Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Baghdad Death Map

Iraqis Offer Their Own Security Assessment of Baghdad Neighborhoods


In their distinctive style of morbid humor, resourceful Baghdadis are circulating emails presenting their own personal assessment of the security situation in the capital. The detailed lists of what neighborhoods and areas are safe and what to avoid completely, because of Mahdi Army or Al-Qaeda activity or the random car bomb, are quite different from those found in Iraqi government or U.S. military statements. As many parts of the capital have become no-go zones for members of either the Sunni or Shia sect – or sometimes for both, it is a challenge for Baghdadis to identify areas where they are able to move freely and areas where they should better stay out.

The following is a translation of one such email making the rounds among residents of Baghdad and on Iraqi Web forums. The sarcastic email, which was written in Iraqi slang, attempts to classify the districts of Baghdad based on their level of danger. According to the author, the safest neighborhoods are the ones where the odds of staying alive are 50%: