Sunday, June 27, 2004

The Story of Three Iraqi Friends

Salam Pax, Ghaith Abdul Ahad, and Raed Jarrar were three friends living together in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, architecture students who also shared a sharp kind of humor.

Salam Pax was the first one to blog and became the original Baghdad Blogger. His success was well-deserved and any trip to his archives, believe me, is worth your trouble. However, he stopped blogging on April 10, 2004.

:: Saturday, April 10, 2004 ::

I think Hiatus is the word. Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen.
:: salam 2:16 AM [+] ::

He continued to write fortnightly articles for the Guardian. Here are the last two.

Tigris Tales, May 5, 2004.

Tigris Tales, May 19, 2004.

Elizabeth Wynhausen writes a short profile of Salam for the Australian called Salam Pax succumbs the unbearable weight of blogging. In the interview, Salam explains why he stopped blogging.


Ghaith, using the blog-handle "G," began blogging in the early summer of 2003. The blog (now inactive), called Gee in Baghdad, lasted a few months while he started working as a journalist.

Those early days around the time of the war and the aftermath are recounted in his article for the Guardian called We wanted this war so deperately.

Lying in bed, I was planning my suicide. I had only one dream in my life - to travel, to walk, to see different people and different cultures - and nothing seemed more impossible than this dream in the Iraq of our beloved leader, Saddam Hussein.

Ghaith speaks at a forum on the future of Saddam-era monuments in Brian Whitaker's article Fate of Saddam relics sparks debate.

"Nebuchadnezzar was a tyrant and Saddam was a tyrant. Together, they spanned "a continuous line of despotism," Mr Abdul Ahad said.


Raed does not have the English-language skills of Salam or Ghaith. While Salam Pax has always been an ironist and Ghaith the most passionate critic of the Saddam regime, Raed has been the most unpredictable and unstable, sometimes writing like an inebriated Italian futurist while at other times like a slightly medicated and thoroughly paranoid Hunter S. Thompson.

When Salam Pax wrote that sometimes Raed's brain "de-rails," we laughed, thinking it was a funny dig between friends. It is that, I am sure, but it also contains an element of truth. Fans of the Iraqi Bloggers, after reading one of his blogs, are left wondering what is going on in his mind because so often the required sequential logic necessary between sentences is missing. And then there are many wild claims, one of my favorite being that Moqtada Al-Sadr had between 5 to 7 million loyal followers. Raed called this his "conservative" estimate!

Here are his last three blogs.

Back in Amman, Jordan, to work on his Master's thesis in architecture, he blogs on Thursday, June 10, 2004.

So yeah,
I had this polite gentleman emailing me the other day, saying that he will stop reading my blog because I sound like a broken record, going on and on cursing bush and his gang, some other small websites spending their time recycling my words started calling me the Booooooosh Booooooooooosh train!

Blog from June 23, 2004.

I didn’t see that attacking clerics like As Sadr would be the right answer, because he is strong enough to fight back, and he will become a national hero, and that happened. As Sadr is a national hero who is planning to join the next elections, after defeating the American army (he didn’t surrender, he is still having his army, right?)

In this blog, Friday, June 25, 2004, Raed argues that because the US has a fortified embassy in Jordan it is therefore "ruling" Jordan.


I hope Salam, Ghaith, and Raed are still friends. Their friendship is no different than ones we have with our friends. We usually have a lot in common, but those differences are what delight and attract us.


UPDATE: Omar at Iraq the Model blogs with a title that says it all: Warning!! Good news. Hazardous for pessimists, trolls and anti-war!

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