RealNews

Out of Necessity and in Style, Iraqis Connect to Cellular Age

Banned under Saddam Hussein, mobile phones have already become an indispensable part of life in a land torn by war yet fixated on fashion. Just before dusk, the setting sun illuminates in golden hues a scene of bustling commerce. Vendors crowd the sidewalks here, their produce stacked in appealing but fickle pyramids. Families shop for apples, dates and saffron-colored marsh candy. And cellphones. Almost every store on Al Jazair Street in this southern Iraqi city sells mobile telephones, and business is brisk. Banned during Saddam Hussein’s reign and introduced only last year, cellphones are an obsession in this country. Iraqis give them nicknames and spend inordinate amounts of money on the latest models, accessories and ring tones. Cellphones have become an indispensable part of everyday life, crucial for families negotiating commutes to school and work amid bombings and bloodshed. Full Story

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