I've been following Alaa's blog since he began to write it about four years ago, through my Bloglines subscription (although it's not currently in my public blogroll), and am both delighted and sad to note that he and his family have taken the major decision to emigrate to Canada, principally it seems for the safety and security of his children - it is very sad that he and his wife have felt it necessary to take such a step. Here is what I wrote in a comment to his latest post:
"I just read your recent posts about your move to Canada (I've been away recently and very busy with various matters) and am so glad you and your family have found safety there, although very sad that you, who know the situation in Iraq much better than any outsider can (looking in through the sometimes distorting lens of the media) have found it necessary to leave as so many others who have been able have chosen to do over the past couple of years. Scotland and Canada have close links (for example I have family ties there myself, as do many other Scots) and I am delighted you seem to be beginning the adaptation to a strange (but very friendly and civilised) country so well. Canada is lucky to have you."
I think this is a clearer indication than any number of media reports of what the situation really is like in at least some parts of Iraq; moves abroad by other Iraqi bloggers in the recent past have likewise been salutary indicators of the quasi-chaos engulfing the country. I wish Alaa and his family well in their new lives in Canada.