This weeks post is going to be short (at least that is what I am planning as I type). I am on holiday – but the blogs keep turning.
Blogging is coming of age as a source of news that rivals big media, and the word from the street is about a change of tactic from the insurgents. Now it is the newspapers that are the target. Omar is addicted to them but had a surprise one morning:
Me: what have you got for me today bro?
Papers guy: What are you looking for? No papers anymore my friend
Me: What? Why?
Papers guy: Don't you know? Oh, you didn't show up in a few days…well, we stopped selling newspapers.
Apperently, insurgents started threatening the newspaper distributors and publishers. And the effect was immediate. There was a 40% drop in newspaper circulation in one week.
I was there reports that the insurgents are also targeting the bookshops that sell the newspapers. He travels to one that was gutted by a bomb and hears the owner's story: “I can not say any thing, I am afraid to say any thing that will make every thing worse, thanks God that we are all alive and no one was hurt” and he is told why it started:
“when the newspapers started putting the wanted Iraqi insurgents pictures and names advertisement in their papers they were threatened, some papers were threatened…This is how it started, the threatens was not for the newspapers it self but for the newspapers that runs this advertisement but later on the word separated that any one will deal with newspapers will be killed and because the people do not want to take chances they just stop dealing with newspapers.”
Close Shaves in the Lawless Streets:
Just doing the mundane in Baghdad is like taking a life or death decision. I was there stops to do something so normal in any other metropolis but so wrong in Baghdad. He pauses to enjoy the view of the river. Then:
“Few seconds later I heard another round of shooting but this time it was closer and louder so I had to turn my face and look but when I turned my body toward the direction of the shooting, I saw several red spots on my chest, “Oh no, I know those red spots that comes from the laser beam locater attached to the Americans rifles”, I told my self…”
Even a simple shopping trip has its risks. Sanyora narrowly escapes being crushed by an American tank and is caught up in a half-hour gun battle. “I wasn't sure that I would get back home I thought I would open my eyes in the hospital! :-) . Thanks God who helped us to stay safe… But there's something I would realy love to say that these days are the begninng of the Spring ; so why can't we live it peacefully?!?!?!”
Baghdad Treasure tells us how the gun has become like water and food to Iraqis. He says: ““Lawless” is the best word to describe Baghdad for the meantime… Do you think police will come for rescue? Huh! Of course not because they might be the ones who are shooting.”
In other worlds:
Mama looks back three years and describes how, over time, her feeling towards American soldiers transformed from one of gratitude:
“I remember how I wished that I can shake hands with all the soldiers to show them my gratitude .I used to stand near my kitchen's windows to see the troops coming, I used to pray for their safety.”
to one of fear and suspicion:
“we started to witness explosions in the streets… and the Americans reaction is usually random shooting toward the walkers and many many civilians died since then.”
Aunt Najma is at her happiest when she is studying. And we can see why, she is off school to study at home and: “Dad put a small fridge in my room. I filled it with food and drinks. It was a very good idea. I am gaining weight and I'm happy about it. Still have to gain 4 kilos and then I'll stop.” Oh the luxury!
Chikitita has learnt to love dogs. Her step-dad feeds the local strays who then swarm around his house. She used to hate them but:
“Only recently I found out that dogs are not as mean as I used to mistake them for. I realized that they too have their own fears and they too can tell – or SMELL – a friend from a foe… Few days ago, the mosque next door came under attack. It seemed that the dogs smelled a rat and unleashed their chorus of noisy barks, which kept the mosque guards and the neighbours so vigilant that they shooed the vicious hounds in black”
Quote of the week:
Zeyad's little secret is out. He has been offered a place at the new graduate school of journalism at the City University of New York. He decided to accept because:
“quite frankly there is nothing that I can add to dentistry in Iraq, whereas the field of Iraqi online and print journalism is lacking in many aspect”