Iraqis Get a View of First Total Eclipse in Years

The first total eclipse in several years could be seen from the shore of Brazil, through northern Africa, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia. At an outdoor market in Baghdad, Iraq, observers found religious and political significance in the eclipse.

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Across four continents today, people gathered outside for a rare treat. A total eclipse of the sun. It was the first in nearly three years. In Ghana streetlights flickered on as the moon slipped in front of the sun. In Libya, the temperatures dropped as it grew eerily darker. And at an outdoor market in Baghdad, Iraqis stood and watched as the sky turned to gray. Here are some of their observations.

YUS RAMAMOOD: (Speaking Through Translator) I didn't even know about the eclipse. And I was surprised about it. So I found this card that I can put over my eyes to see it.

When I see the eclipse of the sun, I get strange feelings inside me, and I fear for the universe and what shall happen to it. I do my eclipse prayers that I've been raised on. I say Allah Akbar four times and pray to God so that he would protect us from evil and disasters.

AMAR HOFED: (Speaking Through Translator) You want the truth? I'm not looking at the eclipse. Only the good countries that are having a good time are following the eclipse. If we have to look at something, then we should better look at our lives. In the past when we use to see eclipses, we feared doomsday, but now we don't give a damn. Every day we are seeing many people who are dying. Given the current situation, many believe that if doomsday happened, it would be far better so that we could rest.

ALI AKINANI: (Speaking Through Translator): Today is the eclipse. I didn't know about it. Let me tell you the truth, I didn't hear about it because we are engaged with life and you can see how things are. But they told me about it in the office. It is a universal and divine phenomenon. It's difficult for a lady to pray in the streets. But if I were at home, I would pray to God. This makes us closer to God. As long as I'm close to God, I never feel pessimistic.

NORRIS: That was engineer Yus Ramamood, salesman Amar Hofed, and florist Ali Akinani speaking about the eclipse of the sun they saw in Baghdad today. Thanks for Khalise Aljalili(ph) for the audio.

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