Saturday, February 22, 2003
Salam Pax of Where is Raed? got some hate mail recently after he criticized the "human shields" descending upon Baghdhad. Here's an excerpt from his Friday posting in response:
Anyway, what really got my goat this time was finding out that they get food coupons worth 15,000 dinars per meal, 3 for every day.fifteen thousan. Do you know how much the monthly food ration for a 4 person family is worth, for a whole month not per meal (real cost, not subsidized) ? 30,000 dinars, if you get someone to buy the bad rice they give you for a decent price. 15,000. What are they eating? A whole lamb every meal? Let's put this within context. Today in the morning Raed, our friend G. and I went for a late big breakfast we had 2 tishreeb bagilas (can't explain that, you have to be an Iraqi to get it otherwise it sounds inedible) and a makhlama (which is an omelet with minced meat), tea, fizzy drinks and argila afterwards (the water-pipe-thingy) all for 4,750 dinars, and we were not going super cheap. A lunch in any above-average restaurant will not be more than 8,000 dinars and that includes everything. 15,000 thousand is a meal in a super expensive restaurant in Arasat Street, in one of those places that really almost have an "only foreigners allowed, no Iraqis welcome unless you are UN staff" sign on it. I will stop calling them tourist when they stop taking all this pampering from the Iraqi government. Did I tell you about the tours?
Apparently, the Iraqi government took human shields on a tour of Babylon, I gather now an archaelogical site.
I have a tip for all freelance journalists who are not getting their Visas. Join your colleagues. It's the best way to get past the visa thing, every third one of these "shields" will be writing an article somewhere. Hurry contact your local "war tourism" travel agent. Sorry, I just don't get it. What are they doing here? So, that should get me enough hate mail for the next couple of days.