Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The In T View: The Readers Of Iraq The Model Sound Off: Lydia

Ziggaraut of UR photo appears Courtesy of Lubinski - Flickr

Generally, I In T View bloggers, journalists, writers, human rights advocates, and soldiers, but this time I thought I would expand the horizons a bit and In T View the readers of of one of the most popular and beloved Mideast and Iraqi blogs, Iraq The Model, and let them sound off, share their views, about ITM and Iraq.

Iraq The Model comes complete with a strong and loyal readership and a feisty crew of articulate commenters offering their thoughts on Omar's and Mohammed's evaluation of events in their country, the Iraqi conflict, politics, terrorism, Islam, and the actions of the Coalition Forces.

In this In T View, we feature Lydia, an American geologist, who loves her work and who has met both Omar and Mohammed. Lydia served in the U.S. Military, is a strong believer in Democracy and Freedom in the Middle East, and can be found at the very fine blog, The Killing Zone, which covers the battle women face around the world to have their human rights respected. Take it away, Lydia...

MG: Hi Lydia, how did you become aware of Iraq The Model and decide to comment there?

Lydia: Short version: Through Zeyad. Longer version: With the run up to the Iraq war, I was curious how my fellow Americans felt. So I found Yahoo! message boards, and found overwhelmingly that right-leaning folks were hesitant to support it, willing to debate it, and lefties babbling incoherently about BushHitlerMcHalliNeoCoNazi JEWWWWWS blah blah blah. Curiously enough, a New Zealander posted links to Zeyad's blog on Yahoo! where he mentioned his buddies at ITM. I decided to comment to express my support & hope for the Iraqi people.

MG: Are you as optimistic about Iraq now, as when you first started reading and commenting at ITM?

Lydia: I have my ups and downs. I've remained at a 50-50 optimism throughout, though, just because it's simply too early to tell.

MG: Did you find that ITM was better when Ali was involved with the blog?

Lydia: Not necessarily better, but certainly different. He added a certain spice to the mix, and his brand of humor always brought my spirits up, if even for a brief time before more bad news set in. I will simply say this: I miss the cohesion of the "Brothers-3", as us ITMers came to know them.

MG: There have been criticisms directed towards ITM and the brothers that they are too Pro-American or American Agents, Working for the CIA, not really Iraqis or located in Iraq, etc. How do you respond to this?

Lydia: I used to get very upset. These days I laugh, roll my eyes and scroll on by the accuser. ITMers can defend the brothers vehemently, but whose mind does it change? Why bother? As a veteran of the first Gulf War, I've had experiences with Iraqis. The one thing I came away with was this: you don't have to love us, or even like us, just don't try and kill us. For example, Zeyad has a really good reason to hate Americans, or at least our GIs, but he's displayed a remarkable resilience against that type of unbridled hatred. I applaud the hell out of him for that. I guess my point is: there are those who will forever despise Americans, including Americans and our allies, who see nefarious schemes in everything a gov't does. They're nuts who can't be reasoned with. And I'm thinking specifically of the psychonutjobfromhell, Ganhdi. So in short, kiss Karl Rove's ass.

MG: Has it been a learning experience reading ITM? You likely know more about Iraqi politics now, than you did before reading the Brothers' Blog, but have they also given you insights into other facets of Iraqi Society such as culture and history?

Lydia: You bet it has! I made the mistake of asking Mohammed what his mother's name is. His response was to laugh and politely remind me that one does not ask another's mum's name. But there are other numerous examples that simply can't be listed here. Zeyad had a good history lesson for us too, which was invaluable.

Iraqi Boy With Grapes - Photo Appears Courtesy of YourLocalDave - Flickr

MG: Should the US have involved itself in Iraq? Has it been a worthwhile endeavor?

Lydia: Whoo, boy. That's still a tough one to answer. 80% yes. One doesn't answer that one lightly, now do they? You don't wish your soldiers to go to war, and you know darn well that there will be civilian casualties. I didn't support the intial invasion, but once it started, I continue to pray for success in the mission. God Bless our Troops.

MG: Does the World Media (Television, Radio, and Newspapers) present an accurate view of what's happening in Iraq?

Lydia: Nope. Not anything close to what you can get by reading Iraqi blogs.

MG: Which ITM Brother -- Omar or Mohammed -- would you like to give a hug to or have a beer with and why?

Lydia: If I had to chose? I suppose Mohammed, as he's closer to my age. But since I've met them both already, no choices need to be made. You rock, dudes!

MG: On February 20, 1258 A.D., the Mongols overran Baghdad, plundered and destroyed the city, and conducted a massacre of the residents that claimed 800,000 lives. Things don't look as bleak for the Iraqis now, still the topic of an Iraqi Civil War is being bandied about in the Media every day, and I have to ask: Is Iraq currently involved in a Civil War?

Lydia: Crikies... who knows? Again, 50-50.

MG: Do you have a Favorite Poster at ITM, who you like or admire, and can you tell us why?

Lydia: Hameed Abid. His optimism grows by the day it seems and his defiance to the trouble makers knows no bounds. I love how he stomps on the snarky assholes like Snott or Sod. Nothin like an Iraqi ex-pat to give them what-for in his knowledge and understanding of the situation, which they have very little of.

MG: One of my escapist fantasies is to walk the length and breadth of Iraq from Southern Kurdisitan down to Mosul, though due to my blue eyes and practically albino skin, they'd likely be using me for target practice before I made it out of Mosul, certainly I'd be in trouble in Fallujah LOL... When conditions become safer for travel in Iraq, would you like to visit the country?

Lydia: The Marshes. I want to see how they're coming along. Any of the old ancient civilazation sites. Babylon etc. Hell, anything ancient and old.

MG: The Recent Loss of Omar's, Mo's, and Ali's Brother-in-Law elicited many outporings of sympathy from ITM's readers and commenters, similar to if the readers/commenters had lost a member of their own extended family. When you post at ITM, is there a sense of being part of an extended family?

Lydia: Truly yes. I couldn't find the words. I still can't.

MG: Has a bond been established, both between the posters themselves and Omar and Mo?

Lydia: Those two dudes are the ambassadors of their country, as far I'm concerned. The whole family is remarkable. They're why I have hope that our servicemembers have not died in vain. They're why I believe Iraq has a future w/out bloodshed. They're my friends.

MG: Having come to know Omar and Mo through their writings these last few years, what is the one thing, you would like to say to them?

Lydia: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction. Soar like Eagles, mis amigos... you're much loved and appreciated.

MG Says: Thanks to Lydia!

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