Iraqi Blogs - a fast developing phenomenon
Prior to the invasion of Iraq earlier this year, one Iraqi blogger became very well known ('Salam Pax'); shortly before the culmination of the invasion, he went off air, but fortunately re-appeared some weeks later - eventually being brought to London and writing for a period for the Guardian newspaper. Since returning to Iraq, 'Salam Pax' has posted rather infrequently, most probably because he has to use internet cafes and apparently funds are tight. He no doubt has other more pressing matters on his mind right now, anyway. Unfortunate for us who liked to read what he had to say, but practicalities have probably intervened.
In the last few weeks, several new Iraqi bloggers have appeared, and their personal circumstances seem to allow them to post more or less at will, other time commitments permitting. Firstly, there his Zeyad with his Healing Iraq blog, then a few weeks later we had Alaa with his Mesopotamian blog. Most recently, in the last few days, has appeared a third put up by AYS with his Iraq at a glance blog. Both Zeyad and Alaa seem to have a pretty complete command of English and write very interesting posts. Alaa's use of language can be a bit 'flowery', though - perhaps this is attributable to what he describes as his 'advanced years'; he describes himself as an engineer, but from my own knowledge of Iraqis and Arabs of other nationalities, he is probably a very cultured gentleman quite apart from that. AYS's English is perhaps not quite so good, but it is clear enough what he is trying to say - he is apparently a colleague of Zeyad at the dental clinic they both work at as dentists. I read all three of these blogs very regularly now.
There are a number of other Iraqi blogs which I visit occasionally, for example: Baghdad Burning and G. G, however, has not posted in a couple of months.
There is also the phenomenon of US military personnel posting their own personal blogs. The most famous, until a couple of months ago, was LT Smash who was until recently based in Koweit, but is now back home in San Diego where he continues to write under the name he used prior to his military service as the IndePundit. He is a skillful narrator and writer. There was also the short-lived Boots on the Ground whose somewhat garbled English was interesting to read, although his postings varied from the 'mid-west farmboy' to the 'enthusiastic patriot'; I'm sure it was all sincere, though. I came across LETTERS FROM BAGHDAD recently - this appears to be a genuinely private blog, in that all the messages seem to be addressed to his girlfriend/wife back home although they touch on what is happening in his unit and around him in a very interesting way.
There are a few others I have visited from time to time and I may add an update or amendment of this post in future.