Iraqi Bloggers Roundup

Friday, November 19, 2004

Link Wars

Both Iraqi bloggers, and the people who read them, provide a vast array of links to secondary websites that support their views. Many of the links, of course, have a particular bias, and if a reader disagrees with the points made on the linked website, a customary response is to denounce the source or, never mind reading it, simply dismiss it because of its source!

In any case, the links do provide readers with a rich source of background reading that is undoubtedly turning many Iraqi blogger fans into a highly informed and discriminating group. Readers frequently demand a link from commenters who fail to convince, implying that a point of view backed up by a link carries more weight.

Whether the links support or detract from one’s position, they illustrate the power of the Internet, the robust nature of freedom of expression and what can happen when the two intertwine. Inadvertently, perhaps, Iraqi bloggers can be credited with being the leaders of the pack in demonstrating this particular strength of the Internet. Just as television is said to have influenced the outcome of the Viet Nam war, the Internet, with bloggers as intermediaries, are influencing this one.

Some of the links spawn completely new tangents to the thoughts presented by the blogger, like the one TaSS provided arguing in support of the marine who shot a wounded Iraqi 'insurgent'. Days later, the debate about the ‘rules of war’ (the ultimate oxymoron, if there ever was one, IMHO) continues and by now the reader has been provided with numerous secondary sources, which they can read.

Reading the links sometimes produces unintended outcomes. From Belgium, The Outlaw, Michael Cosyns, for example, provided this link to a Canadian website which advocates a return of Vietnam War phenomenon of draft dodgers and conscientious objectors fleeing to Canada. The site actually contains an enormous amount of excellent information for any skilled worker wishing to work in Canada. Since there is a critical shortage of skilled workers in my neck of the woods, despite its left leaning orientation and intent, I say to Americans, whether lefties or neocons, visit that site if you have marketable skills, and think it over. I like my country. And not withstanding the numerous stereotypes we have of each other, I think you will, too. Be advised though, I don’t think whining and supporting dictatorships in the name of defaming the US qualifies as a marketable skill, at least not where I live (Insert ‘shameless plug’ link here.)

And then there are the indispensable utilities provided by Brian H. Each of these offers the serious blogger and commenter alike, the tools to improve his or her skills and keep Brian happy, thus avoiding his hostile attacks, at the same time.

For example, need practice with that ever vexing series of keystrokes required to produce a live link? Try this.

Or even easier, use tinyurl.

Need to make sure you're using the right word? Well, there’s this one.

Spoiled by word processing's spell check feature and wish Haloscan had the same? This site is for you.

Now let me repost some of my favourite links from the last few days. Maybe these will spark a link war right here and we will actually get some hits on this blog!!

From PeteS, a definition of peace.

Kat in Missouri, a hat tip to you and to someone else, whose name I forgot to record (sorry), for reminders of what this war is all about:

Reminder 1.

Reminder 2.

Then there are two articles that discuss the hot topic of the week, the Marine who allegedly committed war crimes:

This one from Christina, Montana, USA.

And this, posted by ‘moi’. (That's two, count 'em, two, shameless plugs, for the price of one.)

Being a librarian by profession, I thought I’d ply my trade and plug - er - offer a few of my own links here. First, the original document governing the rules of war, since those rules seem to figure prominently in the debate of the week. We might as well have informed debate, while we're at it:

The Geneva Convention.

And an assortment of guides on how to evaluate the quality and authenticity of a website.

Cornell Library
Berkeley Library
New Mexico State University Library I
New Mexico State University Library II

I’ll close by showing one link, also from PeteS, which, after having been subjected to the aforementioned analytical techniques, is now in the trash can. fuck-canada. Thanks PeteS! I’m plotting my revenge.

Louise - the Iraqi blogger addict