Iraqi Youth Adopt Western Ways

Amidst the political turmoil that is Iraq stands a country in transition, reports CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts.

Influenced by the presence of American troops, new additions to satellite TV, and the now easy access to the Internet once forbidden under Saddam Hussein, the youth of Iraq is waging .

"They are wearing baggy jeans and, you know, hip t-shirts and or NBA jerseys and that kind of stuff," said one young Iraqi, Omar.

"Is that right?" asked Pitts. "So Lebron James is becoming a big name in Iraq or Michael Jordan and those guys?

"Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, you know these are like the biggest names."

One of the hottest radio stations in Baghdad these days? HOT FM, where DJ Moonie only speaks English, and only plays rock, R&B and rap.

"Artist like Eminem is pretty famous here in Iraq. 50 Cent or 'Fitty Cent,'" said Moonie.

Moonie admits the music, the western ways are -- at the very least -- a distraction to all the mayhem.

So life in Iraq is getting back to normal - if you can call this normal.

But it's no longer the government dictating where people can go, it's the insurgents. Blast walls now line every targeted neighborhood and side street. In Baghdad, concrete is the new black.

"Right now Baghdad is officially a war zone. How can anybody feel safe?" asked another young Iraqi, Ali.

Ali and his friends, all young and ambitious, say they welcome much of what the west has to offer, but there is impatience.

"A lot of young people were expecting the U.S. administration, after a couple months of entering Iraq, would transform Iraq into a utopian civilization, like turn it into an amusement park over night," he said.

"That somehow the U.S. can instantly turn Iraq into the Disneyworld of the Mideast?" asked Pitts.

"Exactly like magic," Ali replied.

DJ Moodie lives inside the radio station. To venture outside he says, would be a death sentence.

Change is coming to Iraq. But it is still too dangerous, to change too quickly.
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

On Twitter