‘Baghdad Burning’ is one girl’s blog that burns through you like a bullet

Ok, I guess it’s about time we got a touch more serious here at MiContent. A lot of my recent blog posts have been based around the ‘nicer’ aspects of the Blogosphere, you know, kid’s blogs, funny sites, the weird and the wacky. Well, the truth of the matter is that for many reasons I would often rather write about topics that bring a smile to your face than to be just another voice focussing all my attention on the dark and sad things that happen in our world. If you’ve been part of the blogging community for awhile you will know that one of the main functions for blogs is to be a tool politically, to affect public opinion by giving a deeper insight into issues than we ever used to receive from conventional mainstream media.

I read recently that some of the strongest growing new blogging communities are emanating from out of the Middle East: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Persia (Iran), as well as many other countries in the vicinity. On the ‘Bloggie Awards‘ website the 2005 winner of the ‘Best African or Middle Eastern Blog’ was called ‘Baghdad Burning’. This is a blog that I believe was started just after the recent American invasion of Iraq, (Its archives go back to August of 2003, but I believe there were more posts written before that about the war.) and it comes from the mouth of an Iraqi girl who states simply in her bio, ‘Let’s talk war, politics and occupation.’ When she says ‘occupation’ she’s not talking about her job, people. The blog’s tagline is ‘I’ll meet you ‘round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend.’ Maybe you can tell me where this quote comes from (sounds like famous literature), but you can see where this girl is coming from…a place mostly unknown to our own experience, of deep violence and suffering.

I decided to read the newest post first (November 5, 2006) and then read one of the oldest, the August 31, 2003 one entitled ‘Made me laugh‘) to see how much had changed (if anything) when it came to the situation in Iraq, her emotional state related to it, and possibly any evolution in her style of writing. You can tell instantly from the start that for her the Iraqi War is something that you can’t change channels on as we do in our safe living rooms. The war has completely altered every aspect of life for this average girl whose knowledge of normality has been discarded to the sandy desert winds like the chemical residue from a Kalashnikov rifle in the hands of a Baghdad looter.

Just reading these two posts I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the incredible situation that average people in Iraq have to contend with. This is the power of weblogs. We are now able to ‘connect’ if only in spirit (but often directly through email and comment-based interaction) with the actual minds behind the otherwise anonymous faces that have always bombarded us on TV or Internet News. This one girl’s writing is so compelling. It’s filled with opinion that could only be informed by actual experience, and although it may sometimes clash with your own, you can definitely understand and empathize with the reasons why she feels so passionately about her country’s situation.

I’m sure if I read more of the blog that her whole archives could in essence become a form of biographical/memoir/narrative documentary that sheds light on a situation that has been so hotly debated in political corners where we the people have had minimal opportunities of receiving any truth that hasn’t been tainted by propaganda or biased opinion. The older post sets a scene that easily could be on any Hollywood action movie screen (Oh how we love to fantasize about situations that we ourselves don’t have to experience. We talk of ‘sitting at the edge of our seats’ because it’s so ‘thrilling’, because it seems ‘ as if we are there ourselves’. The fact is, that if most of us Western, so-called ‘first world’ societies ever had to deal with anything as fiercely dangerous as this war, we would foul our pants as quickly as a baby after being ‘burped’ post-suckling at the mother’s breast.

The newest post however is more impassioned, informed opinion than any simple setting of a scene. The scene has already long been set and then burnt, a melted and distorted remnant of car on a hopeless highway that stretches eternally into the oil-blackened skies of the desert. Now we hear the strong voice of a young woman who has seen with her own eyes atrocities the rest of the world would gladly flip over to watch a humorous ice cream commercial, or perhaps one of those new ‘really funny’ bank ads. How much do those ads cost? Don’t we all go to the bank anyway? She (calls herself ‘Riverbend’) feels strongly about the recent decision to execute Iraq’s former dictator. Why not read her blog post and find out why?

Jesse S. Somer doesn’t like to watch the News. However, he’s always interested in hearing someone’s own ‘life story’.