It is with great sadness that I report the death of an Iraqi blogger. Ali Shafeya Al-Moussawi was a contributor to the video blog, Alive in Baghdad. He was killed while at home, during a raid by the Iraqi National Guard in his street. Ali took 31 bullets between the chest and head and died immediately. Ali was not the only victim of that raid. Hussain, his neighbour, was found dead. Hussain's brother and nephew have disappeared too.
Ali is survived by his mother and sister. Alive in Baghdad are collecting donations to help the family with the funeral costs.
The blogosphere today is huge and diverse yet for all its size we are still a close-knit community. There are only a few degrees separating each and every blogger – from the legends down to the occasional twitterer.
And when one of our community is killed we all bleed together. So here is my small tribute to Ali. His struggle is over and may he rest now in peace but we will all stuggle with renewed vigour in his memory.
None of the blogs that I quote below are from Iraqi blogosphere but every one is united in grief at the loss of a member of our community and are all my honorary Iraqis for the week.
this week ends on another tragic note. I know all three of these bloggers. PodTech awarded Alive in Baghdad its highest award at last year’s Vloggies event. One of their correspondents was killed. I’m looking forward to a better week next week. Sigh.
Ali’s brothers were killed several years ago in the Firdos Square bombing and his father was kidnapped and killed after that. His mother and sister are all that remain of the family…
If you’re unfamiliar with AiB, it is an on-the-ground news gathering service, built up with native Iraqi journalists. They cover things foreign journalists can’t or won’t. They are, in spirit, bloggers. Ali was one of ours. Let’s take care of his family.
I can’t even imagine. I keep thinking about the safe little projects I work on, imagining what it would be like to have a web project where people started dying. It’s so easy to start good web projects. But it takes so much courage to continue in the face of reality this bloody.
… of all the projects [Alive in Baghdad] is – to me – by far the most important. AiB is exactly why the web changes things – even if it has been mostly ignored.
Alive in Baghdad is one of the only destinations providing weekly video of life in Baghdad from an Iraqi perspective. The reporting examines current issues facing the country, and also features evergreen material documenting what life in a war-torn country looks like.
Mike of Blip.tv (which hosts AiB videos):
The news made me cry. I know how deeply Brian cares for his team, and how consistently worried he has been for their safety and security. I also know how important it is to Brian that the world see what life is like for Iraqis by way of coverage that flies in the face of network television’s “live from” model. Ali helped make it possible for us to see Iraq as what it was, not as what the Green Zone was.
Ali was someone who did God’s work — showing people around the world what life was actually like in Iraq for Iraqis. He showed us the reality of the Iraqi condition in his life, and he shows us the reality of the Iraqi condition in his death. Our entire office is in mourning, as is the entire Web video community. … Please join us in remembering Ali, someone most of us barely knew but whose work touched thousands. Please join us in remembering all of the Iraqis who have perished over the course of the past few years. And please do not allow politics to enter into it.
this is a heartbreaking loss for Ali's family. Ali is survived by his mother and sister. As you know, we here at Rocketboom are huge devotees of Alive in Baghdad and are proud to run their work on our show. We wish Brian, Omar, and the rest of the AIB staff the strength to live through this.
As I go back to working (on a Sunday) writing up stuff on online communities regarding University students and finishing an article on the different revenue streams for social networks, I remember what David N Wallace said to me, quoting Adam Fields…:
“There’s really only one rule for community as far as I’m concerned, and it’s this – in order to call some gathering of people a ‘community’, it is a requirement that if you’re a member of the community, and one day you stop showing up, people will come looking for you to see where you went.”
… and I stop to consider the world outside, both known and unknown, with it's beauty and it's evils. My worlds collide: cloistered writing/blogging, my adventures in exotic lands and a war that impacted one lone blogger in a way that the evening News will never capture.
Yes, Ali Shafeya, you will be missed.
Josh Cohen of Tilzy.tv:
t's fourth months away from the March 19, 2008 Five Year Anniversary of the launch of the US invasion of Iraq, and over that time we’ve had to endure an unfortunate number of sobering experiences. The death of 22 year-old Alive in Baghdad correspondent Ali Shafeya is one that has hit particularly close to home.
Ali Shafeya, a correspondent for Alive in Baghdad was shot and killed at his home by Iraqi National Guardsmen.
He took thirty-one bullets between the chest and head. Thirty-one.
I'll say that again.
Ali Shafeya Al-Moussawi. You’ve never heard me mention that name before. I’ve never written the name before. Yet Ali was a colleague of mine. He was someone who participated as a correspondent for one of the greatest independent news reporting projects today: Alive in Baghdad…
Ali’s murder is a tragedy to add on to this neverending list of tragedies. Perpetrated while the whole world COULD be watching, but lets be honest, most of the world isn’t watching, they’re probably Christmas shopping.
This post is to offer my heartfelt condolesces to a colleague that probably did not know I existed or how much his work meant to me. This post is also to renew my pledge as an independent internet based journalist and podcaster; I will not forget the importance of his work… and if I may be so bold as to compare… of our work… I will remember Ali.
Although blogs no doubt bring out a more endearing perspective on local events where mainstream media falters, and allow both professional journalists and ordinary folks to have their message publicized by their comrades in bloggery, lest we forget there are individuals and governments that don’t want this to happen. Although people living in a war zone have access to a vast amount of information concerning their everyday lives, they lack a shiny press badge, a camouflaged “PRESS” army vest, and a chopper warming up and waiting to take them back to their hotel.
These guys are DOING what new media is suppose to be about. Sharing stories and giving insight into the things that mainstream media is overlooking. Giving a voice to the stories that need to be shared.
To have one of their reporters killed is just….well I don’t know. I’m beyond words right now.
And last but not least, one should read through Brian Conley's (of Alive in Baghdad) Twitter feed to understand the true devastation of realising that one of your colleagues has died.
what is it they say about grief? denial, sadness, anger? here comes the anger… aaaagggghhhh!!!!!
Happy Birthday Ali Shafeya Al-Mousawi, I'm sorry you didn't live to see your 23rd birthday. you will be missed.