Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome
Phew, what a week in Iraq blogs. The assassination of Zarqawi caused a flood of blog posts and this on top of another flood of quality thoughts from the Iraqi bloggers. Here is the cream of the crop. And read on to find out why one blogger wants to send the Iraqi parliament on space tourism.
If you read only one post this week read this:
Salam Pax takes a tour around Baghdad making a video blog for Newsnight but is finding it very hard to get anyone to agree to be interviewed. "And I know why everybody is so reluctant to talk. Because we don’t know what is the next thing that will get us killed." he says. Out of desperation he takes the advice of a friend and goes to the Baghdad district of Kadhimiya. Which is not without its risk because this is a strongly Shia area and Salam has a very Sunni sounding surname on his ID card. But fortunately he has an NUJ card that doesn't. An once inside he gets the surprise of his life:
I saw the future of Iraq, or at least Baghdad. Inside the barricade and past the checkpoint was a piece of the old Baghdad. Shops full of people, all relaxed and smiling. Everybody wants to talk and tell me how their lives are and I even got invited to have tea and accepted the invitation without thinking that this man saw my camera and he is just delaying me until the kidnappers arrive.
You know what was different? Kadhimiya is set up these days like a fortress. Entrances are tightly controlled, no unknown cars get in and they basically had their own secret police there...
So people I give you the future of Baghdad. Districts will become tightly controlled fortresses that are ethnically/religiously homogeneous. ...
Having trouble getting into a Shia district doesn’t mean that I am OK in Sunni areas. Sunni areas are even tougher. To start with they have their own set of fashion rules. There is a whole What Not To Wear spin-off for the west of Baghdad and the prize isn’t just a special wardrobe but you get to stay alive.
Fisk gets Fisked
This must be a first. Imad Khadduri out-fisked Robert Fisk. At a lecture in Toronto, Robert Fisk gave Imad the impression that "Robert Fisk, armed with his extensive in-depth and in-touch experiences that expand over several decades, was the only 'true' journalist having the courage to expose the underbelly of the injustices incurred in the Middle East". So afterwards Imad
"pointed out [to Fisk] the emergence of truly dedicated young Iraqi journalists, many of whom have been actively, courageously and consistently working with, for example, Islam Memo site ... Why would Fisk not give them due reference and respect for their stand, professionalism and dangerous journalistic mission?
Fisk lamely admitted their value and mentioned that he had the opportunity to train some of them himself during one of his visits to Baghdad. He also promised that he will mention them in his coming lectures and interviews...
He never did ."
Maybe it is the heat or maybe it is something in the water, but silly season has started in some of the Iraqi blogs.
Konfused Kid has excused his recent absence because he died and went to heaven. His parting words were "Don't... forget... to....switch.... off... the... god... damn... mother... f**k... ing... fridge.... off.... when the local.... generator..... runs...". But heaven is not as he expected:
The Angels ... are dressed in white all right, and radiant as if they both swallowed Uranium by the handful, but there was something wicked, ... considering that our vision of the afterlife is largely connected to the Prophet's 7th Century sayings, it was expected that one of the angels wouild be showing up wearing Na3aal abu-al-Esba3 [Jesus sandals], the other, however, was wearing Rebokee trainers.
Rebokee was munching something and kept to the back, Na3aal said : Sunni or Shiite?
Chikitita is succumbing to superstitions about her brother's release from prison:
I too sometimes believe in crazy stuff, when I’m not at my best spiritual mode. For instance, I sometimes keep humming with Fu’ad Salim’s song my brother likes so much, so I tell Mom, “I think [my brother] is soon to be released” ...
“Yeah Right”, she would say, “and how did you know!”, she says questionably.
“Can’t you see, I’m singing Madhi Fi’lak”. I tell her in a matter-of-fact way.
“That’s so silly”, she mocks.
“Maybe, but I still think it’s a sign”, I tell her.
Morbid Smile has been watching too much TV:
I wish if Tru Calling was real and existed in Iraq; she would have saved the lives of thousands of people who die everyday. ...
I wish if the invisibility cloak was real; I could have moved freely in places without the fear of car bombs and explosions. ...
I wish if wishes would come true; the world would be a better place.
I wish if I know what the hell I'm talking about!!! ...
It's obvious that I'm hallucinating here. It's either Summer started to show its effects on me, or it's really the end of the world!!
Even hardened political blogs take part in the season. Baghdad Connect reports that the Iraqi parliament has voted for themselves 6610 foreign guards.
"Bearing in mind the personal guard in today’s Iraq earns USD 600/day... we find out that the cost of those guards is USD 1,447,590,000.00 per year!
BC believes that if the security situation remains as such for the next 3 years then it would be enough for each of the 275 members of the parliament to enjoy the luxurious Space Tourism with the ex-soviet Russian Space Agency."
The world in Politics
THis cannot be good news: hot on the heels of Michael Portillo calling the war a mistake. Iraqi LGBT is claiming that life in Iraq was better for gays under Saddam.
Hammorabi is blaming everybody for the troubles of Iraq. "The problem is so complex that no one may bear the whole responsibility for what is going on. Every one involved in the Iraqi affairs is responsible. On the top of this are the Iraqi government and parties and the multi-national forces. ... The other party is the Arab terrorists supported from the Syrian regime and the wealthy Gulf men and companies as well as the Arab media starting from the barking dogs of Aljazeera and other Arab media." And he ends with an ominous warning:
The thugs will soon kneel to the new superpower of the Gulf region and they will then regret what they have done in Iraq but it will be too late.
And in the background violence, brutality, murder and abductions continues unabated.
Riverbend says it all: "Where does one go to avoid the death and destruction? Are the Americans happy with this progress? ... Emily Dickinson wrote, “hope is a thing with feathers”. If what she wrote is true, then hope has flown far- very far- from Iraq…"
My honorary Iraqi for the week - and most Iraqis will probably be horrified by the suggestion - is The Baghdad Alcohol Sponge. A young Iraqi breaks all the rules to disturb TBAS from going to sleep to announce: "gesturing in the knife-across-the-throat method while repeating 'Zarquai..fee-nish'd...Zarquai fee-nish'd'."
TBAS was humbled:
It wasn't the fact that Zarquai was dead...it was that this kid had come by my trailer and beat on my door in what he knew was supposed to be 'off-limits'----so proud to deliver the news of Zarquai's death that he wanted to wake me up.
It renews my faith in them like I havent fealt in over a year. It's a humbling moment for me.
Iraq...you may have a prosperous future yet...and I owe an apology. Your youth have proven me wrong this morning. And thats a good thing.
I think I'll stay awake a little longer this morning.