No More Newspapers
Iraqis are facing different threatens every day and the Insurgents are always looking for new ways to fight the new government and the Americans in Iraq; the newest target is the bookshops that sell newspapers.
Khalid Bookshop was the first target for the new insurgents’ strategy; it is the oldest bookshop at Rabi Street, west of Baghdad, it was set on fire around 9 pm on Monday, no casualties but every thing in the book shop was burned.
Khalid Book shop is one of the land marks of Rabi Street, “It was established 29 years ago” as Khalid Ani, the owner of the bookshop said.
Ani said that around 9 pm Monday, he received a phone call saying that his book shop was on fire, the metal shutter that locks the bookshop was blown out, the shop was all on fire and the fire was going out of the shop, “people said that they heard an explosion but I do not know what happened and why”, Ani added.
One of the bookshop costumers said, “It is all because of the newspapers, all the bookshops were threatened to stop selling newspapers because they are all ‘mouth peaces’ for the government”.
Ani said that he did not receive any threatens otherwise he would stop selling newspapers as he was one of the main distributors of newspapers west of Baghdad, many small bookshops get their newspapers from him.
The fire ate all the books, many Korans (Muslims Holly Book) were on the floor either burned or half burned, some workers were cleaning the shop, which the fire turned all its walls and roof into black; Khalid was standing in the middle of the shop, sad and scared, “I can not say any thing, I afraid to say any thing that will make every thing worse, thanks God that we are all alive and no one was hurt”, Ani said.
I drove with my friend for about 2 Miles to the west of Rabi Street to the dangerous Amiriyah Neighborhood, most of the shops on the main street were closed at the middle of the day, people there said that most of the shops here stopped opening their shops a week ago because of the dangerous situation at this area; Iraqi and American military forces were patrolling the area all the time; I felt unsafe and I was turning my to all directions to be sure that no armed men in the streets or no suspicious cars that could be car bombes specially when we passed by military checkpoints.
The Ministry of Interior Commandos set check points on the main street to Amiriyah to search the cars going to or from that area, “Hide your ID card, don’t you know where you are at”, one of the police commandoes at the check point told me when he was asking who were we and after we told him that we are a reporters.
A book Shop owner at Amiriyah, said, “the threaten letters were not distributed here to the bookshops but in the Newspapers Exchange Stock at Bab al- Muadham few days ago and since that we stopped bringing newspapers to our bookshop so did many others”
“We are going to close the bookshop, Even though that we do not have another source for living but it is better than being killed”, the bookshop owner added.
I did not see any of those people who sells newspapers at the traffic light intersection areas, but some bookshops were still selling newspapers and said that they did not hear about those threatens.
In a visit to a friend who works in an Iraqi newspaper he confirmed this news but he said that the main reason for these threatens was that few days ago all the newspapers had a contract to run a half page advertisement that had pictures for wanted insurgents with their full names including the tribal name.
This Iraqi journalist who works for an Iraqi paper told me that, the wanted insurgents names in this advertisement were all for Iraqis; there was another advertisement that run before, but it was for a wanted Arab insurgents from outside Iraq; no one threaten the newspapers at that time, they did not care but when the newspapers started putting the wanted Iraqi insurgents pictures and names advertisement in their papers they were threatened, some papers were threatened by exploding their headquarters or killing their dealers at the Newspapers Exchange Stock or by bombing any bookshop that sells those newspapers with this advertisement.
“This is how it started, the threatens was not for the newspapers it self but for the newspapers that runs this advertisement but later on the word separated that any one will deal with newspapers will be killed and because the people do not want to take chances they just stop dealing with newspapers”, the Iraqi journalist added.
When I was going back to my house I told my friend, “No mater what was the reason, do not buy any newspapers for the time being”.
“I do not think that the situation in Iraq will be better”, I told my friend in our way back, “I wish that it will stay like this and will not get worse”, my friend replay..
I agreed with him because,
I was there..