Inflation may have driven up the price of a bunch of red roses to $30 dollars in Baghdad, but it's the failure of Operation Strike Fear—the city's obligatory marketplace bombings have already claimed about 100 lives this week—that is really dampening the spirit of Valentine's Day for Baghdad residents. And florists, whose stores are stocked with unsold chocolates, trinkets, and, of course, roses, are not happy. As the owner of one Baghdad boutique complains:
Even last year customers would brave the streets. Now they are not coming out."
Meanwhile, the havoc wreaked on lovers is even worse. Agence France Presse brings us the story of Ali and his hometown girlfriend:
Sixty kilometers separate 34-year-old Ali from his girlfriend, but it might as well be a thousand. The hour-long drive from Baghdad to his hometown Baqouba - and his love - is too dangerous to undertake. Last year he gave her perfume. This year he's trying to find a friend who can pass on his best wishes back home...."
Let's hope next year's February 14 is a lot better.
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