Monthly Archives: May 2010
|May 28, 2010||Filled under Uncategorized|
By Gabriel Gatehouse BBC News, Baghdad- At the Palestine Hotel in central Baghdad, Tahseen Salim is drawing a cutter along a pane of glass, trimming it down to size. He and his team of glaziers have been working here every day for four months now. On 25 January a massive car bomb detonated outside the Palestine. It was part of a […]
He and his team of glaziers have been working here every day for four months now.
On 25 January a massive car bomb detonated outside the Palestine. It was part of a co-ordinated series of blasts targeting hotels in the capital, which killed dozens of people.
Four months later, parts of the hotel are still in tatters, debris everywhere, twisted window frames, rubble and piles of broken glass.
“At first we were working 24 hours a day,” Mr Salim says.
“When we got here, the hotel was in chaos. Nearly all the windows had been shattered. We’re still working flat-out. We even have a room here where we can stay overnight.”
Mr Salim estimates that he and his team have replaced 2,700 sq m (29,000 sq ft) of glass so far.
This is a huge contract. The Palestine is one of Baghdad’s largest hotels. Mr Salim runs his own business and employs about 15 workers to help him. He is prospering.
But there is an uncomfortable tension inherent in his success.
“Business has been good for me since 2003,” he says, a little defensively.
“When there are explosions, people come to me because my work is good and I charge reasonable rates. But then some people say that I am benefiting from these bombings. That upsets me.
Mr Salim says the constant insinuation of profiteering has worn him down over the years. He now avoids doing jobs in busy public areas, preferring to work in the relative seclusion of hotels and other large projects.
January’s attack wasn’t the first time the Palestine had been targeted. In 2005 a cement mixer packed with explosives rammed its way through the hotel’s blast walls.
Then, as now, Mr Salim was called in to repair the damage.
“Before this latest explosion, I had done a lot of good work here. When I saw all my work destroyed, it really pained my heart,” he says.
“I really hate it when people say I am…(Full Story)