Mister, Can You Spare a Dinar?

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Mister, Can You Spare a Dinar? Life with the Beggar Mafia of Basra

Some estimates suggest that almost a third of the residents in one of Iraq’s oil-richest cities live in poverty. And now begging has gone beyond poverty, human rights groups say, it’s become a business here and one of the most popular ‘jobs’ around.

By rights the southern Iraqi city of Basra should be one of Iraq’s wealthiest – it is the site of a major port and some of Iraq’s biggest oil fields are located in the surrounding province. But somehow this wealth has not had any effect on the lives of many ordinary people who live here – the poverty level in Iraq sits at around 22 percent but some recent estimates suggest that it’s higher in Basra. They say that just over a third of the population in Basra live in poverty.

Possibly this is why begging appears to have become an industry here and why local beggars have formed gangs, become associated with criminals and also developed a wide variety of techniques for begging.

The beggars of Basra have developed systems. Begging is like a job here with the beggars choosing where to ask for donations depending on which day it is. So, for instance, on Mondays they might work on the bridges, on Tuesdays in the market places and, on Thursdays and Fridays, at the mosques.

“Fridays and other religious occasions are the best, blessed days,” Hussein Jaber, a 40-year-old beggar, explained to NIQASH. “We ask people for money and tell them that we will ask the clerics to pray for them and their loved ones and their sick or dead relatives. But it’s not easy to find a spot near a religious site,” Jaber admitted. “Almost all of the spots for begging are occupied by veiled women. In fact there are fierce fights between these women to get a place closest to the entrance of a mosque. If one finds such a place, one does not give it up easily because it is very precious in terms of returns you can make here.”

7 Responses to Mister, Can You Spare a Dinar?

  1. Paul (@specificproduct) February 16, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    There would be no poverty if the CBI and the GOI got the monitory mess sorted and put a rate value to the dinar. doesn’t even matter what that value is because world markets would move it up or down The same way any countries’ monetary value works. Iraq already knows what it’s GDP is so why is it taking years to figure out the dinar value from that. One of the biggest miseries’ in the financial world if you ask me.

  2. Stew February 17, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    What do you mean “put a rate value to the dinar”?
    The Iraqi dinar has had a stable exchange rate for years now.
    Iraq has 25K, 10K, 5K, and 1k bills that they use. They are almost the same value as the US 20, 10, 5, and 1 dollar bills. How can you say they have no value?
    You have been scammed if you believe there is some big RV of the dinar coming soon, or ever.

  3. Paul (@specificproduct) February 19, 2014 at 1:45 am #

    obviously you didn’t bother to read properly do you know what GDP is. I’m not talking about a value based on the proxy dollar and dinar mix that there afraid to let go of. I’m talking about a value base on the countries true wealth just like every other country dose. Your wrong on you valuing scenario the dinar is worthless against the dollar were do you get your equation from! Because I don’t know of any US bank that will buy them. If your talking about dinar traders your wrong again show me one that will buy back at your crazy rates. as for your last again you didn’t read I said doesn’t even matter what that value is dose that sound like I’m looking for some big RV. in fact a removal of some zeros would be better I’ll not get into what that means because you already think the dinar has US value already! getting back to the main topic before saddam was removed Iraq citizens enjoyed the rate of one dinar = three dollars + in buying power after saddam nothing much has changed thirteen years one dinar = one eighth of a cent. Yet oil production is almost back at per war levels many other world banks are opening branches big US UK companies producing products new gold mines being discovered. many other good things going on. Yet poverty is on the rise all I can say to that is who’s doing the hording if I were citizen I’d be very expletive. But not here it wont get posted, citizen’s are suffering for the whim of the CBI AND THE GOI

  4. Stew February 19, 2014 at 2:19 am #

    When Saddam was removed from power Iraqis were only using 2 bills. A 10,000 and 250 dinar note. So according to you Iraqis were walking around dirt poor Iraq doing business with only notes valued at $30,000 or $750. Must have been tough to buy a loaf of bread.
    The IMF has stated that given Iraqs money supply, GDP, and FX reserves, that the dinar is not under nor over valued a it’s current exchange rate.
    You would do better not to get your economic and currency education from people promoting or selling you Iraqi dinar.

  5. Paul (@specificproduct) February 19, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    wrong Again not all there are such things as rich Iraqis post saddam and the real poor were not as poor as they are now. Iraqis were stealing anything they could get there hands on. and getting supper inflated prices for it in dollars the from the GI’S your kind of right but it’s the other way round and I think you know that. the dollar was made the main currency so Iraqis would not need to carry around hundred’s of thousands of dinar for their day to day needs. The IMF are always right when it comes to valuing a currency and they are basing it on the currency in circulation of which there is far to much. Take away and destroy some of those trillions and the remaining dinar will be worth more per. It’s simple math if I had the only mickey mantel first issue baseball card I could name my price. If every body had one it would be worth ten cents. Same as the dollar it’s dropping drastically against say the British pound. and if congress keeps on printing and spending the way it is the pound will get even stronger. I don’t know how to explain it better you obviously think your some sort of world expert but not because an expert can back it up with fact all you can do is twist what people are saying. I get most of my facts from Reuters try this one http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/03/iraq-economy-dinar-idUSL5E8KT13720121003
    An expert I take on board I’d love for him to see what you put out.

  6. Stew February 19, 2014 at 4:59 am #

    Too funny Paul. Just an hour or so ago you posted: “before saddam was removed Iraq citizens enjoyed the rate of one dinar = three dollars”

    Then you post a link with this in it:
    “The dinar has endured wild swings over the past three decades. In the 1980s, one dinar bought around $3, but economic sanctions imposed on Iraq around the time of the 1991 Gulf War sent the currency into decline and stoked inflation, which the government fuelled by printing money. By late 1995, $1 bought as much as 3,000 dinars.”

    That $3 rate was in the early 80’s. 34 years ago.
    It was down to 3000:1 by 1995. 19 years ago. 10 years before Saddam was removed.

    Glad to see you at least understand there is too much dinar to have any value. Funny that you use the US as an example of too much currency. There are about 1 trillion dollars in circulation. Iraq on the other hand has about 35 trillion dinar in circulation.
    You talked about GDP earlier. The US has a $14 Trillion GDP. Iraq has about a $200 Billion GDP. So the US has a GDP 70 times bigger than Iraq, yet Iraq has 35 times more currency in circulation. You wonder why the exchange rate is low.
    That doesn’t even take into account that those $1 trillion US dollars are spread all over the world. You’re certainly aware of that. It also doesn’t take into account that about 80-90% of Iraqs GDP is in oil sales which are done in dollars. Iraq’s GDP that is reliant on dinar is miniscule. They have practically no economy aside from oil.

    They have a plan to reduce the numbers from trillions to million. Iraqis will turn their dinar in for new dinar. For every 1000 they turn in they will receive 1 new dinar. That’s deleting 3 zeros.
    People who live outside of Iraq, half way around the world, might not be so lucky. They very well may lose most, if not all of their money.
    Good luck.

  7. Paul (@specificproduct) February 19, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Think that’s exactly what I said In the 1980s, one dinar bought around $3 I’ve never said it was worth more or the same post saddam. Yes I forgot about the sanctions for invading Kuwait you jump 15 years to try make a point. Sorry did I touch a nerve on my dollar point fact is it’s dropping against most all major currencies’ to much being printed to much being spent or wasted. keep on increasing the dept ceiling and soon it will be £1=$3 when a country can not pay it’s international dept it is a deter nation you can argue semantics all you like.
    You only look at Iraq GDP In respect to oil yes it’s the biggest player and increasing year on year. theirs also minerals gold both discovered and being produced plus the undiscovered yet supply. My point is one day Iraq will be the richest nation in the world. ” They have practically no economy aside from oil” and the Arab emerites used to be just sand dunes Iraq has more untapped than they have ever discovered. Plus gold and minerals.
    Yes the CBI started calling the over circulation dinar it not a plan to start they’ve been doing for some months now. you talk like you know deleting the zeros is the only plan don’t know how you know that. Because there has been no announcement about which way they will go. float it redenomination revalue scrap it and start a new. the only upset for any one outside is if they print a new currency. but some say even with that one dinar will always be one dinar that can not be changed. I’m on the side of a float would be best with a vast reduction of cash in circulation. but that’s just me they will do what they see best. Oh may point about the article you missed although I have made many
    reference’s before and after posting it. Go IRAQ SHOW THE WORLD WHO YOU ARE. If speculating on the dinar turns out like your hopping for there’s no biggie in that I’ve lost more in las Vagas Sad that you seem to want it to go that way Iraqie poverty will get much worse if there’s any more devaluing in country.