BAGHDAD — In the endless daily battle against the fear and isolation of life under lock-down, the people of Baghdad have found a way to keep their city alive: moving it online. Instead of enjoying an outdoor meal at one of the fish restaurants along the Tigris embankment, 28-year-old housewife Dunya Saad spends her evenings at the computer in her living room, chatting with her friends on Yahoo! Messenger. Most of her relatives and friends live on the far side of the Tigris, and seeing them in person is nearly impossible. ‘It’s sad not to see your friends like in the good old days,’ she sighed. ‘But online chatting has made things better.’ Since the February bombing of a Shi’ite shrine in Samarra sparked a wave of sectarian bloodshed, the Internet has gone from being a hobby for tech-savvy enthusiasts to a mass replacement for the daily interactions of city life. In Baghdad, shops close early. Cars are not permitted on the streets after 9:00 p.m. Many parts of the city are completely deserted by sunset. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to move to parts of the city where they do […]

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