The Kurdish Globe
By Sleman Tashan
In a crowded and untidy shop of second hand shoes, Zanko Murad was examining a pair of shoes very closely.
"When I was a teenager, I was mainly looking for new models and expensive shoes, as I was from a wealthy family," Murad told the Globe with hundreds of shoes around him in a small second-hand shop selling shoes in Erbil's second-hand market known as Langa. "However, I have been wearing Langa shoes for at least 5 years now."
Murad explained that his story with second hand shoes started with buying a pair of "Langa" shoes by accident some five years ago.
"Then I realized that they were very different from all the other shoes I had ever bought," explained Murad. "Since then I have never bought a new pair of shoes."
"Langa", the shopping paradise, even for the wealthy
Langa used to be source of the cheapest market in Kurdistan and the best shopping destination for the poor and those on low income. However, nowadays, looking at people visiting the place, one can realize that they are from different social classes and different income levels. It has even attracted wealthy people and tourists.
According to shop owners at the Erbil second-hand market, at the present time the number of wealthy people visiting the place is higher than the poor and low income based people.
In the past few years, the markets of the Kurdistan Region were filled with cheap quality Chinese products, which are sold at the market at very low prices. It is true that the quality of the Chinese products is not as good as the second-hand products, most of which are European brands, however, their low prices still attract many looking for new products at low prices.
Cold market in the hot summer
Besides the larger scale economic and financial impact of the delays in approving the region"s budget for 2012, it also has had a negative impact on the Langa market on a smaller scale.
Some of the shop-owners in the market are not satisfied with the market and complain about a lack of business.
Others, however, argue that the budget is not the only factor, but the increase in the number of the budget and low price shops also has a significant impact. But, this has not yet affected the cosmetics shops in the Langa market, where customers line up to buy quality European cosmetic products.
Langa is not only a place for products that have been previously used by Europeans, but rather there are a number of shops in the market that sell new products.
Marwan Ghazi, for instance, imports new products from China and Taiwan and sells them at a price which is "70% below the market prices."
Many products and product categories can be found in the market from very tiny stuff and accessories to clothes, toys, mechanical tools, electrical and electronic goods.
Despite the fact the business is a bit slow in the market, it still competes well with the rest of the markets and modern shopping centers in the city of Erbil.
Christian Charity Organizations in Europe collect used products that households don't use, and in some countries they even provide special bags or containers in front of households to put their unused stuff in. Then they collect all the products on a specific schedule and sell them to some companies that pack them and sell them back to poor countries in Africa and the Middle East.
To prevent the spread of diseases through these products, they will be disinfected using an antibacterial product before being allowed into the Kurdistan Region's borders..
Moreover, retailers normally advise buyers to wash the clothes before using them.