I'm back to work after a whole month in Baghdad. Yes, I'm still alive and kicking. My boss had temporarily suspended me because of the unexplained absence, and the Basrah health director had decided to cut a week from my salary. My colleague dentist says he can't actually do that, but that he probably just pocketed the money. Personally, I would give him the whole salary if I were able to stay in Baghdad until the situation is clear.
There was a roadside bomb explosion against a British patrol close to the Basrah Court this morning, and mortar attacks against the CPA headquarters (Basrawis are learning fast). The most interesting things to observe were black signs mourning some former Ba'athists who were killed in Fallujah. Last year, following the war, a large number of high ranking Ba'athists from Basrah left to Fallujah, Ramadi, and other towns in the Anbar governorate for fear of revenge from the locals. Their dead bodies are now returning.
Security precautions have increased over here, and for the first time streets leading to IP stations and vital facilities are being blocked. Basrawis are still stunned by the latest wave of violence and suicide attacks that have plagued their once 'relatively' peaceful city. And some lovely posters of Muqty are plastered all over town.