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Savouring our Schadenfreude

Sunday, June 29, 2014

“When the Canadian writer Paul Roberts visited Baghdad in the 1990s he wrote of the ‘inner carnage and horror’ that eclipsed the more obvious physical neglect of Baghdad under the UN sanctions. ‘The minds of its inhabitants have been tampered with in an infinitely crueler, probably irreparable manner,’ he wrote. ‘For over 20 years, what has been happening to Iraq amounts to a psychological holocaust.’ No one was safe, and everyone knew it.”
Justin Marozzi, author of Baghdad: City of Peace,City of Blood



I woke with a start at 2.30 am on Thursday morning to a pinging noise: a text from a friend that the daughter of our mutual friend was killed in a vehicular accident near MovieTowne. The unverified information I got was that she was reportedly driving out of Movie Towne and past a green traffic light when she collided with a 20-wheeler multi-lift crane that killed her instantly. The police “escort”—that facilitated the truck breaking the traffic light—had shot too far ahead to be of any use either to pedestrians or motorists by the traffic lights. 


I didn’t go back to bed. If the account of what I’ve heard turns out to be true, the question to ask is: why did the police escort (presumably policemen on motorbikes) not do its job of actually escorting the truck, and of ensuring the safety of pedestrians and drivers on the road, instead of shooting forward? And why are we not surprised at what appears to be gross negligence?


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