Iraqi Bloggers Roundup

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

To pretend that the past two weeks have been anything but bad and ugly in Iraq is to profoundly ignore reality. Putting aside the media’s fixation on things that blow up or draw blood in the most gruesome of ways, the level of violence has obviously increased dramatically as the American elections draw nearer, and, it appears, no one is in control in Iraq.

Many have speculated the crescendo of atrocity is a deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of that election, but we really won’t know if that is true or if it isn’t until after November 2nd and even then, the proof will be hard to discern, as it is difficult to imagine that the violence will simply stop. After all, there are three competing groups, two of which appear to have found reason to form a “strange bedfellows” sort of alliance.

The group that desperately needs the support of Americans and their president, no matter which man it turns out to be, is, of course, the group upon which all hopes of democracy in Iraq rest. This group is represented by a growing number of bloggers whose sites many people the world over visit, and try to offer encouragement, each day. But the Islamists and the Arab Nationalists/
Ba’athists also, obviously, have well established and funded networks that are working together to prevent the hopes and aspirations of those Iraqis who long for democracy.

The most active Iraqi bloggers these past two weeks were also two of the longest standing – Sam, at Hammorabi, and the Fahdil brothers, at Iraq the Model. Sam can be counted upon to spread the news before the Western media knows what’s happening, with a graphic and sometimes humorous bite. The brothers, Ali, Omar and Mohammed never fail to provide the positive news that apparently no self-respecting MSM outlet thinks is newsworthy, especially when there is so much cannon fodder over which to salivate.

Included in the positive news were such gems as Omar’s receipt of a passport, and his utter delight as a free man, at being able to travel where and when he pleases, a right most of his readers, myself included, mindlessly take for granted. The Fahdil brothers also paint a picture of a commitment to a new and democratic Iraq. They find evidence of this, in reports of police arresting terrorists and their supporters and refusing lucrative bribes. They point to movements among Arabs and Muslims to reform their own societies and, within Iraq, especially, to a rekindling of long stifled and heavily controlled arts, such as poetry and painting.

Even as these positive stories are being told, one of the most outrageous acts of barbarism hit the newswires, with impeccable timing, one might note – the mass murder of 48 newly recruited members of the Iraqi army, traveling home from their training facility. The comments sections of the Iraqi bloggers continued to bristle with back and forth debate, sometimes bordering on the vicious; mostly about American politics on the eve of one of the most important presidential elections in modern history and, of course, on the seemingly endless spiral of violence in Iraq. There really were very few profoundly sage and moving comments. There were, however, strong and unfailing expressions of sympathy and support to their Iraqi friends.

I will end this week’s post with passages from two comments, one of which was in answer to the other. First, our new kid on the blogger’s block, Sami, has been both posting on his blog and actively participating in the comments pages. On October 26th, Sami plead the Iraqi case on Hammorabi’s blog:

“I am an Iraqi who was sooo happy to see the end of Saddam but talking to my family in Baghdad they give me bad news daily..... and they always complain and its natural to complain when the most safest and securest Iraqi in Iraq is the tyrant himself who gets 3 meals a day and sleeps comfortably in a cell without worrying about a bomb ........ it’s really tragic...... please help my people by supporting them even if they don’t suck up to Bush and Kerry....

we have been through so much and its only natural to be distrustful as our ultimate fears are we will be forgotten once again.

Thanks to all the kind posters in here who genuinely care about the Iraqi life rather than will Bush beat Kerry or not.......I don’t care who wins....as long as they financially and militarily support us to destroy the notion that sadly most Iraqis have that the west created Saddam and hence the conditions that are in Iraq where a small violent minority of Iraqis live on with his disturbing mentality.”

To which that stalwart and most gentle of anchors, Thinker, responded:

“Sami...Don't worry. We can take Allawi's criticism. People died and our people probably make security mistakes. WE are really grieving over the loss of these beautiful young men.

We are NOT perfect and we will make mistakes. Remember when you hear people arguing about our election....often...people here are so passionate because they really want to do right in Iraq and are worried about you.

The coalition has been pretty much attacked by the whole world and taken a lot of punishment for what they are trying to do. Like you, I wish Iraqis knew how much goodwill we feel for them.

Only the US could have done this because it seems we may be one of the world's few optimistic countries.”

Being an eternal optimist myself (who profoundly regrets she can’t vote in the American elections) I will also say that the world will not abandon Iraq. This is a pivotal event in history and surely there has never been a more important time for all of us to focus on what Ali, Omar and Mohammed see. Let THAT be the future of Iraq.

Louise - the Iraqi blog addict