Friday, March 27, 2009

On the Banks of the Tigris

In his latest entry at Baghdad Blogger, Salam Pax writes about sitting on the banks of the Tigris on a warm, sunny day in Baghdad with a newspaper in his hands. He comes across a headline for an AP article by Hamza Hendawi (about whom I've written here) about the very city he was sitting in. Stunned by the headline, Salam sets the newspaper aside, thinks about it, and then picks up the paper again and starts to look squarely at his hometown.

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Michael Totten has started to publish new pieces from his latest trip to Iraq. You can now read "Baghdad in Fragments" on his website.

UPDATE: Over at PJM, Richard Fernandez (Belmont Club) has written a very good analysis of how Totten's reporting differs from the standard MSM product: Eyes Wide Open.

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Shaggy's Dad is still trying to find his son a wife but isn't having much luck. Shaggy reports:
Whilst working on some paper work, my dad introduced me to the niece of the managing director of the government office we were at. That was about ten days ago, and up until a couple of days the girl would insist that we talk every night on the phone. I'd be barely awake and talk with her for a rather boring hour. [power cut..] Just spoke to her now though. Now I told dad that after speaking to her that she's not right for me, and he told me that I have to break it off with her, but I just don't know how to without hurting her feelings. I know, it's better to deal with it sooner than later, but I do keep throwing suggestions that I'm not interested.
Well, at least Shaggy has Tequila and a doner kebab to help him figure out what to do.

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Even worse than the decline in the number of new Iraqi bloggers has been the utter destruction of the comments pages in the Iraqi blogosphere. Where once one could find very lively debates -- many of them heated, of course -- one now finds the same entrenched views repeated ad nauseum. The same people who ruined Zeyad's comments pages are now migrating over to Iraqi Mojo's, where they display and reinforce their irrational hatreds. The glory days of the Iraqi blogosphere comments pages are long gone.

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Echoing Salam Pax's entry on relocated families in Baghdad, Touta today writes about a man from her neighborhood who had been forced out of his house due to the violence from a year or two ago ("And That's How It Goes Down"). He shut the house up, moved to Jordan, and then returned to find another family living in his home. At the gate of his house, the owner encounters a man in a tracksuit. Touta reports:
Suddenly the man points an angry finger at the guy in the tracksuit at the house's gate. He says (translated badly by me): " Look! Look People! Look at why we will never be at peace, why we will never have success and power! This is my house, 20 years of work! 20 years! Who is this?! Can any of you tell me who is living in my house!? By my blood, i built this house brick by brick!". His voice breaks at the last sentence, and he really looks like he can't talk anymore.

Ever felt a deep stab of pity and sorrow[?] I did for the man. Why would he lie? He walks round in a circle, and i somehow feel he is trying his best not to scream/cry.
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