Stepping back into the dark ages

Keighley
News editor Malcolm Hoddy has described “stepping back into the dark
ages” when he was one of the first regional newspaper journalists to
visit Iraq after the country’s elections, writes Sarah Lagan.

Hoddy,
pictured above left with his interpreter, spent a week visiting
ex-service men and women in Basra from various areas served by
Newsquest titles. The troops were from the Duke of Wellington’s
Regiment, the Royal Dragoon Guards and the Territorial Army’s East
& West Riding Regiment.

Accompanied by civilian Army press
officers, Hoddy was dispatched to three bases to meet troops, military
officers and residents. Richard Edwards of the Yorkshire Evening Post
was also on the trip.

Hoddy also met an editor, writer and
printer from a paper being launched in Basra, though their work is
still being done on the Kuwait border due to safety fears.

He
said: “It was like stepping back into the dark ages. Many of the
streets are a carpet of filth and raw sewage was running down channels.

“That said, there was a feeling of something positive in the air. Things are slowly getting better.”

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