Saturday, January 15, 2011

Iraqis Empire of Dirt by Sean Dusk

Life in Iraq's squatter settlements revolves around the humblest commodity, trash. Iraqis scavenge through piles of garbage to find anything of value that can be used to purchase the basic needs of life for their families. Hiding from police, racing to grab as much as they can before the garbage man comes.

In Squatter cities, houses are right against one another. Iraq's with hands covered in dirt, not bathing for days, families on the edge. Surviving off the scraps that come from the spoils of American Imperialism. Coddle the plutocrats, let everyone else fend for themselves. 

There is around 42 squatter settlements, with as many as 600,000 Iraq's surrounding Baghdad.  After sectarian violence erupted, Iraqis left in masses to escape the violence. With the violence subsiding, unemployment and housing shortages, Iraqis flee to these squats building wallless shacks on land that's "illegal" trading trash on an underground market. These squatter settlements are growing exponentially, because their is no hope left in a parasitic system. 

Since these squats are extralegal, there is little education, medical care, sewage, electricity or clean water. Children are forced to collect trash and security forces think they are hiding IED's "improvised explosive devices." Using wood to heat the shacks, oil is to expense. A sewage drain in the bathroom, the neighborhood roamed by crooks and thieves.

Rules have arisen in the trash piles. Informal turf agreements so there is no squabbling over the same territory, timing is everything. The biggest harvest is during the holiday seasons. Trash is drying up, there is 2 recycling plants under construction and the garbage trucks come at night. The mayor of Baghdad considers these individuals a bad mark on society and says in the future they will have to get jobs.

Fact is, this individuals have found a way to survive off the waste. They will find a way to survive after these piles of trash are gone. But for now they will survive in a society all their own with rules of their choosing and will do so in the future. 

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