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Thursday, April 01, 2004

Iraqi Bloggers 

This post, originally titled "Links! (Part II)", required some thinking, which makes my head hurt. (I'm going back to posting nonsense!)

At the instigation of Aidan at Dancing Elegantly, here is my impression (I repeat: my impression) of the Iraqi bloggers. This impression is based on my reading each blog mentioned, or at least checking for new posts, every day, beginning with Salam Pax sometime around November of 2002. I have never been to Iraq, and I do not believe that anyone who has never been there can have a complete understanding of the Iraqi people, what they have been through, or what they are going through.

Basically, if an Iraqi blogger (who is currently in Iraq) does not have comments enabled, that blogger does not approve of the Coalition presence and views the events of the past year as an "invasion". This is not to say that any of these bloggers approved of Saddam. However, they all live in Baghdad, where they previously enjoyed reliable electrical power and other privileges not available to the average (non-Baghdad-dwelling) Iraqi. These bloggers include Faiza (a lady of the same age as Wife), who apparently has way too much free time on her hands; all she does is manage the family business, write her own blog, blog her "war diaries", offer a tutorial on speaking Arabic, and be a mother to her sons and a wife to Abu Raed! Faiza's son Mahjid occasionally posts on her blog, and her other sons have their own blogs: Khalid at Tell Me A Secret and Raed (yes, the same Raed referred to on Salam Pax's blog) at Raed In The Middle. Another Baghdadi blogger is Riverbend at Baghdad Burning. Riverbend is the same age as Daughter - 25 going on 15 - and, like Daughter, she sometimes bases her opinion more on rumor than on reality. Riverbend is a former programer/network administrator, and she is quite understandably pissed that she lost her job because her former employer was not willing to assume the responsibility of "protecting" her (from kidnappers? She says females need to have male relatives accompany them any time they go out due to fear of abduction).

CryMeARiverbend is a blog on which the blogger posts what would otherwise be his comments on the above blogs (if they had comments enabled). CMAR's comment section, however, seems to contain a fair number of supporters (defenders?) of the above group of bloggers (but I must confess that I don't get to this blog every day, so I could be in error).

The other Iraqi bloggers, those who do allow comments, make no secret of the fact that they view the past year's events as a "liberation", and they don't too much care if they were liberated by the Coalition or Zena The Warrior Princess. They're just glad that Saddam is in a jail cell now instead of in a palace, and that the rape rooms and torture chambers are no longer in operation. Although these bloggers are also from Baghdad, they apparently feel that Saddam's departure from power was a good thing for all Iraqis, and that the current state of affairs in Iraq, ranging from unpleasant to downright dangerous, is a transitional period to a much brighter future. These bloggers include Zeyad, a dentist currently serving in Basrah, who posts about everything from atrocities (by both the Coalition and terrorists) to mosquitoes (and whose curiosity sometimes causes him to get himself into potentially dangerous situations); AYS, who is also a dentist, serving in a village near Basrah; Alaa, a middle-aged engineer who is one of "El Bush's" most enthusiastic admirers; Omar and his brothers, Ali and Mohammed (all three of whom post insightful, well-thought-out opinions); Sam, who started out in November 2003 with an informative history of Iraq from ancient times to the present and who occasionally posts (sometimes graphic) pictures; and Firas, who has been interviewed (by telephone; see the March 11, 2004 synopsis) on CBC Radio.

There are other Iraqi bloggers who post infrequently, as well as Iraq-related sites. Emigre, at Iraq Blog Count, keeps up with Iraqi and Iraq-related (soldiers and civilian workers in Iraq) blogs and has a great link list. Zeyad also has links to at least one Kurdish blog (included as an Iraqi blog, if that tells you anything), as well as his guest blog and his photo blog.

Note that this post has resulted in a departure from the primary focus of this blog, which is intended to be humorous, so I have enabled comments in case anyone stumbles across this and wishes to disagree.

And, as I mentioned earlier, all of this thinking and linking has made my noggin hurt. I'm going to take a vacation (I bet if I go to Iraq, Riverbend will invite me over for some chai!).