Stanford Scholar Examines Sectarianism and Urban Segregation in Baghdad
As part of the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy speaker series, Director of The Markaz: Resource Center Mona Damluji examined the impact of the US-led occupation of Iraq on sectarian-based urban segregation in Baghdad. In a talk held on February 3, 2016, she argued that the sectarian-based segregation that has shaped urbanism in Baghdad is a direct outcome of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. The "post"-occupied city is characterized by the normalization of concrete “security” blast-walls that choke urban circulation and sever communities. The notorious blast walls -- or "Bremer Walls" -- perpetuate and intensify conditions of urban segregation. As the summer's surge of anti-government protests in Baghdad demonstrate, the short-sighted nature of this militarized solution to sectarian-based violence has proven to be a superficial and unsustainable fix to the deep dilemma of sectarian segregation codified in Iraq’s political system. The presentation also examined the context for recent public dissent on the streets of Baghdad through the story of the capital city's fragmentation between 2006 and 2007.