Baghdad (Fides Service) – “Despite the lack of security in most of Iraq people are trying to return to normal day to day living ” says Father Nizar Semaan of Ninive diocese. “At Karakoush, a Christian town of 25,000 near Mosul, in northern Iraq, school pupils are preparing for exams; many tell me they are glad the exams are being held and that they can finish the school year. In this area the situation is relatively calm no episodes of violence are reported”.
“However in Baghdad the situation is more complex – says Father Nizar. Some districts are quiet but in others chaos and violence reign. Because there is no regular police service, to protect themselves and their property many wealthy shopkeepers employ private security guards. Sad to say a few days ago unidentified persons desecrated and sacked Our Lady of Salvation church in the Kharrada district. Kharrada district was badly damaged during the US led war because there were number of government buildings here. Most of the capital is still isolated from the outside world, telephones do not work. Only two city districts can be reached by telephone from abroad because the local telephones exchanges were not damaged.”
“From the economic point of view, not many people have jobs” says Father Nizar. “But the US administration is paying wages and pensions to state workers: 20 dollars a month, enough to buy food although not meat. The United Nations have reopened their offices and started distributing food and medicines again.” LM (Fides Service 24/6/2003 EM lines 27 Words: 319)