Friday, August 27, 2004

End of the Road

Astoria, New York -- The executive board of Iraqi Bloggers Central, considered by many as one of the best of the new American weblogs about Iraq, voted unanimously today to discontinue its weblog service in protest of the amnesty given to Muqtada Al-Sadr and his Madhi militia.

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When I started this weblog back in May, I had five goals. First, I wanted to offer people a place where they could comment on the posts of those Iraqi Bloggers who refused to enable comments pages -- Faiza, Riverbend, Raed, and Khalid. This had already been started by Cry Me a Riverbend, but when he shut his site down due to death threats I decided to throw up a quick blog to carry the baton. Second, I wanted to create a blog that gave English-speakers an overview of the Iraqi Bloggers and add links to any articles that I thought would help us in our debates. Third, I wanted to try to force the two sides of the Iraqi Bloggers -- the pro- and anti-Coalition Iraqi Bloggers -- to engage in a real debate about issues. This didn't happen. The Deep Divide that was there at the beginning still remains. Fourth, I decided to blog every day. One thing that annoyed me as an avid reader of Iraqi blogs is when a blogger wouldn't post for days at a time. I think that a true blogger needs to write each and every day. I always like to check in each day and find something new. And fifth, I wanted to inject a little more humor. Some of my early posts, I think, were successful, but over the last month or so the events on the ground have precluded or at least reduced any generous injection of humor.

I recommend to all of you readers out there to think about starting a blog along the lines of Iraqi Bloggers Central. I learned something new every day while running this blog. Here are some suggestions. Make a promise to blog every day. Don't be afraid to advertise your blog. When I started, I was already known on the comments pages, so for the first two weeks I gave a synopsis of the day's blog and linked it. People saw my name and were interested. Iraq the Model, Hammorabi, Iraq at a Glance, and Little Green Footballs helped me gain a stable readership. You will have to work to gain and keep an audience. I teach fulltime and often until ten in the evening, so many of my posts were written -- Internet searches completed -- after midnight when I should have been in bed. It's up to you. When you link, go to the page source and link to the EXACT item you want, not just the general blog or website. This is more work, but this will make your blog historically accurate. You will be able to click on that link a year later and still pull up the exact post or article. Good blogging is labor-intensive but the benefits are incalculable. We need your voice and your ideas.

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Iraqis are blessed with many great people and I have been fortunate to befriend many of them. Omar, Ali, Mohammed, Sam, and AYS have been my good friends and helped keep this blog rolling. Thanks!

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Iraq's future. I'll be honest. I have no idea. I hope that in January Iraq will get the leaders it deserves, people like Ali and Mohammed and their Iraq Pro-Democracy Party.

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Today a reporter was walking through the Old City of Najaf and came across a father with his son in his arms. The boy was holding a plastic gun. The father grinned and said proudly, "When he grows up, he will kill Americans."

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Goodbye, everyone. Thanks to all the great readers who have engaged me and taught me so much this year.

I will now return as a frequent poster on the Iraqi blogs. (*groan* Oh hell, I thought we'd be able to get rid of this guy!)

I will add links to a collection of best-of posts later today.

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BEST-OF POSTS in chronological order.

May, 2004

Faiza Would More Likely Vote for Bush than Kerry
Mr. Peabody's Improbable History / Salam Pax, Raed Jarrar, and Gaith "G" Ahad
Twilight Zone: Judge and Executioner
Optimists vs. Pessimists?
Revenge of the Secular Muslims!
Another Jeffrey Holmes Mystery: The Strange Case of Asmar Ahmad

June, 2004

Primary Sources: The War Diary of Faiza Jarrar
Saving Private Jarrar
April 9, 2003: Igor Ivanov's Perspective
Raed Jarrar: Saddam, Mein Fuehrer!
Return of the Pink Panther (Asmar Ahmad)
Kick Riverbend out of the Foxhole (or is it Spiderhole?)
Raed Jarrar: Americans are Responsible for Beheadings
Two Views of Iraq: Faiza and Zeyad
The Story of Three Iraqi Friends
Fuzzy and Dangerous Logic

July, 2004

France Loves Moore Because Moore Says Americans are Stupid
A Vote for Al-Kerry is a Vote for Al-Qaeda
Why Iraq Will Be Unique in the Arab World
Out and About in Mosul
Mohammed on the Media
One Happy Iraqi: Hearts and Minds and ????
Gloria Arroyo: "This is how a leader squirms!"
Ass Monkeys and Other Professionals in Iraq
Al-Jazeera to Terrorists: Kidnap Anyone and Leave the Rest to Us!

August, 2004

Sheriff Lee C. Talks Straight
Al-Sadr's "Political Action Committee" at Work
Muqtada Al-Sadr's Infantile Dysfunction
It Ain't Over until the Fat Boy Sings!
Pepto-Bismal? Check.
Return of the Pink Panther (Salam Pax)
Muqtada Al-Sadr's Mullah Backers Hang 16-year-old Girl
Urban Warfare 101
How Much Longer, Muqtada?
Patched Up by Infidels, Al-Sistani Climbs on White Horse
The Arab Parallel Universe Triumphs Again




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