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« Quick Photo Gallery of Iraq | Main | Found on a Mountainside »

March 15, 2007

More Photos (and Mystery) from Iraq

-Patrick S Lasswell

I apologize for not putting a more substantive post up, but ten hours of mountain driving on back roads knocked me for a loop. Here are some more photos from Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan.

New Mall in Erbil.jpg

There is a shiny new mall going up in Erbil. The person in the orange suit with the mop is from Bangledesh and he is keeping the mall shiny. There is so much work in Kurdistan that they are bringing in guest workers. This is The Other Iraq.

Building the New and Remembering the Past at the Mall in Erbil.jpg

There is a graveyard in the middle of the construction of the new mall. So far the construction people failed to erase history. They still remember and honor their dead in Kurdistan.

Mysteries of the East One Must Accept.jpg

There are some mysteries of the East one must learn to accept. We will probably never know why this person needed a dozen or more bidets on their roof.

Going Arbor Day One Better.jpg

I'm not certain why this man was taking his tree out for a walk. I've long been a supporter of Arbor Day, but this seems a bit much. Another Mystery of the East.

InReTech in Iraq.jpg

LED blogging in Iraq! My friend Mike [] who made these lights wants me to update my earlier post. The LEDs in these lights are very bright, but they have also been "throttled down" to conserve energy and extend service life. The impressive part is not that they lit up the alley behind my hotel, it's that they did so with very little power and could continue to do so for decades. Anybody can overdrive an LED to make it bright, these are bright while underdriven. Email Mike for technical details.


I'm a resident foreign journalist here. Take a closer look at Hawler. Nearly 40% of the local population here are jobless. The handful of foreign workers you've seen are here because they are willing to work for 7 days a week for less than $200 a month. The reality of the situation is that the economic boom which the region appears to be experiencing will only benefit a small percentage of Kurds. We have to survive on 3 hours electricity a day, an intermittent water supply, blocked sewers, roads which have been repaired in years. Poverty is the main concern here. Prosperity is what the visiting journalists like to write about.

Mystery solved! The tree is several years old and is ready to be transplanted into a garden. As someone who works in a garden center I find this very interesting -- it means there are people who have been growing trees for transplant for at least five years and it represents a long term investment on both the part of the grower and the part of the buyer.

So do the bidets.

On the other hand, it's early here in MA and I just got up.

Just dropping by to see what you're up to and look at your pictures :) One of these times I want to go with you...just for the photography. It's shiny.

Not for fabric. Honest :)


Thanks for showing your Saddam Apologist's face more clearly over in Michael Totten's blog.

It must really gall you no end that the local Communist Party doesn't agree.

The construction cranes sprouted over the city of Irbil and as a rule of thumb, each one represents 100 workers/jobs. The friends I had in the city mostly had two jobs and yes, they were not paid well. But there were plenty of jobs to be had. I lived for almost a year in Aynkawa in the north, visiting Sulaymaniyeh and the Souk, but shopping mostly at what we called the "bazaar" near the Citadel in Irbil. The shopping malls were always crowded and the business brisk. The government and the people held onto their socialist/oil economy attitudes, but the marketplace was changing. The roads were being paved, new construction going up, both commercial and residential, and new roads were being built (to Dahuk, i.e.). "Mike" is being wrong-headed.

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