Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Graduations and Weddng Bells in the Iraqi Blogosphere

Three Iraqi bloggers have graduated this spring here in the United States of America. Bassam Sebti (Baghdad Treasure) graduated with a Master's in Writing from St. Joseph's University, a Jesuit institution in Philadelphia. In a profile on Bassam published recently for the school newspaper, we learn a little more about his plans after graduation.
After graduating in May, Sebti hopes to work for a New York City or Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization that deals with Iraq, especially one that defends the freedom of speech and protects the media, extending to his fellow Iraqi journalists. He hopes to see continued coverage of the Iraqi political situation, but with more objectivity and a special attention to how the war affects the people.

"I think American journalists should concentrate on the human side of the story instead of just covering the surface. The war and the political struggle in Iraq are far from simple and not just a black-or-white vision. It's not just evil trying to dominate the good," Sebti says emphatically. "There is much that Americans are not aware of and it's the journalists' duty to educate the public so they can understand the real story in Iraq."
So it looks like instead of returning to Iraq, Bassam will stay in the US and try to help Iraqis from Washington or New York.

Omar Fekeiki (24 Steps to Liberty) graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Master's in Journalism this spring. For an in-depth profile on Omar, take a look at this piece in Salon by Gary Kamiya, one of his journalism professors. In it you will learn of Omar's belief that Iraqis need another strongman in charge of the country, a kind of Saddam-lite. He suggests Allawi.

At the graduation ceremony at Berkeley, Omar was invited to give a speech, during which he offered his own "breaking news" to the audience:
And then, from the podium, he called up the person closest to him right now, 30-year-old Ban Hameed, whom he'd met eight years ago when they were both college students in Baghdad. She made her way to the platform, looking embarrassed. "I was afraid she would pass out," said Fekeiki on Monday.

In the past year, what had been a close friendship had turned into a close romance. Fekeiki told the audience he had one more thing to say, and then told her that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. They embraced, she sobbed and he gave her a ring. Although this came as a surprise to her, he had been reasonably sure she'd say yes. "I'm a good reporter," he said Monday. "I did research before I did it." They plan to marry in April.
Man, Omar seems to have a flair for the dramatic. He really is becoming American.

We haven't heard much from Morbido (Morbid Smile), but as far as I know she has graduated with a Master's degree in English Literature and may be finishing her dissertation at this time. All of her regular readers have been waiting for her to update her blog to see how she's doing.

Zeyad Kasim (Healing Iraq) graduated from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism back in January. As far as we know, he is in New York, probably still working for IraqSloggers on an H-1 visa. You can check him out on Facebook and become his friend.

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On Saturday, over at Skies, Sami wrote about a childhood memory that stimulated a very interesting discussion in which commenter Laura helped me understand a memory from my own past.

Can you recall your earliest memory?

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