Sunday, October 24, 2021

Saddam’s Great Iraq – 1

Baghdad View During first quarter of year 1979, I received a letter from Government of Iraq, informing that my application for service in Iraq had been processed and that I was invited to join Bureau of Soil Studies & Design, as soon as possible.

After about two and half months I landed in Baghdad. I joined the organization during May, 1979 becoming a professional member of Bureau, one of the biggest departments of the government of Iraq. I had managed my accommodation in a hotel in Babul Shargi and the premises of Bureau of Soil Studies & Design were situated in Abu Gharib.

Omni bus service in Iraq was highly disciplined and comfortable. Jundi MajhoolSo the very next day I reached the premises of the Bureau. Commanding building of the offices was spread over in many acres of area. It was very well maintained and administered and served as command office to control the country wide projects starting right from survey up to the final execution. Staff of offices consisted of almost fifty percent ladies. Everybody looked happy, smiling and courteous. The first rather very happy day went through introductions with many people concerned with engineering and administrative matters. Foreign engineers came from many countries of the world excluding the United States of America and the United Kingdom. East Europeans were in majority amongst those from Europe. In all there were Russians, Polish, East German, Bulgarian, Japanese, French, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, Turks, Indians, Philippines and so on. All administrative and scientific hold was in the hands of Iraqi engineers and nobody could challenge their authority by any justification whatsoever. In any matter, when they decisively said ‘no’ for something, it used to become law for the problem. At end of the day in the office, I happily felt that I had joined an organization where I could apply my capabilities according to my desire.

After attending the office regularly for three or four days, I asked the Iraqi engineer incharge that I have been attending the office without any assignment. I asked him if it was possible for him to give me an assignment so that I get busy as early as possible. He told me that for about three weeks period I will be given time to accustom myself to the local and official atmosphere of Baghdad and Iraq, after which I shall be given an assignment on some project. I understood the idea and started seeing Baghdad in more detail. The weather was hot but in visiting various places in Iraq, I did not care for the heat of the weather. A large variety of cold drinks was available throughout the city, so there was no problem of remaining thirsty. Local and imported fruits were in abundance. A large variety of Dates, Grapes, Injeer, Pomegranate and most of the vegetables were local products. Iraqis were proud of every piece of their agriculture products.

River Dajla For late evenings, I walked along pavements by the left bank of River Dajla. On the left bank there were casinos and restaurants packed with people, where only tea, cold drinks and meals were served. A large number of Iraqis used to have evening walk along with their family members. It looked very nice to see groups of well dressed ladies and gentlemen moving to and fro enjoying the calm flow of lovely Dajla that looked all the more beautiful in moon light. Dajla is a perennial river and during summer the atmosphere is naturally cooler as compare to localities away from the river. I also used to join the people in casinos to watch Egyptians plays on TV. Iraqis did not have a film industry. All TV dramas belonged to other Arabian countries. In my opinion the reason is that Iraqis being very straight forward people in person to person dealing, did not like the art of acting. Any conversation with Iraqis was always straight forward. During the course of years I did not meet any Iraqi man or woman with sugar coated way of talking i.e. saying something which actually means something else. Iraqis only speak what they really mean.

To be continued…


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Category: Travel

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