The streets in the Shi’ite bastion of Sadr city often flood with sewage. This is one of Baghdad’s poorest areas, where unemployment is rampant and infrastructures are in disrepair. Idan Hizam lives in his parents’ house with his wife and four children. He does the odd small job, but four years after the fall of Saddam finding a permanent post has been impossible. He said: “I was fired from the police force in February, 1985, and no one recruits me. I am hurt. I am the breadwinner of the family. My brother was executed and I was hurt.
The family’s three room house is also home to the seven members of Idan’s sister, who was forced to flee a Sunni district because of violence. She said: “We fled our home when my brother was killed and my father was paralysed. This is my brother’s son and we are living with my grandparents who are very poor.” These residents say they had expected things might improve after the fall of Saddam, but so far there is no sign of progress.
Umm Abdul Wahab is a Sunni Muslim displaced from her home in the mainly Shi’ite neighbourhood of Tobji. She and her family have been forced to move three times in four years. She is one of many who say they felt more secure under Saddam’s regime. After ten years in the former Iraqi army, her husband is without a salary and unemployed. She said: “I had to take my daughter out of school because of the killings and kidnappings. How can you feel secure? I feel afraid when my two sons go out, but what can I do? I send them to work as cleaners at government offices.” This family, like many others, say their most pressing concern now is the violence and lack of security.