Babylon & Beyond

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IRAQ: Families celebrate Eid holiday at park along Tigris River

September 23, 2009 |  2:45 pm

Eid 7

Young people buy cotton candy at Baghdad's Abu Nawas street park to celebrate the Eid holiday.


On the last night of the Muslim holiday of Eid, families packed Baghdad's park on Abu Nawas street on the eastern bank of the Tigris River. People rejoiced at a quiet holiday and the gradual reduction in attacks since late 2007, although the Iraqi capital remains a violent and unpredictable place.

Families gathered in this park stretching along the curved bank of the Tigris, which has traditionally been a festive gathering spot for families with its parched grassy lawns and fish restaurants long before the 2003 ouster of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.  Musicians played the oud and guitar. Drummers banged away, and fireworks illuminated the sky in spurts.

"We come here on a daily basis at 7 p.m. and stay here to enjoy ourselves till midnight. Security is good and we feel great. We don't fear anything. Terrorism is over. Our government is stronger," said Iman Adel, talking about her family's daily trips to the park during the Eid holiday. "We can lead a normal life now. Take a good look around and you will understand what I mean."

Eid 3

A family enjoys the holiday festivities in Baghdad's Abu Nawas street park.

Eid 4

Children play on a slide in Baghdad's Abu Nawas street park.

-- Saad Khalaf

Photos: Saad Khalaf