Healing Iraq

I usually don’t comment on politics. You may have noticed that. I’m not going to stray far from that today, but I wanted to point you all towards a blog I’ve just discovered, written by a 24-year-old Iraqi dentist living in Baghdad who happens to speak English fluently. It’s called Healing Iraq. Especially notable is this entry, which I encourage everyone to read.

A quote to get you started, from his first entry (made only three days ago):

This is my first post. A bit about myself; My name is Zeyad. I’m 24, male. I live in Baghdad, Iraq. Also lived in the UK prior to the first Gulf war. I work as a dentist.

Unfortunately, there haven’t been enough Iraqis running weblogs lately. There are only five of them as far as I know. I took it upon myself to start a weblog and introduce other Iraqis to this new (to us at least) and exciting world. Internet use in Iraq is very low, compared to other countries in the region. But it is growing daily. And more and more Iraqis will be able to post what they think about whatever is happening in their country and the rest of the world. Their voice will be heard at last, now that they have nothing to fear from doing so.

Go, bookmark, and enjoy!

12 Comments

  1. Neal
    Posted October 20, 2003 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Out of curiousity, how do you know a person is who they say they are, are from where they say they’re from, etc?

  2. eddie
    Posted October 20, 2003 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    my thoughts exactly, neal. maybe i’m influenced by too many movies like The Conspiracy Theory, but the writing seems too dramatic to me. Maybe it’s because I’m here in America and he’s there, but I’m having trouble trusting his writing. I picture some White American computer geek (maybe working for the U.S.) at his computer thinking, “I’m making history.” Then again, maybe not. It is helpful to get us connected to what is going on over there. It does help focus what can seem like a blob of chaos that has little to do with us.

  3. amy
    Posted October 20, 2003 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    think about the real issue here: trust. Do we trust this guy, or not? and is that really because he is trustworthy or not, or because of our own doubts and questions and feelings? and how trustworthy are those?
    It’s hard not to jump to conclusions, one way or another.

  4. Neal
    Posted October 20, 2003 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Heh, it’s a good idea he at least noted he worked in the UK, otherwise his excellent English would make it rather questionable. Better than some of my students, which is sad if he really is an Iraqi (for the students, not him).

  5. Posted October 20, 2003 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I would refer you all to the controversy surrounding Salam Pax and his blog, Dear Raed.

    For those of you who don’t know, Salam emerged during the second Gulf War as a blogger in Iraq and the worldwide media went into a frenzy over whether this guy was legit or not. Turns out he was, and his experience is now in a book: Salam Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi.

    The questions you guys are asking are the basic questions anyone has to ask for any media they consume: is this source legitimate? For the Internet, that question is especially important.

  6. Posted October 20, 2003 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    These are all good questions. It short, we cannot know that this guy is telling the truth. There’s no way to know that.

    For some reason, I’m a trusting person in general, so when this guys says he’s from Iraq, I believe him. I guess it’s just as easy to not trust him, but I have no better reason to distrust him than to trust him, so for whatever reason I choose trust. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know why.

    I discovered him through another blog (which I can’t find again right now) and in that blog he was having a discussion with the blog’s author, and was quoted as saying that he learned English as a child before he learned Arabic, so English is actually his first language, although he is fluent in Arabic as well of course. So, assuming he’s not a liar, that would explain why he’s so fluent in English.

  7. Posted October 20, 2003 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    After looking at Kevin’s legit source, I notice that the guy mentioned the Healing Iraq guy, maybe lending him a tiny bit of credibility.

    See here: http://dear_raed.blogspot.com/2003_10_01_dear_raed_archive.html#106650061856020147

  8. Neal
    Posted October 20, 2003 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Heh, as a teacher, I’m very distrustful of any source found on the internet, so that’s part of it. And let’s just say that a ‘blogger in Iraq’ would be a good way to pursue your own agenda. So cynical am I.

  9. Posted October 20, 2003 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    And as a teacher you need to learn how to distinguish good sources from bad, not just count something out because it comes from the Internet.

  10. Neal
    Posted October 20, 2003 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Woah, there Mr. Kevin. To find a good source of information, you always need to approach it skeptically and look for problems. As you find what’s right about the source, you know you can trust it more and more.

    Being safe rather than sorry is a good rule of thumb to have when it comes to sources and the internet.

    I’m not biased against internet sources: I’m a cautious scholar of any source of info, whether it’s in a book or on the internet.

  11. Posted October 20, 2003 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Ok, that’s great. If either of you want to discuss sources of information further, please post about it on your own freaking blogs! 🙂

    Okay, so that may have sounded too harsh. Sorry.

    This kind of stuff has a lot to do with why I don’t do politics on my blog. Somehow, there’s always some issue that will rage on into the night in the comments section, driving people crazy, and (probably) wasting their time. I’ve gotten involved in those before too, just ask Kevin how many paragraphs I’ve sent him about political topics in the last two or three months. Sometimes I’m tempted to become completely apolitical. Sort of a political agnostic if you will. But that’s another entry entirely.

  12. Neal
    Posted October 21, 2003 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Heh, where’s the political discussion around here? Sounded more like an internet editore getting defensive against the teacher type to me. :p

    I don’t post much on politics because between the news and the forums I post on, I’m saturated with it. Got nothing more to say, heard all the arguments, etc.