This latest NYT photo from Baghdad draws a parallel between a city recently riddled in violence, and a Baghdad that has been subdued — and is now simply lawless. The accompanying article (“Nonstop Theft and Bribery Stagger Iraq”) — profiling a guy running a car wash with bootlegged city water, who sleeps in a nearby abandoned government building without paying any rent — is meant to showcase a city cited as the 3rd most corrupt in the world.
With this man fixing his aim and covering his face like a desperado, the analogy is that we’re pretty much back where we started. But then, what are we to expect in the way of order in Baghdad after completely undermining the structure that was in place, sitting back and watching, then spending four years and tens of thousands of lives before finally tamping down the explosion that ensued?
In the video that accompanies the article, the “proprietor,” Abbas Wadi Kadhim — obviously defensive and ashamed about what he’s doing — angrily asserts to the camera that, desperate to support his family, he could be doing far worse things. Perhaps the bigger issue at this point, however, is who are we to even be hinting at his morality?
(…Oops, I forgot. The photo above is just a thumbnail. You have to click on it to get the whole picture.)
(image: Michael Kamber. December 1, 2007. Baghdad. nytimes.com)