Many locals say that despite the officials’ promises there has been very little change in the industrial zone. There are still decomposing corpses here, debris from the fighting and unexploded munitions. Officials had also said power would be restored by generators but these have not appeared either.
Not everyone is upset though. Majid al-Akashi, 40, says he is pleased the industrial zone will re-open. “The zone is an important area and provides services not just to Fallujah but also to surrounding towns and areas. To re-open this area is a step in the right direction, to bringing life back to Fallujah,” al-Akashi noted. “We should all take pride in this.”
It’s been difficult to re-open the industrial zone, Fallujah’s mayor Issa Saer al-Assawi, admitted to NIQASH. “But the security forces and local administrators hope to finalise permissions in the next few days,” al-Assawi said. “Additionally the plan to secure the industrial zone with a security fence and berm has also been finalized.”
“The government should not make local people pay these expenses as they only add to our burden,” argues blacksmith al-Issawi. “If we saw that the money was really going to reconstruction, we would not mind. But we’re not seeing any real change in this area. That’s why I have decided not to return here to work,” he concluded. “I will re-open my workshop – but it will not be here.”