A then civilized land of glory now world’s worst city to live

A then civilized land of glory now world’s worst city to live
Sat Mar 22, 2014 09:17:04

Baghdad, as a model city in the Arab world in 1970s, after decades of seemingly endless conflict, is now the world's worst city, a consulting group says.

That is, at least, according to the latest survey by the Mercer consulting group, which when assessing quality of life across 239 cities, measuring factors including political stability, crime and pollution, placed Baghdad last.

The Iraqi capital was lumped with Bangui in the conflict-hit Central African Republic and the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, the latest confirmation of the 1,250-year-old city's fall from grace as a global intellectual, economic and political center.

Residents of Baghdad contend with near-daily attacks, a lack of electricity and clean water, poor sewerage and drainage systems, rampant corruption, regular gridlock, high unemployment and a myriad other problems.

"We live in a military barracks," complained Hamid al-Daraji, a paper salesman, referring to the ubiquitous checkpoints, concrete blast walls and security forces peppered throughout the city.

"The rich and the poor share the same suffering," the 48-year-old continued. "The rich might be subjected at any moment to an explosion, a kidnapping, or a killing, just like the poor.”

"Our lives are ones where we face death at any moment."

Construction of the city on the Tigris River first began in 762 AD during the rule of Abbasid Caliph Abu Jaafar al-Mansur, and it has played a pivotal role in Arab and Islamic society ever since.

In the 20th century, Baghdad was held up as a gleaming example of a modern Arab city with some of the region's best universities and museums, a highly-educated elite, a vibrant cultural scene and top-notch healthcare.

Officials still note how their counterparts from the region would hold up Baghdad's international airport as a model, and oil cartel OPEC was founded in the Iraqi capital.

Massive concrete walls, designed to withstand the impact of explosions, still divide up confessional-mixed neighborhoods, while the government sits in the heavily-fortified Green Zone, which is also home to parliament and the US and British embassies, access to which is difficult for ordinary Iraqis.

In February alone, 57 violent incidents struck the Iraqi capital, including 31 car bombs.


string(1353) "[{"id":"1542498","sort":"3182798","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/12/08/alalam_635221103065200253_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Bombings kill 16 in Baghdad province"} ,{"id":"1548194","sort":"3182799","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/12/25/alalam_635235958999601285_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Blasts in Baghdad market kill 35"} ,{"id":"1554014","sort":"3182800","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/01/12/alalam_635251272364616891_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Bombings kill 20 in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad"} ,{"id":"1557177","sort":"3182801","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/01/20/alalam_635258335156562450_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"26 killed, scores wounded in Baghdad bomb blasts"} ,{"id":"1560786","sort":"3182802","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/01/30/alalam_635266899030187940_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Iraqi troops free officials taken as hostage in Baghdad"} ,{"id":"1562696","sort":"3182803","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/05/alalam_635271980971071182_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Car bombs near Baghdad's Green Zone kill 25"} ,{"id":"1572463","sort":"3182804","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/05/alalam_635296172925923316_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Baghdad blasts targeting Shias kill 12"} ,{"id":"1577665","sort":"3182805","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/20/alalam_635309270907739437_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"13 people die in Baghdad café as al-Qaeda shows muscle"} ]"