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Fallujah Public Radio Station Opens Airwaves to Brighter Future

10 Mar 2008 | Regimental Combat Team 1

There are many factors to consider when measuring the development of a city such as economic growth, security, and social progress. One of the things that ties all of these factors together is communication. How the city communicates to its people is an important aspect in understanding and measuring the development of an emerging city.

 In Fallujah the medium that best accomplishes the goals of communication to its people is the local radio station.

 The Fallujah Public Radio Station officially started broadcasting about a month ago with a simple goal of entertaining and informing the local citizens of Fallujah.

 According to Ali Hadi Salah Alfhdawi, the manager of Fallujah Public Radio, this is the first time in the long and chaotic history of Fallujah that they have had a radio station.

 “Before the US came, there was none,” said Ali Hadi Salah Alfhdawi. “The radio came from Bagdad and was run by the government in Bagdad.” He continued, “You have to remember under Saddam everything was under the control of the government.”

 Ali Hadi Salah Alfhdawi was born and raised in Fallujah. He has seen his city suffer under the brutal dictatorship of Saddam. He has seen his city completely taken over by insurgents. And he has seen his city turned to rubble during the house-to-house fighting when coalition forces routed out the insurgents from the city. However, what he has also seen is the rebirth of his city. A rebirth into a city unlike it was before. No longer is it under the oppression of the Saddam era. No longer is it under control of the insurgents, and no longer is it under control of the coalition forces. While some Marines remain in the city, the city is, for the most part, under control of the Iraqi Police and the citizens of Fallujah.

 Ali Hadi Salah Alfhdawi equated what happened to the city of Fallujah to that of Hiroshima where an atomic bomb leveled that city. “It is hard to imagine what happened here,” said Ali Hadi Salah Alfhdawi. “What happened to Fallujah was like Hiroshima. . . Fallujah was hit hard”

 Looking at Fallujah today by American standards, it may seem like the city has a long way to go. But when you take into account the fact that insurgents freely roamed the streets just a few years ago, murdering and intimidating anyone who crossed them, and being completely turned to rubble after the ensuing combat, it’s amazing a city still stands, let alone steadily growing and flourishing.

 One of the catch phrases that is common amongst military leaders in Iraq is “return to normalcy.” It’s a term used to denote the transition from a country of unrest to that of a normal society, a return to a state in which the area was before all the violence. It is a common theme and goal amongst the coalition and Iraqi forces. However, in Fallujah they are not just returning to normalcy, they are going beyond that.

 The citizens of Fallujah have a fierce pride, and deep bond with their city. A sort of Middle East Texas. And much like Texans, they can’t just do things to the status quo, everything is bigger in Fallujah. Therefore, a return to normalcy would be wonderful for any city in Iraq, but in Fallujah they strive to go beyond that. That is why unlike during the Saddam era, Fallujah now has a radio station. And unlike the radio stations in the past run by the central government, this one is run by the citizens for the citizens, who are concerned about their community.

 The radio stations programming includes, news, music, and even a call-in show where the listeners voice their concerns directly to the city council. They have children’s programming, and a show dealing with women’s issues. Truly going beyond normalcy; it shows Fallujah striving to become more than just normal, it strives to be better… to be modern.

 The city of Fallujah still has a long road ahead of it. However, its future is bright. And with people like Ali Hadi Salah Alfhdawi, and his radio station moving beyond normalcy, becoming a modern city is within their reach.