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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Iraqis' daily lives
Throughout 7 April, the BBC News website asked people from all walks of life, all over Iraq to tell us about their everyday experiences.

Almost three years after Saddam Hussein's government was toppled, life remains uncertain for many Iraqis.

Read the entries below to see how their day unfolded.

Majid Talib, 25, English teacher, Basra, 1920 (1520 GMT)

The day has ended with some exciting news - one of my best friends has a new baby girl, his first child.

Majid Talib
She was born this afternoon and now he will make a feast. He lives in the same town as me, just a safe 20 minute walk away.

On these occasions he will slaughter a sheep and make a feast with rice and invite all his friends. But in our tradition only family can see the baby or his wife, so they will not be there.

The feast will last for maybe two hours, and we will finish with some tea or other drinks. I don't know exactly what he has prepared, but I know it will be nice.

'Lulu', Civil engineer, Baghdad, 1910 (1510 GMT).

I heard about the executions in the mosque today. The television news is saying that many people have been killed and injured.

My brothers and sisters feel bad about this. My sister should have stayed here with me until sunset, but she's gone home early in case there is further trouble or a curfew later on.

We are afraid.

We now have two days' holiday in Iraq, but we can't do much, or go anywhere, because we're afraid that something might happen.

I've cancelled an appointment with the dentist because the clinic is near the mosque that was attacked, and I expect the worst if I leave the house.

Life must continue though - I'll go another time.

Samiah Ilmadi, 40, Social worker, near Dohuk 1810 (1410 GMT).

I've been farming all afternoon, and looking after the sheep. I am very tired!

In half an hour we'll have some tea, and then dinner at 1900.

Tara Rashid, 40, Ophthalmologist, Baghdad, 1739 (1339 GMT).

We wonder when this will stop. Are they planning to terminate all Iraqis? They are killing at random.

I know this mosque, Baratha. It is in a poor district but it is an important mosque for many Shia.

They believe that Mary gave birth to Jesus here, not in Bethlehem, and that Imam Ali discovered a holy well when he was here with his army.

It is old but often renovated. It houses valuable books and family trees of people living in Iraq for hundreds of years. When my friend had a problem with his ID card under Saddam Hussein he went to the mosque to trace his family history and prove he was Iraqi, not Persian.

But this is like attacking Big Ben in London. Many Shia come to Baghdad just to visit this mosque.

I hope it will be a peaceful sunset, because people are getting mad.

Tarek Yassin, 47, Civil engineer, Baghdad, 1725 (1325 GMT).

I did hear an explosion, but this has become trivial for us lately. At first we would go about asking people what happened and there would be a commotion.

Now if your family is near you, you don't worry. Only if they are not and there is an explosion in a public place would I get worried and try to find out what happened.

Murder in Iraq has become truly absurd. Sometimes people with nothing to do with religion, politics, economy, or anything else get assassinated.

Why? Sometimes naive people, simple people, get assassinated. How do we understand why these things happen?

Right now I'm killing time by enjoying a game of solitaire on my computer. The problem is I've got electricity now, but no internet.

The fish was great.

Haider, TV chat show host, Basra, 1710 (1310 GMT).

We are trying to get people to talk in a frank way, a truthful way. But it is difficult.

We are a new democracy. And everyone knows there are red lines - issues you cannot talk about.

Religion is the first red line here. Security is another one. People are blaming all three sides for the problems with the economy - the local government, the foreign forces and the central government.

People say the local government should be more active in their work. They blame the central government for not ending the political problem.

And thirdly, people are blaming the multi-national forces because they say they have the technology, they have the money to help, but they suspect that in fact they don't want stability in Iraq.

Um Mustafa, Hairdresser, Baghdad, 1700(1300 GMT).

There has been a large explosion at a Shia mosque in the city. I heard a loud bang, but it seemed like it came from far away. Then I saw the news on the TV.

Work went on as usual. Thank God, work was alright today.

'Lulu', Civil engineer, Baghdad, 1655 (1255 GMT).

Just after our last conversation we heard gunfire lasting for two minutes.

The children were playing in the garden but when they heard the shooting they came inside. They know what the shooting means.

My brother jokes that maybe the shooting is people celebrating the forming of a government, but we all laugh at that.

I didn't know about the bombing of a mosque in Baghdad because I have not had the news since the early morning. But I don't like to see blood. It makes me very upset and I can't continue working.

It's not useful to talk about the government all the time. It makes everyone sad.

Majid Talib, 25, English teacher, Basra, 1645 (1245 GMT).

I went to the doctor earlier at 1400 to get my wrist seen.

It didn't seem too bad, but I hurt it when I fell playing football yesterday evening and I couldn't move it for a while.

Majid Talib
The doctor told me the wrist would heal by itself, and gave me some painkillers. It feels a lot better now.

There were five other people ahead of me in the queue for the doctor.

I only waited 30 minutes, but if I had not been able to go to the doctor until now, I would have waited for two hours.

Most people coming to see the doctor come in from a large area, so they don't arrive until after 1600, so it gets very busy.

I'm lucky - because I live so close, I got there earlier.

This evening I'm going to the barbers for a haircut, then I'll spend some time with a friend.

Hayder Hussein, Architect, Baghdad, 1615 (1215 GMT).

Today is a day of rest, so we have done some work for the house - shopping for food and bottles of gas.

But in 45 minutes we have a special event at my house - someone is coming to ask for our agreement to marry my sister.

It is very traditional, a society ritual.

He will come with his family, and all the men will go to one room - he and his father will be with us, while his mother and sisters will be in another room.

It is a happy occasion. His family is Sunni and we are Shia, so this is special. We don't have any problems over this, because we are just normal people living here in Baghdad.

We know them better than we know some of our cousins in other countries.

Ali Jasim, 39, Police officer, Baghdad, 1601 (1201 GMT).

We are now at the police station having a break and eating our lunch after being replaced by another police patrol from our colleagues.

After finishing lunch we need to write a report to update our bosses regarding any incidents and anything we noticed during our patrol time.

Also, I need to do my prayers because although I was on duty near a mosque I was very busy during that time.

I would describe today as being a quiet one - we obviously hope that everyday would be quiet for our people, our families and our children who all suffer so much from the security situation.

Elwan al-Elwan, Sculptor, Baghdad, 1543 (1143 GMT)

I have completed some of my work, but it has been quiet so far today.

Elwan al-Elwan

I heard shots before, but it was some people were firing in the air at a nearby funeral.

That was annoying me for a while, but I plan to go on working now.

Barbara Dridi, 53, NGO director, Dohuk, 1501 (1101 GMT).

Training has finished, and I'm now eating a Kurdish-Persian lunch of rice, meat, potatoes and tomato sauce with my friend Farida.

Barbara Dridi
Farida is going to help me plan the lessons for tomorrow in Kurdish.

After lunch I have to go and work on another proposal for some more funding for democracy workshops and other projects.

We do a lot of work on citizen activism, and we get US funding even though we are an Iraqi NGO.

We're concerned about changing social attitudes between men and women, reducing things like honour killing and encouraging community discussions.

I have plenty of time to finish the proposal as the US is eight hours behind Iraq, but our internet connection is broken because the street has been ripped up, so I will probably have to find somewhere else with a connection.

Salaam Ismail, Doctor, 1430 (1030 GMT).

I came from Basra just yesterday.

I saw a prosthesis clinic, where they treat the victims of cluster bombs and mines - mainly children. Their number is increasing and nobody is saying anything about that.

The children don't have any hope of getting a prosthesis. This clinic can only produce 30 or 40 prosthetics a month - and the waiting list is eight months. You can imagine - eight months!

There are now eight children running around in the garden, playing games like musical chairs.

And they are not treating the upper limbs - only the lower limbs because they do not have any technicians.

I'm trying to be optimistic about the future. From all that the darkness, there are some good points after the invasion.

There is a new generation, new blood is flowing inside the vessels of Iraq's tissue now.

I think the first problem we have to solve is the abundance of weapons on the streets of Iraq. This is the main cause of violence.

This violence is not only against patients, it is against doctors.

Sometimes you feel hopeless - how can you provide any help for them?

Tarek Yassin, 47, Civil engineer, Baghdad, 1410 (1010 GMT).

I woke up at 0900 and I had to go to the market to fetch some tools to fix my lamp.

I also bought some fruit and vegetables and we are now preparing a nice Friday meal of grilled fish, which we will take with us to my sister in law's for lunch.

I also had coffee with my brother, and we discussed the latest political developments.

My sister-in-law's home is very close to us, but the route we take is more like a labyrinth, as all the streets are blocked by the trunks of palm trees as a security precaution to gain more control of traffic.

So we take a twisted path by car to get there. This precaution was actually taken by the locals here, not by the government.

Waria Salhi, Businessman, Kirkuk, 1400 (1000 GMT)

We had a few problems at the project site. The quality of the work is not good enough - Iraqis are not used to having quality work done.

Waria Salhi
I have to be there 24 hours a day, otherwise it doesn't matter how much training you give them, they will always do the work without attention to detail.

Now I am in my office with two friends having some lunch. After that I will try to take a shower and rest for one hour.

Then I will go to the funeral of my friend's daughter, and after that maybe I will take a walk in the countryside to relax. It is the springtime and the city is very calm today.

'Lulu', Civil engineer, Baghdad, 1333 (0833 GMT).

My sister has arrived with her family, it has become like a madhouse!

My mother and brother have been to the market to collect fish for lunch, fresh from the Tigris.

I am happy though, the house is very noisy and I am "Auntie" for the day.

Tara Rashid, 40, Ophthalmologist, 1255 (0855 GMT).

Today we have decided to stay at home. To be honest, all other activities are out of the question.

There are no places to go. You can go for lunch in a restaurant, but it has to be very quick because you don't know what is going to happen.

I am a member of the Al-Alwayia club, but there are not many people to see there these days.

People are worried, they don't want to have an accident while making a small visit. If you get hit by a bomb or an improvised device you at least want to have a good reason.

Ali Jasim, 39, Police officer, Baghdad, 1242 (0842 GMT).

We've just stopped near the main mosque in the district we're patrolling and have just setup a check point at the main road near to the mosque.

We are responsible for the main road and there are guards for the mosque who are checking the people going to the mosque.

So far it is still quiet, although there are a lot of people entering the mosque.

I can say it hasn't been a hard day today so far, but as you know, we expect that anything could happen at any moment because this is Iraq.

Majid Talib, 25, English teacher, Basra, 1235 (0835 GMT).

So I took my documents to the embassy, but I could only speak to the interpreter at the gate.

Majid Talib

He said there were no scholarships at the moment and that I had to keep checking the website.

I'm really disappointed.

But I will keep on trying.

After lunch I have to go to the doctor to check my wrist - I fell on it when playing football yesterday and I can't move it.

Sometimes there is a queue of over 20 people.

So I will have to think of something to do tonight to make me happy after this day!

Barbara Dridi, 53, NGO director, Dohuk, 1155 (0755 GMT)

We have just taken a break from our environmental training session and we're relaxing outside in the warm sunshine now.

Barbara Dridi
I am training four agricultural engineers and one school art teacher who are preparing to work in schools for the first time.

We spent an hour talking about flowers - how to grow sunflowers and the best ways to plant seeds.

My organisation, Concordia, has a government grant to begin environmental education in 25 schools.

We have big problems in Kurdistan: chemical weapons were used in the past, and people regularly throw trash all over the place.

Nobody thinks about doing what people in the US and Europe worked on 40 or 50 years ago.

Um Mustafa, Hairdresser, Baghdad, 1148 (0748GMT).

Just now we've got electricity, but I'll bet you it won't last more than a couple of hours at most.

We never have time to enjoy our national electricity. We switch to our own engines once it goes.

I've been in the shop since morning. Not surprisingly, there's no one here yet, no customers.

People are generally more afraid in the morning. Eventually they venture out.

It is normal for us to see police cars and gunmen and the Americans all over the place, without knowing what on earth is going on.

We just see them there, blocking roads, clashing with someone, firing at each other. Every day. It's become routine.

We're afraid of any car on the streets. How can you know if it's rigged or not? You can't. We just pray and then leave home for work.

We're sitting around. We're not feeling secure at all. We're scared. But what can we do?

Samiah Ilmadi, 40, Social worker, near Dohuk, 1125 (0725 GMT).

I'm in the car with my family, heading up to the mountains to my husband's village.

The children are excited to get there, the journey is about 30 km (19 miles).

It's very small - many of the homes were destroyed by Saddam's men so there are hardly any people there.

The people are very poor but they are trying to rebuild.

We will prepare to make lunch when we arrive, but there is no gas or petrol there so we will make traditional Peshmerga food by wood fire, and take our time.

'Lulu', Civil engineer, Baghdad, 1118 (0718 GMT).

We are still waiting for my sister to arrive with her children, but my brother's children are awake and happy. The sun is still shining, it's a nice spring day.

My brother has gone to Karbala to work, so his wife and his children are in my flat. He has a big car and takes tourists to see the holy places in the city.

I'm holding his one-year-old son out here in the garden. He just saw a cat and tried to say hello, but the cat was afraid.

My mother is preparing the chicken biryani and the dolma, stuffed vine leaves, and we are just waiting for my sister.

There are already five children here in the house, but when my sister arrives there will be eight.

Said Muhsin, 28, Ex-International footballer, Najaf, 1103 (0703 GMT).

I'm just hanging around with my friends. We're watching sports programs on television.

Said Muhsin

We can't play football outside Najaf because of the security situation. I just play with the same people here in Najaf every time.

I played for the national team in 2003, after the invasion.

The situation is dreadful.

Football is all we have.

Ali Jasim, 39, Police officer, Baghdad, 1050 (0650 GMT).

I am now with one of our police patrols.

It consists of 3 vehicles and 15 men, patrolling one of the main roads in Baghdad.

It is Friday and therefore the streets are quiet.

There is also a mosque within the area in which we are patrolling and it will soon be Friday prayers - guarding the mosque is in our plans today.

Whilst we are patrolling we accept anything that may happen, such as roadside bombs, car bombs and even if armed men open fire against us - so it is not easy to be in a police car and do the rounds in Baghdad streets these days.

Karim Rasan, Artist, Baghdad, 1034 (0634 GMT)

I'm working in the studio on a few paintings.

I've got the canvass and I have a number of orders to finish.

Usually I do a lot of work for Arab buyers, but today I'm finishing an order for an Iraqi who lives in Paris.

I work at home. I used to have a separate studio, but after the events (the US-led invasion) it's no longer possible to travel around, so I work from home.

Sometimes I go to Amman and get some work done there.

Amman is our only outlet now, since it's so difficult and expensive to travel by plane.

Waria Salhi, Businessman, Kirkuk, 1020 (0620 GMT)

Today was supposed to be a day off, but something has come up and I have to work now.

Waria Salhi
I'm getting ready and have told my guards to prepare the cars to take me to the project that I need to check. After that I will have to come back and write up a review.

There will be no time to relax this afternoon.

I have to go and support a friend.

His daughter was killed earlier this week and it is her funeral.

Elwan al-Elwan, Sculptor, Baghdad, 0959 (0559 GMT)

My day is like any other Iraqi's day: full of tragedy. We live under the dual threat of occupation and terrorism.

Elwan al-Elwan
I am now at work, which is very close to where I live. I have an exhibition in Amman this summer, and I am working on some sculptures inspired by life in Iraq.

One of them is a sculpture of people walking, with only feet ahead of them. It represents the sinister future ahead. Another is a sculpture of a man on a stairway, the Iraqi symbol for nostalgia. It is where we get together to play as kids.

I have no other plans for the day other than work. No Iraqis have any plans. What can you do under such circumstances, other than work and go home?

You know how it is by watching the news, but the fact is, reality is much worse than what you see in the news. While at work I forget everything else. How else would I be able to get it done?

Zainab el-Khafaji, Science teacher, Baghdad, 0940 (0540 GMT).

Today, as on every Friday, I complete whatever housework I couldn't finish during the week.

We all stay at home, and in the evening we will go to my parents' home just a few minutes walk from here.

During Saddam's time, we would stay at my parents' place until 12 or 1 am, because things were secure.

Now we can't do that anymore.

We go to the mosque for Friday prayers, and it's the same ordeal getting there and back as it is on work days.

Mosques are also targeted, despite all the security they now place outside them.

During Saddam's rule, I was a photographer. But after the invasion, I can't get away too far from home because of the security situation, so I'm never able to photograph what I want to.

It's forced me to change careers and give up doing what I like.

Tara Rashid, 40, Ophthalmologist, Baghdad, 0859 (0459 GMT).

The water supply has returned to this part of Baghdad after 48 hours, so things are getting back to normal.

Today is a rare day when I am not at work at the hospital and off call.

Unless of course there is a massive emergency, which is possible.

My plans for the day? In Iraq you can't make plans for the next hour, you don't have your own destiny.

It was my mother's birthday yesterday. She made a wish, as is tradition.

She asked for peace in Iraq - just for one day.

All being well she will be cooking a big meal for us later, roast chicken - her speciality.

Majid Talib, 25, English teacher, Basra, 0813 (0413 GMT).

Today is a big day for me.

Majid Talib
I am going to the British consulate, in one of the old presidential palaces down by the river, to see if I can get a scholarship to study English in the UK.

It is my dream to get a scholarship so that I can qualify professional English teachers to teach the children here.

I hear they are receiving people at 9 am so I will let you know what happens later on.

Ali Jasim, 39, Police officer, Baghdad, 0800 (0400 GMT).

As usual I leave home around 0715, so I have just arrived at the police station.

When I leave home, my wife is of course worried and she always says expressions such as be careful, take care, God keep you safe and she reads a verse of the Koran.

I always travel to work from home by car. I don't wear a police uniform but civil clothes an I change when I arrive at the police station.

I have just received my work schedule from my colleague and am planning what to do today.

Barbara Dridi, 53, NGO director, Dohuk, 0730 (0330 GMT).

Barbara Dridi
It's nice to see some sunshine after rain here for the past couple of days. It's cool and clear, not many people are up yet because of the holiday, so it's quiet.

I was up at 4 am this morning to prepare a lesson plan for some environmental training that we're doing today.

Concordia, my organisation, is all about raising social awareness and teaching Iraqis about the environment is a big part of that.

We're a small outfit though, so I end up working most holidays, unlike most people.

In fact, I have to get to the office now to start printing off our training material.

'Lulu', Civil engineer, Baghdad, 0640 (0240 GMT).

I woke at 6am with the sun shining for another bright day.

Today is the start of 4 days of holiday here in Iraq, to mark the fall of Saddam Hussein.

It will be a day with the family today.

My sister will come round with her 3 children and we will have a big lunch all together.

When my mother wakes up she will start to prepare a rice and meat dish called biryani and stuffed vine leaves.

The children look forward to coming round, they live in an apartment and they cannot go outside. They have room to play here in our family's big house.

This is the quiet time in the house, before my brother's children wake up and the house comes alive.


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