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Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2003

Iraqis find little sympathy for American outage

August 16, 2003

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— A power generator hummed in the corner of a popular Baghdad menswear shop where Leith Tamimi sat smirking Friday as he listened to news of the massive electrical blackout that plagued the northeastern United States for the second day.

"It's not in Iraqi nature to be happy when someone is suffering, but I thank God for allowing them to see how we live," Tamimi said. "I saw Americans on TV and they were enraged. If they were enraged after two days without power, how do they think we feel after four months?"

Iraqis, who have endured widespread power outages since the U.S.-led war ended in April, expressed little sympathy for the Americans who got a dose of life without lights or air conditioning -- or water, for some -- when a major electricity grid shut down Thursday afternoon.

Baghdad residents gloated over stories of New Yorkers stuck in subways. Many Iraqis said they thought the blackout was a gift from God to show Americans the hardships of life without electricity and, they hoped, to speed coalition efforts to bring electricity back to Iraq.

"Imagine how we've been waiting here for electricity," said Talib Alrubaiyi, a 54-year-old English teacher. "I don't want to hear about Americans complaining over two little days. Their power is back, but how long will we wait?"

People line up to purchase blocks of ice as temperatures rise to
113 degrees in the shade in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqis
-- who have suffered sweltering conditions for months because of
blackouts since the war began -- hope Americans will now understand
their predicament after the power outage in parts of the United
States and Canada.

People line up to purchase blocks of ice as temperatures rise to 113 degrees in the shade in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqis -- who have suffered sweltering conditions for months because of blackouts since the war began -- hope Americans will now understand their predicament after the power outage in parts of the United States and Canada.

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