2008 May 05 Monday
Walled Communities Bring Revival In Iraq

Surely a model for America's Latin American demographic future, walls and gated communities bring peace and prosperity to Iraq.

Baghdad - There is big excitement on al-Marifah Street. City workers are installing a new transformer to bring power to a part of the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Saidiyah that hasn't been on the city's electrical grid for more than a year.

"A year ago, dead bodies lay on this street for days; no one dared to pick them up. But now we are getting lights and shops have opened back up," says Mahdi Jabbar Falah, a 40-year resident who has just moved himself and his family of nine back to their house. They fled last year after Mr. Jabbar received a bullet in an envelope, a sure sign he was on someone's hit list.

"Last year, this was a ghost town," he says, "but now I feel we are alive again."

If you are young do not choose a low paying occupation. Don't spend years trying to earn a Ph.D. to then work as a post doc and then an assistant professor. You need to think in terms of the walled gated community once America's lower classes swell up and come to define the national culture. The walls make for a much better lifestyle as the Iraqis can surely attest. Learn lessons from this war.

Saidiyah is one of the many neighborhoods and towns in and around Baghdad that residents abandoned during the worst of the sectarian violence. Officials there estimate that more than half the area's 60,000 people moved out. Now, many are moving back and the trucks overflowing with household goods coming through al-Marifah Street attest to that.

But there has been a price to pay: Saidiyah is now surrounded by a 12-foot-tall concrete wall, a barrier that the US military completed four months ago. Long lines of cars await inspection by the Iraqi Army at the town's one public entrance, while pedestrians submit to a pat-down.

One guy in the article claims the walls do not bother him since he can't see them from his house. Well there, I hadn't thought of it that way. If you can see in advance where the walls will go up around your community the good real estate play is to buy at a location that won't be in eyesight of the walls. You heard it here first.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 May 05 09:08 PM  MidEast Iraq Partition

HellKaiserRyo said at May 5, 2008 9:53 PM:

Too bad we cannot just build a border fence and turn the dummies into hikkikomori.

blue said at May 6, 2008 7:37 AM:

But aren't universities themselves walled communities in a way? The people at university are likely to be above average.

Bob Badour said at May 6, 2008 9:25 AM:

Even better, buy a house for cheap because it has a view of the walls, and plant a tree that will grow to block that part of the view. ;)

averros said at May 7, 2008 10:31 AM:

What do you think will happen to these people when the US military finally gets out?

My guess is that a lot of them will be summarily executed as collaborators with invaders, and the walls will be of no help whatsoever.

Randall Parker said at May 7, 2008 6:15 PM:

When the US military gets out I expect civil war. I do not know if Iraq will split up. A Shia faction will win. If the victory occurs rapidly then civilian deaths will be fairly low.

averros said at May 9, 2008 9:04 PM:

> If the victory occurs rapidly then civilian deaths will be fairly low.

You have distinctly rose-colored notion of human nature. If the "victory" occurs rapidly, there won't be Sunni in Iraq any longer.

The only way for a weaker side in a religious civil war to survive is to force the other side to impasse, until even the most thick-skulled thugs start to understand that nobody wins.

Randall Parker said at May 10, 2008 9:08 AM:


The Sunnis have ruled the Shias and vice versa for a long time without wiping each other out. Your position is ahistorical.

Either Iraq will partition or the Sunnis will submit to Shia rule.

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