Iraqi Bloggers Roundup

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Welcome to Iraqi Bloggers Anonymous

Hi. My name is Louise and I’m an Iraqi Blog addict. As you may have already read, Torch has graciously offered me a cameo appearance on his (her?) blog. With any luck, I’ll be guest blogging about once a week. Thanks for the invite, Torch. I hope I don’t disappoint, or worse yet, get myself banned.

Torch does a great job of summarizing and critiquing Iraqi bloggers, so what I would like to focus on is the discussions by my fellow Iraqi Blog addicts. Be warned, though, I don’t suffer fools gladly.

However, this week all I'm going to do is wax philosophically on what Iraqi Bloggers, and those of us who are addicted to them, do for the world. First and foremost – do we learn a lot from each other!! The information that we share in the comments section augments the various points of view expressed by our favorite bloggers and every week there are invariably some great links to insightful news items and documents found on the web that anyone can read.

Anyone who has been reading the Iraqi blogs for the last while (some of them have been around for a year or more now) will know that we have witnessed a very strong bond develop between the bloggers and their loyal readers. This bond, IMHO, is itself a most valuable tool for promoting democracy and defeating terror. Those Iraqis who are blogging, or who are just posting their comments on Iraqi blogs, seem to have their resolve strengthened by the support we are giving them. And that support is genuine, as illustrated by how much we all worry when a blogger mysteriously disappears for a long time. Some of our Iraqi friends have had to deal with extreme crises and have shared that with us, and seem grateful that the world is bearing witness to their struggles. Just as their first hand accounts of what is really going on is important to us, our witness to their trials is important to them.

One of the really cool things about the Iraqi blogs is that those Iraqi bloggers and commenters who are still in Iraq are experiencing the exhilaration of freedom of expression for the first time. They are free to criticize not only the former regime, but the current interim government as well.

It is an understatement to say that we are witnessing the emergence of an extremely powerful tool for the whole of humanity - the Internet, which, through the vehicle of blogs, is giving voice to ordinary people the world over and Iraqi bloggers are the pioneers. They are spreading the call for freedom and are showing others what needs to be done.

Do I believe democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights can be achieved in Iraq? You bet. Throughout human history great ideas have spread across vast reaches of the globe, spread through such mediums as trade and the printing press, technology of transportation and communication, not to mention inveterate travelers like Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta. In our modern age, thanks to things like the Internet, the speed with which new ideas and deeper understanding of events spread and take hold is phenomenal. We're talking a few decades, perhaps even less, where such movements once took centuries. It's the domino theory again, but I believe it will happen and I believe the war in Iraq is one of the critical tipping points along the way. No wonder I'm an addict.

Let me close by wishing Fayrouz a Happy Anniversary!! Her blog will be a year old in just a few days. Blog on, Fayrouz! You are a gentle ambassador of peace and goodwill.