Thursday, April 17, 2008

seatbelt laws in Baghdad

The NYTimes on Iraqi traffic cops. Poignant piece on the symbolism of following certain laws. My favorite bit:

... brigades of traffic officers trying valiantly to do their jobs have been a constant in an ever-changing landscape of war and chaos over the last five years. And as traffic police officers warned Baghdad drivers earlier this week that seat belt enforcement was about to begin, many drivers said it was probably a good thing.

“It is a symbol of civilization,” said a taxi driver, Ahmed Wahayid, whose 1993 Hyundai Elantra was stuck in a long line of cars waiting to clear a checkpoint. “Western people in Europe and America have it, so we are like them.” Mr. Wahayid said he could not find words to describe the traffic in Baghdad. “It’s a very, very bad feeling, and if I didn’t need to drive in order to eat and live I wouldn’t,” he said. ...

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