Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sunshine & Mama

These blogs I will enjoy reviewing very much! I have just for the first time found a way to contribute physically to the future of Iraq and its people, thanks to my illness, Asthma.

Sunshine posted recently about her terrible Asthma and the effects that rising pollution is having on her. She also posted that she had run out of her asthma medication "terbutaline" and "pulmicort" inhalers, the non-spray kind.

These are impossible to obtain in the Mid.East, because the more popular "turbo-inhaler" has taken over. To make a long story short, I can and did get a hold of these drugs, and am sending them over to Dubai to Rose , Sunshine's aunt, who will then ensure it arrives safely to Sunshine in Mosul.

Sunshine is a 14year old girl of extremely high intelligence. Her english compares with my own, and her maturity does also. The war is having its toll on this little angel, but she insists she must continue to "shine brightly".

I have no doubt that in the future of Iraq, she will play a major role of some sort, and if she did not, then Iraq would not be as good a place as it could be.

Sunshine has many fans, gets many comments and updates regularly with both factual and emotional events. I give her blog a 9/10 for content, but it does not quite better than the previously mentioned blogs, YET, because it is still relatively new.

Mama her mother explains her struggle to raise Sunshine since Saddam decided to invade Kuwait, the year Sunshine was born. This caused all sorts of hassles for those raising children, that we outside of Iraq can not begin to imagine.

Imagine having no toys, no money and barely any electricity/water. Imagine not having a constant food supply or 'well paying' jobs. Imagine not being able to import medicines when you needed them. Imagine watching relatives dissapear and hoping you are not the next. Imagine fearing for your daughters life every time she leaves for school.

Then imagine your country is occupied by another force, which does all the same and then worse. Imagine terrorists spring up from under your feat and start shooting in your street, waking your children up in terror.

This is the life that faced Mama and these are her stories. Mama gets an 8/10 so far, but there is still much for Mama to say.

Mama's blog can be found at

Sunshine's blog can be found at

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Aunt Najma and HNK

These two young sisters, Najma (19 [my age]) and hnk (1988 [slightly younger]) are both from Mosul in the North of Iraq. Both are against violence and both are religious, the center of their lives/happiness is the gorgeous Aya who they often help to raise and look after.

The girls both study hard, and Najma has many outside of school lessons, on the way to which she often see's the bad state of things in her town and its surroundings....

Hnk' occasionally gets depressed and worried, but her readers who value her so much seem to keep her bouncing back with their supportive and selfless comments :)

Both girls provide great insight's into what life is really like in Iraq, and they both reply to e-mails if you want to talk with them! Their english is very good, and improving every post they write on their blogs!

I would give them both a really high rating on their blogs, an 8or9 out of 10! Probably an 8/10 for most of the time, but ocassionally they post some 10/10's.

Najma' does a monthly "carnival of the relatives", where she posts on her own blog and Iraq Blog Count the posts of all her relative's that blog. There are many of them including her cousins, aunts, father and sister! They both have links coming off their blogs to other Iraqi and non-Iraqi blogs (like my blog!).

DEFINATELY check these on a daily basis, because they bring news regularly and are often one of the first to know about a lot of things (like Khalid....)

Najma's blog can be found at

Hnk's blog can be found at

Next on the list of reviews will be "Sunshine" and "Mama", their blogs will be reviewed by ME tommorow!

Also, watch for Mike's review of Iraq Blog Count!

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Jarrar Family (Khalid, Raed, Faiza)

To those who are new to the blogsphere, particularly those new to the Iraqi blogsphere, you will not know who Khalid & Raed are.

Their family started a 'wardiary' years ago, featuring Faiza(mother), Raed (oldest son), Khalid (middle son) and Majid (teenage son). Majid has since moved internationally, and Raed now lives in neighbouring Jordan, where it is much safer to work and live.

Raed's blog is one of the more popular Iraqi blogs, with over 1.1million page-hits, you could say it close to being the center of the Iraqi (english)blogsphere. The center, in my opinion for English Iraqi blogs, the biggest attraction would be Iraq Blog Count which can be found at

Raed is anti-occupation and anti-violence. He does not support terrorists, he does not support the current Iraqi administration, or the occupying force. He has witnessed many of the tragedies now facing Iraq, and many of those from the past. Raed is an architecht by proffession and has very fluent english.

I give this blog a 7/10 and here is a link:

Recently, Khalid was abducted and wrongfully detained by the Iraqi Mukhabarat (Secret Police). The full story about his abduction can be found on his blog. Khalid is not related to violence in any way, is a religious and reasonable man who is against the oppression of any human being. When Khalid was detained, a major campaign was launched by bloggers from all over the world, this campaign infact was the beginning of a friendship for me[olivebranch] and Mike the other contributor to this blog.

After thousands of people wrote emails and signed petitions, said prayers to their own gods and to Khalids, he was finally released free of charge 13 days after his abduction. The story of his abduction should not be the defining factor for Khalid though, his open and inquisitive personality and free-style of writing makes his blog an extremely enjoyable read, and allows for his emotions to flow freely into his writing, increasing your reading pleasure!

I give his blog an 8/10! here is the link

Faiza, the mother is a feiry and intelligent woman. An Engineer from a prominent Shia family in Baghdad, she writes with passion and shows contempt for terrorists and the occupying force for making Iraqi's endure such suffering. She recently travelled to the USA for a 'peace building' course. Faiza's blog is written in Arabic and then translated into English by a friend. This blog is very moving, written from both a proffessional view and from a mothers view, it often shows how situations can shape a persons perspective.

Faiza and Family are the kind of people that is required for the rebuilding process to be successfull in Iraq. Kind hearted, hard working and intelligent people who are unfortunately becoming alienated about the whole rebuilding proccess, because so much negativity has come from the occupation.

I expect them to play their role with their entire hearts and every ounce of energy or penny they have, because thats the kind of family they are. Faiza's blog gets also an 8/10 bordering 9/10 sometimes. Check it out for yourself and read back to the contributions made by Raed and Khalid years ago.

Watch for the next update about 17 year old Moslawi girl Najma and her sister HNK.

Will add more blogs to this list later, and give reviews on them also! The purpose of this blog will be to effectively act as a 'link page' of blogs that both myself and Mike find worthy of note. So far our favourite blogs come almost entirely from Iraq, though not exclusively.

Thursday, August 18, 2005