Labor and Materials

The scene: a humble clay house on one of Baghdad’s meanest streets. A knock at the door. When the man of the house answers, he is astonished. “We have presents for you!” warbles Shaima Emad Zubair, a young siren with tangerine lipstick. Batting her blue-mascaraed eyes, she pokes her microphone his way. “Labor and Materials” is Iraq’s answer to “Extreme Home Makeover” and the country’s first reality TV show. In 15-minute episodes, broken windows are made whole again. Blasted walls slowly rise again.

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