Every Friday for the past two months, Iraqis have gathered in large numbers in downtown Baghdad to demonstrate against the lack of basic services and security. Iraqis are fed up and are taking to the streets to show their dissatisfaction. During this hottest of summers, the ongoing issues center around paramount and persistent lack of electricity. After years of investment and struggle, the public grid is still not able to provide enough electricity where people wouldn’t need to turn to more expensive private sources. Those option are only available to mid level income Iraqis which leaves a lot of the population unable to afford them. The government in turn is starting to listen and under the stewardship of PM Abadi, is starting to take steps towards making changes
What’s noteworthy is the fact that Iraqis now can and are utilizing their freedom to express dissatisfaction which is in sharp contrast to the Saddam days where protests weren’t something that can even be conceived let alone carried out. As I write in my book Baghdad Stories, in the Iraq of 2002, you couldn’t even point out or take photos of government palaces and you would be killed for any anti government activity. The road getting from there to here has been long and deadly, but if these peaceful protests continue, it will be the only way to bring about change.