Baghdad plays host to many currencies: dinars, petrol, guns, and now blood. The new issue of Colors (pdf) reports on the black market that has sprung up to address the city’s blood shortage. In the al-Sadr City neighborhood, the illicit trade is coordinated by Shia leaders.
People rarely go to formal collection centers to donate blood because they are afraid of both the bombs and the dreadful hygienic conditions. If they or their family need blood, they are forced to purchase it on the black market.
In al-Andalus, one blood-runner has identified a steady source.
“In emergencies, I ask the ambulance driver to find junkies and drunks and drive them in to donate their blood,” he admits. He pays the addicts with loose change and, without any health checks, sells blood to wounded people.
The wounded go home with the bad blood, the addicts go home with bruises, and Kadòm, the drivers and lab technicians go home with the blood money.