRIN.
In addition, government employees, especially those who work inside the green zone, complain that their work is piling up and this is delaying essential work related to reconstruction in the country.
“They have to organise their meeting somewhere which doesn’t affect daily life and permit all employees to work without difficulties, as they depend on our work,” Ziad Mashadany, a senior employee at the national assembly, told IRIN.
Since the start of the meeting of the 275-member national assembly on 5 April, the capital has suffered many attacks, especially in areas where government buildings and embassies are located.
In addition, insurgent groups have distributed leaflets in some areas of the capital, warning that they will carry out attacks against US troops and any police cars giving them protection, along with foreign journalists.
“This country has turned into a mess, you cannot reach your college due to insecurity or you have too much security. I hope life returns to normal so we can get on with our lives,” Sahar Ibraheem, 21, a dentistry student in Baghdad, told IRIN.
Oh, you silly Iraqis. Don't you know that your special friend George Bush is making everything good again? Just keep smiling and throwing flowers at the feet of those kind and helpful Halliburton construction workers. Remember, you now have peace, freedom and democracy, so stop complaining and start enjoying it.