Friday, November 05, 2004

Guess where the Baghdad Blogger went

went to mow a meadow

I posted this at the JavaRanch ( slightly diluted) but as usual the thread was deleted. And I was so hoping that it would stay showing we can at least learn to be mature (and meaningless? ). After all I've got them to thank (particularly Mapraputa Is and Thomas Paul and a few others which would take too long to mention) for giving the world more than a passing glance. Poverty comes in all forms.

The highlight of the news was that Salam Pax was sent to Washington by the Guardian.
At the airport he was screened twice. On his second screening he was asked,"Are you religious?" by someone wearing a tiny cross. He wanted to reply honestly "No, I dropped that hot potato a long time ago" but then felt like replying "It's really none of your business". He feels ashamed that what he actually says is "No sir, I am not religious and I don't know how to prove it to you".

Then waiting to board the plane he gets asked to spread his legs and lift his arms while they pat him down. He feels homesick. It's just like entering the green zone in Baghdad except everyone is so friendly here.

Salam discovered a weblog last August written by Sean Turningtables an American
soldier. He wrote " I hope we uncover all the banned weapons that we said were here," it said. "Then all of this will have served a glorious purpose that no one can argue with. I need to know that I helped unplug a dangerous beast before it struck. I want all of this to go down in history as "the right thing to do".

Salam thought Turningtables blog written when the soldier was in Baghdad was funny, had a distinctive voice and somehow did not fit in with The Terminator image of US soldiers in Baghdad. The soldier now lives and works in DC after finishing a six-year enlistment. They meet up for dinner. Turningtables has blogged about the event.
They laugh over how badly sounds popping affect them. 4th of July fireworks makes the soldier very jumpy. Salam tells of how he ducked when a car back-fired in London. They talk of going to some good clubs to "get down and get crazy".
When it's time to go home they shake hands and hug. Salam tells him he really doesn't understand what he was doing in Baghdad.
" I was there because I was ordered to be there. My personal feelings mean nothing.I'm cool with that. I don't work in a democracy- I work for one."turningtables

That colour scheme must have been designed specifically for military blogs.

From that blog e-rocky-confidential:

There’s really an abundance of Iraqi blogs, and it can be difficult to keep up. The original rising star, whose name may or may not be Salam Pax, seems to have laid his site to rest, but he was just the beginning (not that his was the first Iraqi blog, necessarily— I have no idea— but it was certainly one of the best, and he’s the one with a book now published in umpteen different languages). The author’s erstwhile co-blogger Raed is posting his own (apparently less optimistic) blog these days, and Salam has been out there collecting data on the casualties of war.

My current favorite is written by Zeyad, an Iraqi dentist with a stunning command of the region’s history and an enthusiasm for English-language satire. He’s got a run-down of the newest crop of young bloggers (which I’ve yet to investigate) at his site, Healing Iraq.

It's nice to catch up with these guys.


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