Tuesday, April 22, 2008

IN IRAQ, After the bombs, the tomatos:
Three months after US forces dropped tonnes of bombs on Arab Jubur and put Al-Qaeda to flight, farmers are everywhere out in their fields tending their tomatoes.

Homes in the Sunni Arab rural patch about 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of Baghdad, meanwhile, are being rebuilt, schools reopened, roads repaired and irrigation pumps renewed, even as shopkeepers happily dust off their shelves.

"It's the first time in three years I am able to work in my lands," said Ammar Wadi, a 30-year-old vegetable farmer who also runs a small dairy herd.

His lands, on the banks of the Tigris, are thriving. Besides tomatoes, he also grows ochre and wheat, while some of his 30 acres is devoted to pastures.