Author and Middle East expert Amir Taheri spent several days on the ground in Iraq last week and found reality to be starkly different from what is so ubiquitously reported.
MOST hospitals are functioning again with essential medical supplies trickling in for the first time since 1999. Also, some 85 percent of primary and secondary schools and all but two of the nation's universities have reopened with a full turnout of pupils and teachers.
The difference is that there no longer are any mukahebrat (secret police) agents roaming the campuses and sitting at the back of classrooms to make sure lecturers and students do not discuss forbidden topics. Nor are the students required to start every day with a solemn oath of allegiance to the dictator
THERE are two Iraqs today: One as portrayed by those in America and Europe who wish to use it as a means of damaging Bush and Blair, and the other as it really exists, home to 24 million people with many hopes and aspirations and, naturally, some anxiety about the future.
"After we have aired our grievances we remember the essential point: Saddam is gone," says Mohsen Saleh, a geologist in Baghdad. "A man who is cured of cancer does not complain about a common cold."
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After reading so many headlines of doom and gloom in Iraq and guerillas attacking our troops while they are trying to stabilize the country, there may be another side of the story that is not making headlines.
"MOST hospitals are functioning again with essential medical supplies trickling in for the first time since 1999"