More expendable people
"I have so much anger," Abbas said outside the music store he runs in the poor neighborhood of Amil, in western Baghdad. When there is no power, there is no music playing in the store, and customers don't come. "I can't work," he said. "I can't support my family. We're dying from the heat. Where are these politicians?"
Abbas's comments reflect a wave of fury that has erupted across this country of 30 million as Iraq's sweltering summer begins. Most people are having to deal with electricity shortages that leave them with no respite from the heat and no water when their household electric pumps shut off.
Seven years after the U.S.-led invasion, Iraqis are taking to the streets to demand basic services they have not received, despite many promises and the expenditure of billions of dollars by the U.S. and Iraqi governments. Their anger has forced the hand of Electricity Minister Karim Wahid, who resigned Monday.
In a news conference the same day, Wahid said the ministry could not keep up with demand and did not have enough money, adding that the situation was out of its control.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki defended his government and Wahid. He blamed Iraqis for consuming too much electricity, squatters for tapping into and overwhelming the electrical grid, and the previous parliament for not approving billions of dollars for infrastructure projects to be undertaken with several foreign firms, forcing the government to take out about $2.1 billion in bonds this year.
I think there's a place for al-Maliki in Versailles. Don't you?