Sunday, June 10, 2007

Let Them Drink Solvent

At Jadriyah Dry Cleaners in Baghdad, there is a storeroom for clothes left behind by Iraqis who fled the country because of the war.

Faisal Waleed, 32, who runs the store, says that if the owners don't return, he will donate the clothing to the poor.
Marie Antoinette couldn't have found a more appalling "human interest" story.
The number of dry cleaners operating in Baghdad has dwindled since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 because many owners also left Iraq, Waleed says.

For those brave enough to stay, business has been good, in part because of the city's lack of reliable electricity and water service.
But USA TODAY has its quota to fill.
"People cannot wash their clothes at home anymore," Waleed says.
And the weekly does of "good news from Iraq" goes on ...
"Also, people's salaries are better now, so rich people don't want to make themselves tired washing their own clothes."

Confident of his business prospects, Waleed last month left his old job — where he had worked since he was 12 -- to open his own shop on a busy Baghdad street.

He and his business partner invested $50,000 in the new shop, which has seven industrial-size washing machines and dryers, a steam presser and other equipment.

"My old boss came here and threatened to kill me for leaving him and taking away his business," Waleed says. "But he was mainly angry because he loves me very much and raised me like a son."
And besides, after 20 years a guy should open up his own shop. Especially if he's only 32.

And if the electricity and water supply aren't so reliable, well then...