[Images: Sam Dagher produced this good little slideshow for the CS Monitor on the ways the Baghdad Security walls, which are miles and miles in length, have completely re-organized the livelihoods of Baghdad's residents. What's most tragic perhaps is how people have been forced to resign to the walls, these total hydrologic-like inner-city security dams for any kind of semblance of being able to carry on normally. Even though the walls have -- to some extent -- removed the volatile element from many dangerous neighborhoods it's as if their city had been left now invaded by a malevolent species of medieval fortifications instead; a little spawn of green zones fancied out of infectious panes of concrete that have spread all over the streets, blocking alleys, removing corridors, amputating thoroughfares, choking public space.
Not only have we removed Saddam's face from every wall in Baghdad -- probably considered by the 'liberators' as the greatest urban facelift of all times -- but now we have completely exacerbated any tyranny of the wall that existed with essentially reams and reams of new added wall space to literally enforce the rule of law over there (if we can even call it that). Even if the municipality paints them with pretty pictures (ironically enough of nature and history) the architectural trade-off of the dismal American post-invasion reality over there is a more than heavy scar to burden on the psyche day-in and day-out. Baghdad might not be watched by Saddam from every wall today but it sure has been re-traumatized by a wholly different and multiplicitous wall-worn mentality, that's for sure. (All photos by Sam Dagher, from Baghdad safer, but it's a life behind walls, 12/10/07.)
While you are at it, in case you missed it, check out this earlier video of the Wall around Adhamiya neighborhood in Baghdad.]