Sophia's Peace Work

Sunday, April 04, 2004

There has been alot of violence over the past few days. The coalition has closed down a newspapers and they detained one of Muqtada Al Sadr's (a prominant shia cleric and firebrand) associates ... Last week, I was actually stuck inside the Green Zone trying to get out when there was a protest going on at one of the main entrances.

"I wouldn't go out that way, Miss," said the soldier at the checkpoint. I was with a young Iraqi gentleman when this happened. We decided to part company. He went out the gate and past the mass of protestors. I hopped the Green Zone bus and drove with several other people trying to leave the Zone to look for another gate that wasn't blocked by protesters (apparently several were).

Today, there were more protest (and I heard many deaths ... mostly in Najaf). Shots were fired down at the Baghdad Hotel ... I don't know if any were hurt. I was across town when it happened and only found out when a friend called to alert us. I live in Karada, just a few miles from the Baghdad Hotel. When I returned home, people in my apartment building said they had heard a long burst of sustained gunfire.

"And it didn't sound like they were celebrating a wedding," one neighbor said.

But walking through the streets of Karada, you wouldn't have noticed much of a change. People pause and wonder what might be going on but then they shrug it off and go about their business. They have grown used to this. I walked down to the Baghdad Hotel about two hours after the incident. Some American tanks drove in behind it's huge cement barracades but nothing else seemed different. There were the same armed guards lounging around the entrance. The excitement, if you could call it that, had long worn off.


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