“But since then we have waited more than two months for the security clearances – I gathered documents and other proof that I owned the workshop - and now we have been told we also have to pay for this security fence. I thought this was going to be an easy process. But I’m still waiting”
“There’s no real value in paying the government money to prevent our customers from entering and exiting the area,” says Mazen Aboud, a 35-year-old mechanic. His workshop was completely destroyed in the fighting and he now drives around the city making appointments with clients on his phone. Then he takes his tools to them and works for on their cars, on the spot; he no longer needs a workshop, especially not one behind a fence.
“And we know that won’t be all we are asked to pay for. We are bound to be asked for money to clean out improvised explosive devices and to clean the area as well as to pay for other, more ordinary municipal services.”
Everyone in Fallujah knows that the industrial zone was used by the extremist Islamic State, or IS, group to manufacture explosives and other weapons.
And we don’t deny that, Aboud argues. “But we are just ordinary tradesmen. We earned a decent living and we had nothing to do with the terrorists.”