Twitter is alive with news and views [#Iraq, #Basra, etc.], but the U.S. media gives little weight to what is potentially the most important news out of Iraq these days. The protests seem to have begun with people demanding, peacefully!, for Qassim al-Fahdawi to step down. As Minister of Electricity he has shown little progress and his investigations into solar power seem quite out of touch with the current realities of people's lives. To be fair he has recently signed a Siemens to upgrade the power infrastructure, but no work has begun, and dates have not been set.
It has been over 115F/46C since the beginning August. Baghdad saw 120F/50C at the beginning of the month, and the protests there were huge in spite of the heat.
Followed by the U.S press for a few days, and then sporadically (if the Friday masses are large enough for dramatic photos), coverage has been light and barely informative. Headlines brag about the relatively useless killing of this or that easily replaced ISIS 'leader' but do little to shine light on what is a growing and persistent non-violent attempt to end the dark nights, and unairconditioned days of the majority of Iraq's citizens. The elite seem to do OK with generous allotments of power and fuel.
As with all social movements this one is growing in scope, now addressing a wide range of grievances including poor water quality and a lack of basic services . There is a loud call to end government corruption. Women are taking prominent roles in the demonstrations. Tents are being erected to shelter those who have been driven by dire circumstances to pledge continuous protests.
August 22, 2015 by B.Wallace, 121Contact