A glimpse into the remarkable advancement of the economy of Iraq.
An average of 50 trailers of soft drinks drop their cargo at Jamilah daily compared to one or two before the war. The price of a can of Pepsi has fallen by more than half to 20 cents.Please note that last point. In spite of the violence that continues to plague parts of the country, the economy is improving, along with quality of life for the people.
"The Iranians have sent me $50,000 (26,000 pounds) worth of confectionery without asking for a bill. They are so keen on a distributor. They know Iraqis are starting to spend," Aibi said.
U.S. officials say Iraq's economy is seeing consumer-led growth, helped by an increase in public sector salaries and the fall of the business elite who monopolised Iraq's resources and discouraged independent private enterprise.
"The private sector is recovering from the hostilities. We are laying the regulatory framework so the practices of the old regime do not creep back in," said an official in the U.S.-led administration of Iraq.
Wages have climbed sharply under the occupation, although unemployment remains rampant. A street cleaner is paid around $3 a day, as much as the average government worker's monthly salary during the sanctions era.
Businesses are expanding slowly, although security and a legal system to enforce contracts are lacking.
Nabil Mamo, a prominent surgeon, said demand for private health care was rising and he would soon reopen his eye care centre, which was looted after the war.
"There is no credible state protection yet," Mamo said. "But things have definitely changed for the better. I see it in my patients and their willingness to spend."
And who is responsible then for the downside, the violence? That must be laid at the feet of the Islamic jihadists with their own theocratic agendas. Our soldiers and the growing number of Iraqi counterparts in the police force and the civil defense are doing everything they can to prevent the killings and the bombings.
And underneath the attention grabbing headlines the truth is we have unleashed a broad force of economic opportunity that, if allowed to, will perpetuate and expand itself.
Consider it in the light of this single statement:
"My sister bought a refrigerator and a television with her new salary. She needed decades to afford them before," he said.Consider that in light of what we take as normal. Imagine if you even can the joy of, for the first time ever, owning a refrigerator.
That is what we've done.
And then, consider what the lady with the refrigerator and TV for the first time would think if she knew this
About 80 people turned out Monday night at the Bausch & Lomb Public Library to listen to poets express outrage over the war in Iraq.Doesn't it seem tha Poets Against Liberation and Happiness might be a more apt name for these geniuses?
The event was the second annual Rochester Poets Against the War & Occupation. Twenty-six poets read from their works.