As if our troops’ invasion of Iraq wasn’t enough, the Iraqis will soon witness the arrival of the American amusement park. Llewellyn Werner, chairman of C3 in Los Angeles – the same company that developed our renowned neighbor, Disneyland – plans to build the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience.
The American-esque amusement park would be filled with thrill rides, a concert hall, a skateboarding park, a zoo and a museum. The park would be built on the site of the Baghdad Zoo, which Saddam Hussein closed and occupied for military purposes. Werner proposes to brighten the day of Iraqis who face poverty and war with a few attractions that distract them from the grim realities of life in Iraq.
At first glance, the park looks like a fascinating opportunity to reach out to the Iraqi people. However, the park also insults the Iraqis with our brand of high-tech, luxurious, expensive entertainment. Around the world, many countries have faced attempts at Westernization from the United States and other European countries.
However, just because giant enterprises work here doesn’t mean that they will be well-received in other parts of the world. It seems as if we are aiming to force-feed a war-torn nation with our brand of entertainment. The Iraqi people could use a form of entertainment as a means of alleviating the pain of war, but I don’t believe that the country of Iraq would benefit greatly from this venture.
What the country currently needs is a government, infrastructure, basic utilities and relief from the U.S. occupation. While there would still be pain through the country’s renovation process, at least it would be a step toward a better life for all Iraqis.
Thus, although an amusement park is a good idea for the benefit of the Iraqi people, Iraq may still not be able to handle such a venture—at least, not until our occupation is over.
Geraldo Raygoza is a second-year undecided/undeclared major. He can be reached at