Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Next Stop: Your Fiery, Confined Death

So, plans are underway to build a $3 billion subway system in Baghdad. Yes, that Baghdad. You know, here. Where, in case you haven't heard, this has been going on for a minute.

This is probably one of those notorious civic projects that will take decades and go waaaay over-budget to accomplish. And you have to think that the Iraqi Cabinet that earmarked the project is optimistically treating it as such, because why else would they even consider it at this time?

The infrastructure in Baghdad is, at best, in shambles.

On average, Baghdad residents only have working electricity for twelve hours a day. Many have it for a mere one hour a day. Plus, in a city that averages temperatures of over 110°F in the summer, there's been water shortages that sometimes go on for a week at a time. Contributing to that is a major sewage treatment plant being built in the area, used to process waste and produce clean water, that is costing three times the original budget amount and is three years behind schedule. And on top of all that, there's no reliable system for trash removal, so entire streets have turned into public dumps.

These are just a few of the many framework issues for one of the world's fastest growing cities (expected to reach the 10 million citizen mark in the next 15 years) and they all seem to warrant top priority.

There's been huge congestion problems on the roads due to a spike in vehicle ownership after the "liberation", attributed to lifted sanctions, slashes in customs rates and of course, miles of security walls and hundreds of check points set up by security forces --the subway is seen as the only solution to relieve traffic.

But at this time of uncertainty, civil unrest, religious insurgency and foreign occupation in Baghdad, I just cringe at the idea of confining thousands of citizens in fast moving boxes in underground corridors crisscrossing the city.

I don't know, is it just me or doesn't that just seem like a perfect place for some rabble-rouser to cause a little trouble?

Maybe I'm just paranoid.

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