Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

The new Iraq invasion: tacky, boring design


atlantis-in-dubai.jpgHaving escaped the plastic camels and plasterboard Islamic arches of the Gulf’s mostly soulless hotels and malls, my heart sank when I saw plans for “new Najaf”, to be built next to the holy Shi’ite city of Najaf in southern Iraq.

Here in a computer generated mock-up were the glitzy but anonymous tower-blocks that have mushroomed all over the Gulf, the sterile malls and boxy hotels that I thought I had left behind after two years of living there.

Yes, after visiting Najaf for the first time last week, it could be said the run down old city needs a revamp.

But its narrow lanes and vibrant souks, all encircling a golden-domed shrine, have charm and character.