LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Some in Baghdad Reluctant to Rebuild
Aired June 5, 2003 - 19:37 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) war with terror was the war with Iraq, of course. And nearly two months after the fall of Baghdad, people in the Iraqi capital remain in the limbo of sorts. The past has crumbled around them, the future still a question mark, a walk through the streets can be a journey into the surreal. And while many say they have everything to gain in the new Iraq, CNN's Jane Arraf shows us those who have nothing left to lose.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing to do with Saddam, I said. Why did they do this?
JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): This is also the new Iraq. In this house, a part of old Baghdad lies in pieces. This craft and cultural center, Ahmel Alvarhis' life's work and family's former summer home was shattered in the looting and burning as the capital fell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No Iraqi would do it.
ARRAF (on camera): You don't think they did it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Not in the name of God like this stone and on the floor.
ARRAF (voice-over): But they were Iraqis, a and this is the second time Ahmel has faced rebuilding the house. In 1991, the 19th century home on the river was damaged by bombing. She restored it. And by emphasizing culture and avoiding politics, turned it into one of very few places where foreigners and Iraqis could meet under the Saddam Hussein's regime.
This post-war damage is much worse. Friends like artist Nuh Halrahvi (ph) tell Ahmel she has to try again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't cry. We've got to have a little bit of hope. I don't know where the hope is going to going to come from, but we've got to have it. That's it. We build it up again. We don't give up easily.
ARRAF: But the new Iraq is a confusing place. Three doors down, another building owned by Ahmel's family has been occupied by a faction of the communist party, banned under Saddam Hussein. In an argument on the street, the lines of old Baghdad and the new Iraq are clearly drawn.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where did you come from? Where was your place before?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not Slamania (ph), this is Baghdad. So would you like me to go to Slamania and occupy one of your buildings there?
ARRAF: And if that weren't upsetting enough just across the street a huge explosion as U.S. soldiers throw a grenade into a building to scare away looters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is that? What is that?
ARRAF: Across town at Ahmel's home, the loudest sound is the birds singing. They're particularly loud since all the glass was shattered by bombing across the river.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the rockets here in the house, 24 hours, rockets, bombs, cluster bombs, everything.
ARRAF: Ahmel, who's family has been in Iraq for 400 years, says she's lost hope for her country. She doesn't know whether she'll rebuild again. But in the garden she loves with it's cardimum (ph) and jasmine and gardenia, at least one thing has gone right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, we have water. My God.
ARRAF: Surrounded by devastation, something will still grown.
Jane Arraf, CNN, Baghdad.
COOPER: Some hope there, perhaps.
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