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Baghdad students to neglect war and gander for love

Baghdad students who have seen war from a long time is now ignoring it and are looking for love

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Student taking lecture in Baghdad . Image Source: www.wikipedia.org
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War is all Baghdad University students have ever known.

Iraq is awash in armed groups, targeted killings, sectarian bombings, and Islamic State brutality. Perhaps because of that, students prefer to focus on their future, their friends, Facebook and love.

The university campus is closed off by two checkpoints, but once inside, tree-lined driveways and green park-like spaces surround the somewhat tired classroom buildings.

Inside, students are getting ready to take their final exams- milling around the classroom, laughing and chatting.

The young women are well-coiffed, with perfectly straightened hair, high-definition eyebrows and glossed lips.

The more conservative women wear long sleeves and cover their hair, but scarves are red or blue, and the long skirts are form fitting. Other women wear their hair loose, and are in jeans and blouses.

Young men are laughing, some sporting the latest haircut of close-cropped sides and a long mop of hair on top.

Graduate students flying off their hats. Image Source: wkimedia commons
Graduate students flying off their hats.
Image Source: wkimedia commons

FILE – Baghdad University graduates wave national flags as they celebrate during a graduation ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq, July 14, 2012.

Most of these students were toddlers when U.S. soldiers stormed into Iraq in 2003, and they were not even teenagers when al-Qaida was terrorizing the country.

Since then, violence has become a way of life. Islamic State is just one in a string of nightmares to deal with on a daily basis.

A large bomb exploded in east Baghdad just as the students were taking their exams. They shrugged it off.

Hamid Muwaffak laughs with his friends on a bench underneath a tree on the campus’s main square, near the cafeteria where Nestle Toll House has just opened a stand.

Also Read: Baghdadi killed, how he built caliphate

He has no idea why anyone would want to join IS.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe they’re getting paid but, personally, I don’t know why someone would kill people and blow himself up. I don’t know, and I’m sure if the government knew why, they would do something about it. I just don’t know.”

A mechanical engineering student who is about to graduate, Muwaffak is more worried about finding work.

“I’m in my fourth year and I am thinking about my future, what I will do,” he said. “I hope that when I graduate, I can find a job, start my career. But for now, the situation is not very good. There are no jobs, unless you have the backing of someone important.”

It’s a thinly veiled reference to the vast corruption and nepotism that dominates Iraq.

‘Trying to have fun’

But in spite of, or perhaps because of, the armed checkpoints and blast walls outside the campus, the students say life in Baghdad is like any other city.

Sajida, who would only give her first name, constantly plays with her fashionably straightened long black hair as she talks with friends.

“Even if there is a war, we can live a normal life, like we go out, we have fun, we make love stories. Even if there is a war, there is love,” she said.

She says she goes to restaurants, cafes and malls, she enjoys being with her friends, and she spends a lot of time on her cellphone. She laughs that she is not a great student.

But for Sajida, there is more to life than war.

“We are just trying to have fun, forget about wars,” she said.

Many Iraqis would like to do the same, if only they could. (VOA)

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  • Shubhi Mangla

    These students are the future of Iraq….glad to know that they are devoid of any hatred!

  • Archita aggarwal

    A moove towards peace

  • Shubhi Mangla

    These students are the future of Iraq….glad to know that they are devoid of any hatred!

  • Archita aggarwal

    A moove towards peace

Next Story

US Backtracks on Iraqi, Kurd Cease-fire Claim

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An Iraqi soldier removes a Kurdish flag from Altun Kupri
An Iraqi soldier removes a Kurdish flag from Altun Kupri on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq. VOA

Iraq, October 27: The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State announced Friday morning a cease-fire between Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga in Northern Iraq but quickly backtracked on the claim, saying it is not an “official” cease-fire.

Army spokesman Ryan Dillon posted a clarification on Twitter to say “both parties (are) talking with one another,” but that a “cease-fire” had not been reached.

The Iraqi military and the Kurdish minority have been clashing for several weeks after the Iraqi troops moved to secure areas in northern Iraq that had been seized from IS jihadists by Kurdish forces. The Kurdish forces abandoned the land largely without resistance, though low-level clashes have been reported.

Iraqi PM rejects Kurdish offer

The areas Iraqi forces are moving into were mostly under Baghdad’s control in 2014, when Islamic State militants swept into the region. Kurdish Peshmerga and coalition forces recaptured the lands, and the Kurdistan Region has since held them.

The Iraqi leadership said it is retaking the areas to establish federal authority after a Kurdish referendum for independence in September threatened the nation’s unity. More than 92 percent of Kurds in Iraq voted “yes” in a vote Baghdad called illegal, and the international community leaders said was dangerous and ill-timed.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday rejected an offer by Kurdish leaders to freeze the results of their independence referendum in favor of dialogue in order to avoid further conflict.

The Kurdistan Regional Government, in a statement, said the confrontations have hurt both sides and could lead to ongoing bloodshed and social unrest in Iraq.

“Certainly, continued fighting does not lead any side to victory, but it will drive the country towards disarray and chaos, affecting all aspects of life,” the KRG said.

‘Unified Iraq is the only way to go’

Abadi said in a statement his government will accept only the annulment of the referendum and respect for the constitution.

During a briefing Friday morning at the Pentagon, Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie Jr. told reporters the U.S. believes “a unified Iraq is the only way to go forward.”

He added, “We’re not helping anyone attack anyone else inside Iraq, either the Kurds or the Iraqis.”(VOA)