Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Return of Riverbend [Baghdad Burning]

Sometimes I find it amazing, the patterns of activity and inactivity and the promises to return by bloggers. Riverbend, whose blog "Baghdad Burning" was once one of the most popular recounts of the Iraq war available had recently become one of those 'every month or so' bloggers.

Here's the link : http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

Then she dissappeared alltogether after Khalid was capture, until just a few days ago. Come to think about it, I don't know why she wasn't the first person I reviewed.

The story of Riverbend is close to my heart, because she was the reason I became a blogger. It was her, Salam Pax and Raed that first caught my eyes and first gave me the desire to write a blog.

Come to think about it, I think they were probably some of the first blogs I ever bothered to read aswell.

Anyway, Riverbend has been blogging from inside Baghdad since August 2003.

Her blog details many changes seen in the streets, and many emotional occurances that will leave you in tears. She tells stories of near-death, of fear and of rejoice. Her blogs are generally well thought out and equally as well written and researched.

Riverbend is a professional Iraqi woman, a computer engineer I believe. Either way, she has finished University studies, was employed in a highly competitive job in computing before the war, is certainly by no means pro-violence, and is certainly against the presence of an Occupying Force in Iraq.

Her writings have been the inspiration I required for many of my own posts, and indeed have been the sources for much of my knowledge about Iraq, including being the first source I ever saw mention of the names "Badr's Brigade" and "SCIRI".

Before I found her blog I had only indymedia and mass media's opinions to go on, both of wich are highly biased one-way-or-the-other and often inaccurate in describing Iraqi traditions.

It was Riverbends writing and selection of words that made me melt. I fell inlove with her and her Iraqi blogger friends at first sight so-to-speak. In her prime time of blogging I would have given her blog the highest ranking I have given out yet-

a 9 and 1/2 out of 10!

But, due to her long pauses between writing and her not responding to my recent emails I will have to down-grade this mark to an 8 1/2, that'll teach her!

Anyway, I am going to post a few of my favourite quotes from her blog, because I feel so strongly about some of them that they must be seen here aswell as on my own blog and hers.

Some Up of Christmas 2004 in IRAQ ---

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Christmas Wishlist...
I have to make this fast.

No electricity for three days in a row (well, unless you count that glorious hour we got 3 days ago...). Generators on gasoline are hardly working at all. Generators on diesel fuel aren't faring much better- most will only work for 3 or 4 straight hours then they have to be turned off to rest.

Ok- what is the typical Iraqi Christmas wishlist (I won't list 'peace', 'security' and 'freedom' - Christmas miracles are exclusive to Charles Dickens), let's see:

1. 20 liters of gasoline
2. A cylinder of gas for cooking
3. Kerosene for the heaters
4. Those expensive blast-proof windows
5. Landmine detectors
6. Running water
7. Thuraya satellite phones (the mobile phone services are really, really bad of late)
8. Portable diesel generators (for the whole family to enjoy!)
9. Coleman rechargeable flashlight with extra batteries (you can never go wrong with a fancy flashlight)
10. Scented candles (it shows you care- but you're also practical)

When Santa delivers please make sure he is wearing a bullet-proof vest and helmet. He should also politely ring the doorbell or knock, as a more subtle entry might bring him face to face with an AK-47. With the current fuel shortage, reindeer and a sleigh are highly practical- but Rudolph should be left behind as the flashing red nose might create a bomb scare (we're all a little jumpy lately).

The weapons never existed. It's like having a loved one sentenced to death for a crime they didn't commit-
having your country burned and bombed beyond recognition, almost.
Then, after two years of grieving for the lost people, and mourning the lost sovereignty,
we're told we were innocent of harboring those weapons.
We were never a threat to America...

Congratulations Bush- we are a threat now.

Sometimes I'll be watching the news and the volume will be really low. The scene will be of a man, woman or child, wailing in front of the camera; crying at the fate of a body lying bloodily, stiffly on the ground- a demolished building in the background and it will take me a few moments to decide the location of this tragedy- Falloojeh? Gaza? Baghdad?

Condolences and heartfelt tears-
You get Bush for four more years!


Sympathies in advance
For when they reinstate the draft!
We hope (insert_name_here) stays as safe as he/she can
And writes frequently while in Iran!


Bush and Cheney- what a pair!
Who said life isn't fair?
While Iraq gets tanks and occupation-
You have idiots to run your nation!


Cheer up...
Your son was too young for Afghanistan.
And it's still a bit early for Iran-
But there's plenty of time for Syria...
And he'll definitely serve in North Korea!

[olivebranch] Ache- isn't she just too funny and too clever? [/oliverbanch]

Americans, the name of your country which once stood for ‘freedom and justice’ is tarnished worldwide. Your latest president has proved that the great American image of democracy is just that- an image. You can protest, you can demonstrate, you can vote- but it ends there. The reigns were out of your hands the moment Bush stepped into the White House. You were deceived repetitively and duped into two wars. Your sons and daughters are dying, and killing, in foreign lands. Your embassies are in danger all over the world. ‘America’ has become synonymous with ‘empire’, ‘hegemony’, and ‘warfare’. And why? All because you needed to be diverted away from the fact that your current president is a failure.

September 11… he sat there, reading the paper.
As he reached out for the cup in front of him for a sip of tea,
he could vaguely hear the sound of an airplane overhead.

It was a bright, fresh day and there was much he had to do… but the world suddenly went black-
a colossal explosion and then crushed bones under the weight of concrete and iron…

screams rose up around him… men, women and children… shards of glass sought out tender, unprotected skin
… he thought of his family and tried to rise, but something inside of him was broken…
there was a rising heat and the pungent smell of burning flesh mingled sickeningly with the smoke and the dust…
and suddenly it was blackness.

9/11/01? New York? World Trade Center?


9/11/04. Falloojeh. An Iraqi home.

[olivebranch] And just to finish of on a moment of shear brilliance [/olivebranch]

The Definition of Terror.

Terror isn't just worrying about a plane hitting a skyscraper…
terrorism is being caught in traffic and hearing the crack of an AK-47 a few meters away because the
National Guard want to let an American humvee or Iraqi official through.

Terror is watching your house being raided and knowing that the silliest thing might get you dragged away to Abu Ghraib
where soldiers can torture, beat and kill.

Terror is that first moment after a series of machine-gun shots,
when you lift your head frantically to make sure your loved ones are still in one piece.

Terror is trying to pick the shards of glass resulting from a nearby explosion out of the living-room couch
and trying not to imagine what would have happened if a person had been sitting there.


At 6:00 AM, Blogger Aunt Najma said...

Great quotes.. She IS brilliant.

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At 3:08 PM, Blogger aNarki-13 said...

Indeed she is.

and brilliant quotes. couldnt be more from the heart (MY heart that is) if i wanted them to.


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