Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The In T View: Iraq The Model's Omar - Blogging's Modest Superstar




He's the Beckham of Bloggers.

Amidst the vast realms and recesses of the
Millions Strong Blogosphere crisscrossing the
Great Planet, very few Bloggers are Identified
- Widely Known by One Name. Omar from
Iraq The Model
is the exception.

Omar! Omar! Omar!

Omar Fadhil is an Iraqi Blogging Superstar,
Dentist, Ardent Supporter of Freedom and
Democracy in Iraq, and co-developer of a tool
that allows millions of voices that were
previously excluded from the Internet to
finally be heard.

And in: The In T View: Iraq The Model's Omar
- Blogging's Modest Superstar, we explore Omar's thoughts on Iraq, Islam, Dentistry, Blogging, Commentators, Picking Up Chicks, Freedom, Book Deals, and a whole lot more.

It's The In T View: Iraq The Model's
Omar - Blogging's Modest Superstar



MG: Omar, How the Hell are you these
days?

Omar: I'm fine as hell!


MG: Okay, let's talk about the
Biggest Rumors that are associated with you:

Rumor 1: The Brothers Fadhil and you have a
Book Deal or are writing a book. Can you
clarify this issue?

Omar: As you just described it my
friend, these are rumors; there's no such
deal and we're not working on a book but
if a deal is offered we will think about
it for sure.


MG: Rumor 2: You have lots of
American Girlfriends. Any comments?

Omar: I have lots of American friends,
both men and women but no *girlfriends*.


MG: Rumor 3: You and the Brothers work
for a certain American Spy Agency. LOL. Hmmm?

Omar: Actually we work for an extra-terrestrial spy agency from Jupiter.


MG:Speaking of which, if you're really
on the CIA's payroll, shouldn't you be making
more than a Iraqi Dentist's salary?

Omar: I don't know exactly how much
money the CIA offers but those purple guys
from Jupiter pay really good money! You want
me to talk to them? Maybe I can find you a
job with us.


MG: Do you give discounts to pretty
Female Patients or at least give them a free
shot of Novocaine on the house?

Omar: A patient is a patient (in the
same way that a customer is a customer),
that's how I do any kind of business and
by the way I don't have my own clinic.


MG: Do Male Iraqi Dentists treat female patients or is their Sexual Segregation,
with Women Dentists treating female patients?

Omar: There's no such segregation; I
worked in a place where the majority of the population is very committed She'at in the
marshes area for one year and the female/male patient ratio was close to 3/2.


MG: When you were growing up, did you
say to yourself, "Omar, you are going to be
one Bad Ass Iraqi Dentist someday." Just
kidding. Why did you choose to become a
dentist?

Omar: I didn't choose dentistry out of
love for dentistry at that time. My marks
qualified me to get any college I wanted
but I saw Ali studying medicine and I saw
Mohammed studying dentistry and I made a
comparison between the two colleges (not professions) and dentistry won, one year
less at college, less books to read, more
practical and more fun.

When I was a kid I wanted to become a pilot
(typical kid dreams I guess) but later at high school I realized that I was fond of physics
but the poor future for graduates of that
college made me discard the idea. I still love physics till this moment. Anyway, I don't
regret being a dentist; it's a nice profession.


MG: Did you ever think of leaving
Iraq and moving to America to become the
Dentist To The Stars? You know Brad Pitt
there, has a seperate dentist for each
one of his teeth, and right now, I think
there's a vacancy with his upper left
bicuspid.

Omar: If that's true about Brad Pitt,
then I announce him a tooth-freak! No, really,
I like the place where I live and I wish it
becomes as modern and civilized as the States
are.


MG: Is dentistry a lucrative profession
in Iraq? When you're introduced as a Dentist
to friends and strangers, do women,
particularly Moms with unmarried daughters,
see Dinar Signs in their eyes, when they
learn of your profession and want you to
meet their 35-year-old unmarried daughter
Fatima? Unfortunately, Fatima usually has a
unibrow and a bushier mustache than you do.

Omar: LOL, not exactly because being a dentist has more social value than material (economic) value; it's a classy profession
but it isn't an indication of being rich.


MG: And speaking of your mustache,
Omar, I don't want to hurt your feelings,
but it's kind of wimpy looking. Do you ever
wish you had one of those full-figured,
Charles Bronson, "Back Away From Me Punk"
macho type stashes?

Omar: I don't feel hurt at all! It's actually funny; the truth is that I don't pay
much attention to the way I look. I usually
have a very short moustache (although I had a
thick one two years ago) I graded the hair
clipper so that it keeps my moustache at 2mm
high and I trim it every other day but when
I'm busy I forget or ignore doing this for
a week or more and that's when the wimpy
looking moustache appears.


MG: How difficult is it to critique
and criticize Islam in a nation with a
Majority Muslim population?

Omar: Criticizing any religion as a
whole is not a good idea regardless of the
place but I can show criticism to certain
ideas I consider wrong but I usually tend
to avoid having such discussions with
extremists of either sect.


MG: Omar, I believe there are two
forces in Iraq that have the unique ability
to unite all the Iraqis from the Shias to
Kurds, Sunnis to Islamicists, Baathists to Christians. And those are Soccer, and
Jennifer Aniston's Hair.

MG: Can you explain to me the
smoldering Mid East Love Affair with
Jennifer Aniston's hair?

Omar: I'm not really fond of Aniston
but I think she has a nice hair. I actually
find Angelina Jolie more attractive.


MG: Let's try a little Word Association, Omar:

Riverbend

Omar: Fake

Muqti al Sadr

Omar: One digit IQ

Salam Pax

Omar: A spark

Al Jazeera

Omar: You mean Al-Bin Ladeera?

Sam from Hammorabi

Omar: Can do better

Ladybird from Baghdad Dweller

Omar: Promising blogger


MG: Will you be attending the Raed Jarrar
and Nikki the Irani's Wedding?

Omar: I hate weddings


MG: Omar, how did you become interested
in Blogging and how did your Blog:
Iraq The Model
come about?

Omar: We-the three of us-were searching
for a way to enter the world of the internet
and we were trying to find a way to start our
own website as we had a LOT to say but technical difficulties stood in our way until Zeyad one
day told me and AYS that he started a "blog".

Okay, what the hell is that? Was my question.
He explained the outlines of the idea to me
and within less than a week Iraq the Model
and Iraq at a Glance were up. By the way,
Mohammed chose the name of the blog.


MG: How well known is Iraq The Model
in Iraq?

Omar: Not well known as far as I know,
only friends and family know that we run this
blog and I receive a few e mails every now and
then from readers in Iraq.


MG: How does the Media in Iraq treat
Iraqi Blogs? Do they even know they exist
or just become aware of them, when they need
to swipe a photo?

Omar: The 2nd choice; they become aware
of them only when they need to swipe a photo.


MG: Omar, as ITM has become more well
known, do you feel your safety and security
have been compromised?

Omar: I think I was more concerned about personal safety and security when I started
the blog than I am right now.


MG: Besides your Blog, are there
any other Blogs you like to read?

Omar: I check about 60 or 70 blogs
twice everyday but I especially enjoy reading
a number of blogs like Instapundit, Buzz
Machine, Chrenkoff, Roger Simon and Harry's
Place as well as a number of military blogs
and Iraqi blogs written in English and in
Arabic.


MG: Omar, let's talk a little bit about
the commentators to your Blog, those people who share their opinions, links, and questions,
after each and every one of ITM's Postings.
So, how do you feel towards ITM's Commentators?

Omar: I say that blogging can't be
complete without comments and I really consider
many most of the commentators as friends but I
wish the commentators would stick more to the
topic of the post.


MG: Will you be adopting a
Registration System for your Comments
Section soon?

Omar: I'm not working on that right now, maybe in the future.


MG: And you deleted about 120 comments
from a recent thread, provoking cries of
anguish from many of the posters. Did you
have a reason to delete those comments?

Omar: I deleted exactly 83 comments,
not 120 and of course I had a reason; I
deleted only the comments that were off topic
and that were related to the stupid and racist conversation that took place that day. I am not
sure I took the right move but I am sure that engaging someone in an "impotent or sterile" conversation is not smart at all. So I wanted
to put an end to these conversations. I expect
that anyone would be pissed of when he finds
that only 6 out of 90 comments posted on his
blog were related to his post.


MG: What's the Iraqi's people's
favorite brand of toothpaste?

Omar: The most common brand is a
Turkish one called Sanino, but a lot of
people prefer Signal-2, I like Close Up more.


MG: Do you have any Pets?

Omar: I don't have any pets at the
moment but I had different pets at earlier
times. Frankly speaking, our home used to
look like a Zoo at certain times.


MG: What's the best way to mitigate
against Terrorism, other than shooting the
Terrorists in the Head, which is my preferred method?

Omar: I think shooting them in the head
is just a symptomatic treatment, i.e. it
relieves the situation for a while but
doesn't eradicate the origin of the
disease.

We need to prove that their ideology is wrong
by showing the people that democracy, respect
for human rights and tolerance can bring
prosperity and protect everyone's rights.
Terrorism grows and flourishes under
tyrannies (although in a latent form
sometimes) so I believe that fighting
terrorism militarily should go side
by side with building a state of law,
human rights and democracy.


MG: Tell us about the Spirit of America
and how you got involved with the organization?

Omar: I had a link on my blog to Spirit
of America long before we started to cooperate
on a number of projects that aim at promoting democracy and freedom of speech. The practical involvement began when one of our dearest friends, Kerry Dupont who was the project manager of that organization for some time introduced us to Jim Hake, the founder of Spirit of America. The most important project we worked together on was developing the Arabic blogging tool and I'm
really proud of being part of this project
which is proving sizable success.


MG: Omar, you helped develop the Arabic Blogging Tool. What exactly is it and what does
it do for those of an Arabic persuasion?

Omar: The idea is pretty simple, we took
an almost ready tool and translated the buttons
and key words to make it easier for non-English speaking users and the tool was modified to
better accept Arabic texts (you know the right
to left vs. left to right thing).

The tool also provides the user with the
ability to publish pictures, audio and even
video files for free, i.e. no upgrade fees
required.


MG: So Omar, what is the typical Omar
move when you're trying to impress an Iraqi
Hottie Woman? Do you tell her, "Hey Baby,
I'm very good at filling all your cavities,
if you know what I mean?"

Omar: LOL, no really, I'm not good at flirting and when I try to impress a hottie
I just ignore her! A technique that had been successful in keeping me as single as a
plagued dog!


MG: Omar, what does Freedom mean to you
and how can the Iraqi people safeguard this
newfound Freedom?

Omar: Freedom is life to me. Iraqis can safeguard their freedom by respecting each
other's freedoms.


MG: Omar, when you're knock-knock-
knocking on Heaven's Door and about to draw
your Final Breath, will you be able to say to yourself, "Omar Fadhil, you have lived your
life to the fullest and you have made the
world a better place?"

Omar: If this is to happen soon, then
I think I won't be qualified to say that.


MG: What Does God or Allah mean to you?

Omar: The living conscience.


MG: The great majority of Muslims around
the world, even those living in the West, seem
to have a hard time questioning Islam and
especially the Prophet. Why? Do you think
this is ok? It must take courage to go
against that trend.

Omar: This is not okay for sure. Lots
of myths and wrong ideas and practices were introduced into Islam over the past 14
centuries and if Muslims want to keep
their belief alive they must overcome
this fear and start questioning things.

What many people unfortunately fail to understand/remember is that Islam didn't
come up with rigid molds; instead Islam
provided EXAMPLES and asked the people
to work their minds to find solutions
for future similar problems that would
definitely be different from the troubles
existed at the time when Quran came.

God, through the Quran itself asked Muslims
to THINK and ASK in order to reach the truth
and I believe that intimidating people and preventing them from practicing their right of thinking is a harsh violation to human rights.


MG: Is Islam really compatible with
Women's Rights?

Omar: Islam in the form it came in 14 centuries ago is not compatible with TODAY'S
women rights but at that time it granted women
many rights they were deprived of. The nature
and needs of societies change with time, that's
why civic laws and constitutions are written. No society can exclusively depend on a legislation written hundreds or thousands years ago and at
the same time seeks progress.


MG: What is the most beautiful place in
Iraq to you?

Omar: Any place the Tigris or the
Euphrates passes through. I also like the
mountains and waterfalls in Kurdistan as
well as the marshes. It's really hard to
decide which place is more beautiful.


MG: Omar, What is your biggest fear?

Omar: Snakes!


MG: Saddam's regime stole 50 years of progress in Iraq - In the 50's Iraq was more progressive than any Arab nations, it was
secular, it had a real economy, and women
were active in the society. Do you think
Iraq can reach that level again or even
go beyond it?

Omar: I believe Iraq can go beyond that
and we can already see signs pointing in this direction especially on the political aspect
but to have an overall major progress that
put Iraq in the front again, it will take
maybe 10 years.


MG: If some one asked you to describe the differences between Iraqis and Americans, what
would you say?

Omar: I don't think I can give a full
essay on this subject but I've noticed that Americans are more hardworking than Iraqis in general and they also have a greater respect for time (not respecting time is a 3rd world trait
by the way!).

Another weird difference I noticed is that most Americans hate American cars while most Iraqis
love American cars.

However, I have noticed (and this may sound
bizarre) that Americans and Iraqis have more
things in common than either of them have
with most Europeans, especially when it
comes to keeping a sense of humor at the
hardest times. Maybe I'm wrong but believe
me; this is how I see it.


MG: What do you wish for your children
and future generations in Iraq?

Omar: I wish they get to live in a
violence-free, oppression-free Iraq where
they can get all what they deserve.


MG: That's very much for a Nice
Interview, Omar, and Final Question: Have
you ever seen a Ghost?

Omar: Would they still be considered
ghosts if one got to see them?

(And Special Thanks to Diane Carriere for additional questions.)



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