Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The International Zone - Baghdad

I made my first trip to Baghdad last week. I can't really say I've been to Baghdad though, I was trapped in the International Zone (aka Green Zone) the entire time. Honestly, to me, it is hell on earth. I imagine it to be a mixture of being in prison and being in a Big Brother house. There is no where to go, nothing to see (besides lots of cement blast walls), and you are with the same people 24/7. Don't get me wrong, the IRD people there are quite nice and friendly, surprising considering the conditions they live in.

I was there to lay the ground work for the upcoming health assessment we are doing. Unfortunately (or Fortunately, I can't decide) I was only there on this trip for 3 full days. My flight to get into Baghdad was delayed for 8 hours which made my first day pretty useless. Due to some program happenings while I was there I was also unable to get out of the IZ and visit the Baghdad field office. And as my trip was so last minute there were not many people around (i.e. donors or partners) to meet with. Sigh. But, I'll be going back in a couple weeks to try for all those meetings again!

Our security guys did take me and a colleague, Sandra, on a small tour of the IZ one day. The sights included the Tigris River, a couple of Saddam's many palaces (viewed from a distance over blast walls) many of which had been blown up during the US invasion and were just left there in pieces, Saddam's parade grounds with the famous crossed swords, and the new US Embassy which is the largest (and most heavily fortified) in the world. The tour took all of 20 minutes!

1 comment:

soul with wings said...


My name is Hiba Jameel, I am an Iraqi and worked for a year in the Greenzone, I missed it so much!

Can we be friends?