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Baghdad, One of the Worst Cities in the World

Never mind worrying about arriving late to the office, arriving alive would be enough.

We got a lot of fun (and a lot of traffic!) out of our article on the 10 worst cities in the world but really, there are worse places.

Reading a bad case of Bagdadophobia today reminded us that though there are real hellholes on this planet to visit or live for a while, there are people living in relentless nightmares every waking moment. Driving to work, the writer observes:

This driver beside me looks a lot like my mental image of a suicide bomber: long beard, nervous glances. But the truth is no-one knows what a suicide bomber looks like today – he could be an old man or a woman. Or he could be driving a wired-up car with a woman and a child on board just for camouflage.

For most of us, wars and invasions happen in countries where we don’t live and only visit once they’ve gathered all the skulls together as a nice museum exhibit for us to pose next to with suitably sombre expressions. What happens elsewhere on the map is little more than a concept for most of us and doesn’t really compete with the anxiety of that pimple on the chin or whether a bunch of overpaid sportsmen win or lose to another group of people we’ve never met.

But people do live in those places and for them what’s happening is all too real.

Suddenly, my car shakes as there is a horrible blast somewhere else in the city. I wonder if the victims of that explosion had the same thoughts as mine. Did they imagine that they might die today? Did they have a chance to say goodbye to their families?

At Road Junky we don’t believe in getting too hung up about the shit that goes on in this world. Life’s too short. But I’ll never forget a conversation with a religious Jewish girl many years ago who told me of a tradition of spending ‘half an hour a day broken-hearted for the world’.

At the very least, if you fought traffic today, at least you probably weren’t worrying about the car next to you blowing up.

Read the BBC article on driving in Baghdad