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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Baghdad Parties on New Years Eve

Hat tip to A Newt One.

Baghdad parties to bring in the new year, saying that it is the first real party they have seen in years.

With less violence now being the top story about Iraq, the Iraqi's brought the new year in with a bang, exuberant locals fired into the air with automatic rifles, sending red tracer fire streaking over the city, as fireworks lit up the sky.

While violence still occurs, many hopeful Iraqi's said these festive gatherings were more than they could have hoped for just months ago.

"The security has changed and it took us by surprise. We're very happy. Especially us young people," said al-Azzawi, a 22-year-old student taking a break from dancing to a traditional Iraqi band in the ballroom of the Palestine Hotel.

"I haven't seen a happy place like this in so long. I wanted to see if I could maybe meet a few girls!" he said. "I only hope the Iraqi people can enjoy more happy times like this."

Salah al-Lami, 27, the singer who performed at the Palestine ballroom and then for another New Year's Eve crowd at the Sheraton Hotel across the street, said it was the first time he had sung before a live audience in four years.

"This will be the year that we take our freedom!" he told Reuters after singing through a boisterous set in front of a packed dancefloor.

For this celebration, violence seemed to be forgoteen as a student, Afir Ali, 21, had this to say "We thank god. This is a beautiful feeling. We wish we could do this every day,We want to enjoy life. We've had enough of violence."

They have suffered so much, it is good to see them celebrate the new year and many kudos to our troops that are fighting and helping give them the liberty and freedom they so richly deserve.

A hearty Happy News Years wish to our military and to the Iraqi's.

Happy New Year Everyone.