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Monday, 23 April, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Apr 07, 05:22 PM

Boris YeltsinFormer Russian president Boris Yeltsin dies - Tim Whewell assesses his legacy.

Plus: danger to British Challenger tanks in Iraq; social responsibility; French presidential election; and WiFi fears.

Gavin hosts Monday's programme - join the debate below.

'I have no future in Iraq'

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Apr 07, 04:19 PM

As part of Salam Pax's Window on Iraq - for Newsnight's continuing in depth Iraq coverage - Baghdad student Ahmed despairs of life in Baghdad after university.

US checkpoint in Baghdad
The security situation in Iraq is very bad and maybe this affects us young people the most. We can't find jobs, there is nothing to do for fun and even going to college is difficult.

I was hoping things would get better after the war. And in the begining they did: we saw things in Iraq which we have not seen before like satellite television and mobile phones. It was a good period but it didn't last for more than a couple of months. Then the explosions, the killings and the kidnappings began.

I never thought it would get this bad. Who would have thought that we would have curfews at six in the afternoon and all shops closing at 5pm? Shops used to stay open until 10pm at night in Baghdad.

About a year ago I had a conversation with a friend about the situation and our future. He told me that maybe by the time I graduate many local and foreign businesses would open in Iraq and we would have lots of job opportunities.

Unfortunately what I see today is that the few businesses which did start up after the war are closing down.

Most of my friends who graduated can't find any work and many have left the country. Those who are working here are in professions which have nothing to do with their university degrees.

I would be lucky to find work at a private business because they pay better than the government does but then again working in government buildings is safer because they have better security.

Sun over BaghdadWherever I find a job it has to be well paid because the cost of living has gone up so much, with every salary increase everything around us gets more expensive.

Nothing I see on the news shocks me anymore. I have seen worse on the streets with my own eyes, there is so much violence and not all of it gets mentioned in the news.

I don't really see any difference in the situation since the start of the new security plan. There are more checkpoints and more house-to-house searches but the explosions are the same and so is the kidnapping and the killing. Nothing different.

I find it very difficult to talk of my future in Iraq. Who knows where the next car bomb might go off? If I do stay alive until I get my degree the first thing I want to do is leave. I don't have any hope that the situation in my country is going to get better.

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