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Last Updated: Monday, 13 June, 2005, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
My Day in Iraq: Former teacher
As part of the BBC News website's One Day in Iraq coverage on 7 June, we heard from people from all walks of life, all over the country.

Here you can read more from "Mateen Dooski", 50, a Kurdish unemployed former teacher who lives in Dohuk, a medium-sized city in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq.

Usually I wake up early in the morning. At the moment, I'm unemployed in that I'm not on any payroll, but I have my own project - I'm constructing a commercial building in Dohuk - so I have that to work on.

Dohuk city, northern Iraq
Dohuk remains largely untouched by the violence
Today was a beautiful day - very clear, no clouds, a nice breeze. Although summer officially began on 1 June, it's still not too hot, only 30C to 35C. In the days to come it will reach 40, 45, maybe 50C.

Life here is quite normal. Compared to other parts of the country, I can say Dohuk is the safest place in Iraq. We are in the north-west of Iraq, along the border with Syria and Turkey. The situation is close to normal, everybody can go to work without any concern about security.

We have had few security incidents, there have been a few small explosions, but fortunately no casualties, except unfortunately the latest one, which was about two weeks ago, when a traffic policeman died.

I live with my wife and sons. I have five children aged between 10 and 20. Unfortunately we didn't have any daughters, only sons!

All my sons are students and the eldest ones are taking their exams, they'll be finishing in a week. The others are a bit younger, they've finished their exams, and are now enjoying their summer holidays.

Economic impact

For me, being unemployed isn't a very big problem, because I've been working for 30 years and have assets I can live on. It's more of a problem for graduates and people without a house, a car. Finding a good job which is well paid is a problem.

Everyone has an ambition to have a house, and a car, and get married, and make a family, and that's not easy here.

The internal market is still very poor, unemployment is high, because infrastructure is weak, we don't have good industries, good factories, and everyone is depending on the government sector for jobs.

But we are still better off than others, because Dohuk is a very commercial area because of its geographical situation. It is a kind of gate to the outside world, so many people are employed in commerce, in trading.

You can buy everything in the market here - goods come from Europe, Turkey, Syria, China, and go on through Dohuk to Iran to the former Russian republics, to Pakistan, Afghanistan.

The problem is, the quality has gone down, and inflation is very high, so the goods are much more expensive. Emigrants who left during Saddam's time have come back from Europe and America and when they see and compare prices they are saying Dohuk is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

So although wages have gone up - maybe on average tenfold, from $10 a month to not less than $100 per month - that will hardly suffice to cover your daily requirements.

As well as families returning from other parts of the world, Dohuk has seen many families come back from the south, especially Baghdad. Many want to escape the security situation in other parts of the country.

There are restrictions - the authorities are not letting everybody come here, except those who were originally from this part of the country. From the 1960s on there was a bad policy here - a systematic policy of Arabisation, to make sure this area is vacated of its population. But that is changing now.

TV news

In the evenings, sometimes I stay at home, looking after my project. Sometimes people go out to walk around, sometimes they go for picnics, because this is a very nice mountainous area, there are summer resorts, and most of the families have lots of cars because they are very cheap nowadays. People get their families, they go out, even at 11, 12 at night.

Tonight, I stayed out with my sons until 10pm, then I came home and had supper with my family, and watched television - I usually listen to the local news with my wife. Today there was an important session of the Kurdish parliament, there was a vote on a new presidential law, so that was an important event for people here.

Every single family here has a satellite dish, but they don't always watch the national news because they are sick of the insurgency.

We know these people don't have a cause, they are fighting for what? It's ridiculous that they commit this kind of violence.


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