Tracking ID UA-126977798-1
Summertime and the livin ain't easy...
It is early morning and already 37 degrees Celsius (97.6 F). In a few hours the temperature will rise to 43 C (107 F). This is summer as usual in the Kurdish region but this year the power situation and who receives their "current" when, is the burning question in the KRG and in all of Iraq. After three weeks of protest with at least 30 people killed and many more injured, the Minister of Electricity and Power, Mr. Qassem al Fahdawi was fired yesterday.
While this action may bring more scrutiny to the department and shine a light on some of their corrupt practices, the desired outcome (by most people) is for more "juice" so they may can use their refrigerator consistently, have access to (the rationed) running water, connect with wifi, use their appliances and even turn on air conditioning-if they have it at their place of work or homes. Who receives power when, where and how often, is still a matter of repairing and re-wiring infrastructure, maintaining grids in extremes of weather over time, as well as delegating responsible rather than corrupt officials at the local, district, regional and national levels. "Since the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq has allocated some $40 billion in state funds to rebuild its power network and meet the needs of a 38-million-strong population, official figures show.
But much of that has been siphoned off by politicians and businessmen in a country listed by Transparency International as the world’s 12th-most corrupt." Oman Daily Observer, July 30, 2018.
We receive a few hours of "city power" each 24 hour period -usually late at night-when we can use major appliances such as the washing machine, air conditioner unit and then more hours of "basic power" which runs lights, small fans and the water pump. I need to go outside to manually turn on or flip the switch at the box on the neighborhood pole (see photo on right for my Ankawa fuse box) but considering the condition of these outdoor boxes in extreme weather and the DIY wiring (see photo on the left) I am amazed and grateful it works at all.
Fortunately we do have adequate power at the university and final exams for the summer session just finished. We conducted them in comfort. (see photo below) This was a community class which included high school students, professional people from both Christian and Muslim communities and other university students from the Kurdish community. It was a challenge to incorporate different levels, ages, abilities and ethnicities with few resources; but we managed. Then we celebrated together peacefully which is an achievement in itself especially given the recent events and historical past here.
In the past few years Turkey has escalated their use of hydro warfare. The results of building the Isilu and Karakaya dams have resulted in as much as a 40% drop in water available to Iraq. Even with international pressure, Turkey does not heed the warnings about the negative humanitarian and ecological consequences resulting from their engineering (see links below for more historical background and analysis of these issues). Many suspect it is their intent to "dry out" the Kurdish region, create a weakened, more vulnerable population and use the desperation of the suffering population for some of their more nefarious enterprises as well as for political, social and economic strangleholds. There is also a correlation between the reported rise in organ trade/trafficking in Turkey and their military and social engineering campaigns. (see articles linked below and do more research online about this criminal enterprise).
The current Turkish government leaders do not want to see a separate region and governing body of/and for Kurdish people. Since the rivers end in Iraq, Iraqis pay the heaviest price no matter what their ethnic background or religion.
For those of you who live in places where water is plentiful, clean and readily available remember how fortunate you are. If you live in a place where you have the choice of turning on the tap for hot or cold water you are doubly lucky. Here the water is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I can wash off dust, grit and sweat but the running water doesn't cool me down. Water truly is life and deprivation of water results in ill health and ultimately, death. Death which knows no boundaries, no discrimination.
From near the Nineveh plains, thank you for your support.