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Of everything riding on how Iraq’s elections unfold — Is the Iraqi political system ready for free and fair elections? Does this mean the US can withdrawal? — you may have missed that the sex life of countless young Iraqis is in the hands of whoever gets elected.
At a recent rally for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Islamic Daawa Party, I chatted with a young man who said that he was grateful for security improvements, but now he needs politicians to restore the economy, so he can get a job, get married, and finally have sex.
It’s a common plight in the Middle East. The concept of dating, especially casual relations, simply doesn’t exist. For the vast majority of people here, marriage is the only way to even just hold hands with a member opposite sex outside your family. In order to get married, a young man must be financially stable, which of course necessitates having a job.
Needless to say that in a nation with an unemployment rate of 23 percent to 38 percent, there are a lot of men and women in Iraq who are frustrated in more ways than one.
With a number of Iraqis pressuring politicians to begin rebuilding the economy in 2009, it might be safe to say that many people here are finally ready to make love, not war.
If you’d like to check out a movie on this very topic, watch the excellent Egyptian comedy “Film Thaqafi.” Egypt also suffers from high unemployment rates and thus the same problem of listless 20-somethings with no outlet. Film Thaqafi is the Arab version of Porky’s that chronicles four young men’s epic struggle to watch a porno. It’s hard to find, but well worth it!