Conflict & Justice

When even Baghdad is shocked by a bombing

This story is a part of

Seeking Security

This story is a part of

Seeking Security

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The scene a day after a horrific suicide car bomb attack on the shopping area of Karrada, Baghdad.

Credit:

Ahmed Saad/Reuters

One of the world's worst terror attacks this year was a bombing in Baghdad in July.

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

A suicide attacker drove a van into a crowded shopping area just after midnight on July 3. It was Ramadan, when masses of people stay out late. Dozens died in the blast, but many more died as two shopping malls were consumed by a fire the blast spawned.

In total, more than 300 people died. That makes it one of the worst terror attacks in recent times, anywhere in the world.

The incident is used as a lens by BuzzFeed News’ Middle East correspondent, Borzou Daragahi, to look at how Baghdadis cope with being “the most terrorized city in the world.”

Baghdad suffers about 1,000 terrorist attacks per year.

Daragahi found the constant attacks depress Baghdadis. “It’s hard to think about the future. It’s hard to invest any resources in long-term planning. It becomes a real devastating dynamic, where people lose all hope and faith in life, all drive to do anything because of the dangers that are present.”   

These kinds of consequences are felt most keenly by those directly affected by attacks. Others are almost nonchalant about the risks. “They happen so often, in every single neighborhood.” He says the numbness that overtakes everyone when talking about these bombs reminds him of the attitude among Americans to school shootings.

“People are just immune to their effect.”

Daragahi was himself shocked personally by the attack. It was in a part of the city he likes to hang out in, and he had been scheduled to be in the Iraqi capital at the time and postponed at the last minute.

“I could very well have been there,” he says. “So it had a real impact for me.”