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   Sunday, May 26 2024 
Baghdad: Reopening of the bingo after years of chaos

After years of attacks and assassinations, Baghdad finds semblance of calms and safety. The economic activities and social life take again little by little the tops in the Iraqi cities. The reopening of the Alwiyah club of Baghdad is an example of this progressive return to the normal. And there is any better proof than the opening of its bar with a sound of Arab pop music and the Saturday night bingo which is back. The club was founded when Iraq was a mandate of Great Britain; the lawns of Alwiyah, its courts of tennis, its swimming pool and its bar were during several years the preferred place of gathering of the Iraqi cultural, political and intellectual elite.

The pulling of the bingo is diffused in the garden of the club by a giant screen, a man shouts the numbers and the picked letters. For 3 euros, players can play a table. The evening’s bingo is the symbol of laic Iraq where Shiites, Sunnites and Christians find themselves to spend a good moment of relaxation. Today the Alwiyah Club does not count less 4,000 members. To have access to the club, each family discharges a fee of one million dinars which is approximately 600 euros, then the annual contribution of 100,000 to 150,000 dinars (between 60 and 90 euros). At the beginning, the members of the club must be titular of a university diploma and must speak at least a foreign language. But considering the fall of the frequentation of the club at the time of Saddam Hussein, the manager of the club removed these conditions. Now, as the Club goes more well than ever, these same managers restored the previous conditions.

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