Sep 25, 2006

The most despised men in Iraq

The generator men, who keep the lights on when the national power grid fails.
“My generator man?” seethed a seemingly well-adjusted, middle-class mother in Baghdad one recent sleep-deprived morning. “I want to cut his head off.”

Many Iraqis say the generator man employs various tricks to try to save himself money: he starts his generator late and turns it off early; he prolongs repairs after breakdowns, both real and bogus; he claims he cannot get fuel because of national fuel shortages. Yet, they say, he never reimburses customers for lost hours.

“They are a bunch of thieves!” said Yusra, 47, an industrial engineer who lives in the relatively prosperous Mansour neighborhood in Baghdad and who requested that her last name not be published for fear of reprisals from her generator man. “We are 99.9 percent dependent on them! They are ruling our lives — not day by day, but hour by hour!”
Not surprisingly, the generator men tell a different story. More here.

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