Friday, July 07, 2006

Rising Fuel Costs

Fuel prices have risen like crazy here in the States, and likewise back in Baghdad. I remember last summer, my husband and I wanted to fuel up our rental car (in Virginia), but the nearest gas station price was $2.33 per gallon of regular gas. A couple of weeks later, the prices had risen to $3.09 per gallon, and now they're around $3.22 per gallon. Here's a little excerpt from my journal of an adventure we had back in December 2005 when fuel prices first started rising in Baghdad.
Sunday December 25, 2005
Assalamu alaykum. On Friday night, we had an interesting scare here in our neighborhood. (Hubby) and I were spreading the carpet in our extra bedroom (5 month old Suma had just gotten to sleep after a hectic day) when we heard a really loud, close explosion around 7:15ish pm. We were surprised, but went on with our work (I actually heard a closer explosion after the first one, but (hubby) didn’t; so I figured something might be up). (Hubby) decided to go upstairs (onto the roof) and see if he could see anything. He came back down and told me to get dressed quickly and to bring Sumy. I was like, “Why? She just went to sleep.” He said that the kerosene tank in the gas station (very close to our house) had exploded and there were huge flames shooting up. The whole street was leaving, out of fear that the rest of the benzene tanks would catch on fire, and possibly affect our houses. (When we left the house, I saw the huge flames burning in the not so distant horizon. It was quite scary seeing such a huge fire, so close by, but at the time, I thought that this was a natural accident, due to lack of safe conditions. I did not think that it was the work of insurgents).
We went to (hubby’s) aunt’s house (Amma Suad), (continued on February 11) and got back home after 10 pm. The fire was still raging, and stayed that way until after 1 am. But alhamdulillah, it didn’t spread.
(June 12, 2006): We later found out that some arsonist had set fire to this station and to other stations, protesting rising gas/diesel/kerosene costs.

After decades of Saddam clamping down on their right to free speech, some Iraqis have become quite expressive in their forms of protest.


your hubby's sister... said...

what an idiot.. that's a great way to get your word across.. just burn down the whole city why don't you.. goodness.. some people, it honestly boggles my mind how stupid some people can be. I'm glad you guys were okay, alhamdulillah.

I love Munich said...

I can only echo "your hubby's sister"!! What an idiotic thing to do!! Thank GOD you came out of this nightmare without a scratch!!
I am shocked as well about the prices in the States right now ... GOSH - I remember having been outraged in 1985 when they finally broke the magic ONE DOLLAR barrier!!!
God knows where all that will lead ... I can't see light at the end of the tunnel yet though - sadly enough! ALL foreigners would have to leave first ... and there would have to be someone REALLY STRONG and loyal to the people to start rebuilding this great country! I don't see even a shadow of such a person yet though ...

misneach said...

"expressive in their protest"

Fatima your capacity for dry understatement adds much needed levity to troubling stories.

I remember seeing G.W. making statements prior to the 2000 election and again in 2004 around election time about how "we will not play politics with the strategic oil reserve" in America, but the situation has gotten desparate enough that he's suggested in recent weeks to tap into emergency supplies to try to lower prices in the U.S.

Based on my understanding of the situation, the only people who have benefitted from the oil-inspired invasion of Iraq have been (the companies that received defence-budget contracts and) those who were given control of the Iraqi oil supplies, specifically since the invasion and continuing tension with Iran have pushed the price of crude well above previous record highs. I don't think that this has worked out well for anyone on ground level in any fashion: peace- and security- wise, financially, or otherwise. Even the apparent impotus for the invasion seems to have backfired with the soaring cost of petrol, leading to widespread discontent as evidenced by the "expressive" (i'm sorry but I can't help but smile about the way you stated that) protest.

I hope everyone close to you is OK after the bloody weekend we had in Iraq. I pray for the safety of those affected and hope that changes are made soon.

بارك الله.