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Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq
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2011cruise book diving(official) > Baghdad Burning by Riverbend (July/September 2011)

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message 1: by Niledaughter (last edited Jul 03, 2011 12:16PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
Here we will discuss the book Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from IraqbyRiverbend, I only read Ahdaf Soueif's introduction and I will quote the same quote that she quoted from Riverbend :

" when I hear talk about "anti-Americanism" , she writes , "It angers me. why does America identify itself with its military and government? why does being anti-Bush and anti-occupation have to mean that a person is anti-American? we watch American movies,listen to everything from Britney Spears to Nirvana and refer to every brown fizzy drink as "Pepsi"

Please feel free to join in any time with your thoughts ...


message 2: by Marieke, Former moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marieke | 1179 comments Mod
happily, i have the book! excellent quote, ND. i'm really excited to read this book. and it will be interesting to read an Iraqi book written in the 1990s about the 1950s alongside this one (at least i plan to read them together).


message 3: by Niledaughter (last edited Jul 03, 2011 12:40PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
Thanks and Good luck marieke :) I am sad I could not reach the other Iraqi book , but may be Absent: A Novelwill make it up for me ;)


Anne (On semi-hiatus) (reachannereach) I will start with Baghdad Burning. Only because I am ignorant about anything Iraqi or Saudi and this book/blog seems like an easy read.


message 5: by Valerie (new) - added it

Valerie (versusthesiren) | 8 comments This is, surprisingly, at my local library. :) I have a lot in my TBR pile at the moment, but I'll definitely try to borrow this at some point.


message 6: by Amira (new)

Amira (amirahassan) | 34 comments I will try to read this book soon ..I have found that there is Volume 2 as well - that was published a year after the first one. Maybe I could read it later.
Baghdad Burning II: More Girl Blog from Iraq


message 7: by Marieke, Former moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marieke | 1179 comments Mod
Amira, i have Volume 2 as well. i'm hoping i have time to read it within these two months, but i have so many other books to read, i'm not sure. but we can certainly make a thread for discussing it!


Jennifer Abdo | 81 comments Baghdad Burning- I'm so happy! I can't beleive they had this at my library! I mean I live in small town southern USA and we generally have none of the books on the Middle East I'm looking for. I'll check the others now.


Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
Anne , do not worry , I am an Arab and I am ignorant about a lot of issues in our region too !

**I started reading James Ridgeway's intro, it seems that it would give a concentrated and a solid background for the subject .


Valerie and Jennifer , I hope you will manage to get the book and join us :)

Amira and Marieke , I noticed that Volume 2 seems to be more known but I do not know why .


Anne (On semi-hiatus) (reachannereach) Nile daughter wrote: "Anne , do not worry , I am an Arab and I am ignorant about a lot of issues in our region too !

**I started reading James Ridgeway's intro, it seems that it would give a concentrated and a solid..."


Good. I'll start the book very soon. Need to finish what I'm reading now.


Marahm | 31 comments I started reading Baghdad Burning straightaway after I opened it and saw that its font was Arial (or something similar). It's easy on the eyes, a refreshing lift from the traditional Times New Roman. It's also an engaging read.

After perusing some of the reviews of the book, I am struck by the number of readers who criticize it based upon the fact that the writer is not objective, not officially reportorial, and not in a recognized position of academic authority regarding the events of her country.

Well, that is so, but anyone who picks up the book should realize that it is essentially a blog, and since when does a blog rest on objectifiable credentials? This book is grass-roots account, a "man in the trenches" perspective, or shall I say "woman in the trenches"?

Actually, because the author remains anonymous, we don't really know whether the blog/book is written by a man or a woman. I'm not sure it matters, with respect to the content. People in the trenches far outnumber people in the ivory towers, and their accounts speak for whole populations whose voices never rise high into the ivory towers.


Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
Anne wrote: "Good. I'll start the book very soon. Need to finish what I'm reading now...."

Take your time :)

Marahm ,
I got impressed by reading your words , your point about "people in the trenches" and "people in the ivory towers" really got me !


Jennifer Abdo | 81 comments With the incident surrounding the Gay Girl in Damascus exposed as a fraud and work of fiction, I can't help but wonder what kind of verification was done in the publishing of this. I apologize! I am skeptical by nature perhaps. This is in the back of my head; it sounds like a good read- something I wanted read as things were going on. I had looked for blogs around that time, but didn't find any that grabbed me or gave as much info like this one.

Regardless, I have finished Finding Nouf and am ready to read! Really I am. I've started and am enjoying it. It is bringing back my feelings about the Iraq invasion as things unfolded. :( I plan to start a blog entry shortly... :)


Marahm | 31 comments Yes, the Gay Girl fiasco crossed my mind. I do not like anonymity in writing; it weakens the validity of the message, even when perfectly good reasons exist for protecting the identity of the writer.

I confess that I plan to pass the book to my daughter's mother-in-law, who is Iraqi. The family fled Iraq some years before the worst of the chaos and destruction. I'll be curious to hear what she has to say about the book.


Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
I read the same note about 'Gay Girl in Damascus' in Riverbend's wikipedia page .

I am not sure how reliable the blog is, this is confusing for sure , but if Ahdaf Soueif wrote the forward and James Ridgeway who wrote the introduction seems serious and bold journalist , I guess that is reassuring some how , who knows ?

Marahm , I think having your daughter's mother-in-law reaction will be interesting , we have Iraqi members in the group too , I hope some would like to join us .


Marahm | 31 comments Nile daughter wrote: "I read the same note about 'Gay Girl in Damascus' in Riverbend's wikipedia page .

I am not sure how reliable the blog is, this is confusing for sure , but if Ahdaf Soueif wrote ..."


Great, I hope the Iraqi readers will join in, and I'm glad you liked my previous comment regarding the "trenches."

My daughter's in-laws are an interesting bunch. Her husband has told me things about life in Baghdad that echo what I'm reading from Riverbend. His mom (my daughter's MIL) relocated in Jordan. There, she has a flat in a building dominated by Iraqi exiles. She is happy enough there, but feels bitter and broken because of losing her lovely home in Baghdad.

She hates the States, because "there is nothing to do." In other words, people here work too much and do not care about building relationships with neighbors and extended family.

I agree with her. The nuclear family here is a shell of what is used to be. The home is more like train station than a place in which members find peace, nurturance, nutrition (real nutrition) and unconditional acceptance, but that's another subject, and many people would not agree with me.


message 17: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Zubaidi (noor17) This seems like an interesting read, I'll look for it next time I'm in the bookshop though I doubt we have such books here. I love the quote by Ahdaf Soueif, it's so true!

Happy reading everyone. I'll be following your progress. :)


message 18: by Niledaughter (last edited Jul 08, 2011 12:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
It is summer and I am sorry I can't be around much !

Marahm ,

I am sorry for your daughter's in-laws , we a lot of Iraqis in Egypt too now . I can understand her point of view and yours about different between family in west and east now, it is cultural difference . we were discussing an article by Rbert Fisk in anther Topic , even though it was unrelated to our topic/book here (it was discussing honor killing) but I find this quote very interesting:

" I remain perplexed. Investigating crimes of "honour" raises some disturbing questions about my own reaction to the Arab, Muslim world in which I have lived for 34 years. I have learned many things in this society which outshine our "civilised" West. I cannot fail to be impressed by the respect and care with which children treat their parents. No elderly relative is put away in a nursing home. Ageing mothers and fathers are looked after at home and die in their own beds with their families beside them. There is an instant warmth towards strangers – towards blue-eyed Westerners like me – who are invited into homes and lunched and dined with families who might have every reason to hate the lands from which they come"

Noor ,
I am so glad you joined us and I am sure everyone will be excited to have Iraqi with us :D I wish you will be able to reach this book .


Jennifer Abdo | 81 comments Just finished!

I took notes. :) It's kind of long, so I put it here:

http://notanotherpoliticalblog-j.blog...

Anyway, there was so much that I'd forgotten or didn't know because our media didn't emphasize it or hid it. This book put a different perspective on the invasion of Iraq for me- it put what I felt and heard at the time in context. I was one who didn't want us to go to war- there seemed like there was too many former officials saying WMD had been destroyed already and things of that nature; I didn't think we were actually going to invade- it tore my heart out when we did. Occasionally, I hoped that something good would come out of it or that the president knew something we didn't, but now I'm ashamed of that- so many dead and for what?? I mean- what if we had to go get kersone and fill water tanks and wait for bombs to fall??

I enjoyed the descriptions of holidays, sharing holidays with Christians, food, tea making, customs and culture.

She describes her feelings about seeing Bush and Rumsfeld and the Puppet Council- the anger is the same I felt when hearing a State of the Union Address, a Bush speech, saw Bush administration officials give updates, etc. I despised the smug looks, superior tone, message in general and I wanted to hear them, but hated it at the same time. :)

It was a great overall book. More specific things are in my blog post.


message 20: by Niledaughter (last edited Jul 11, 2011 03:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
Finally I managed to have more serious reading in the book , I am already on vacation and in the same time things are back to complications in Egypt !

I found the historical introduction to the book to be very informative , numbers made the picture more clear , then I started reading the blog , riverbend's bitter sarcasm is clear from the first line , I found her note about the Americans she met online and they did not believe she is Iraqi (for having internet or speak English ..) was funny and frustrating in the same time , her words about the nine governing Iraq (the interim governing council) killed me !
Jennifer ,
I am glad you liked the book , I will check your blog when I go much deeper in the book but your post itself was very encouraging :)


Anne (On semi-hiatus) (reachannereach) Nile daughter,
I'm glad you're reading this book. I will start it tomorrow. Can't wait to see what you are referring to that was so funny. I wonder if I'll get the joke.


Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
Anne wrote: "Nile daughter,
I'm glad you're reading this book. I will start it tomorrow. Can't wait to see what you are referring to that was so funny. I wonder if I'll get the joke."


Waiting for you :) I would love to read your thoughts .


Anne (On semi-hiatus) (reachannereach) I'll tell you my thoughts when/if I have any.


Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
Anne wrote: "I'll tell you my thoughts when/if I have any."

ok :)

******
It was interesting that Riverbend described how females' situation became worse, and I know what she told about her job and position may seem a surprise to some westerns. In my country…Egypt , we are the same , I am an architect and have a master degree , in my work I did not only have the same salary as males , I was even senior and supervised males in team works when I was 25 years old . I totally understand her , I never felt treated as second degree citizen in my practical life , and even if I am not working in the meantime , it is for family and personal reasons. Things are not that perfect for all females here , but is it abroad ?
Her pain talking about her job …future , what kind of black shadow she is faced by fundamentalism really got me , it is suffocating when you already lived the opposite .


Anne (On semi-hiatus) (reachannereach) What she said about her job and lifestyle didn't surprise me. I didn't think that Iraqis lived primitive lives in tents with their camels waiting outside. I really felt sorry for her, as well, in terms of contemplating a fundamentalist takeover and what that would mean for her life.


Hesper | 39 comments I started this yesterday, and could not put it down. When I finally did, I realized I had been clenching my jaw as I was reading, which doesn't often happen. I'll probably finish it today, or try to.


Jennifer Abdo | 81 comments I got a comment on my post on this book today- it's about Riverbend being a hoax- I have asked what he/she bases this info on- I wasn't aware of any conspiracy or rumors. I myself have used pseudonyms on msg boards in the past if I didn't want people to judge or for privacy concerns, etc. Here is the comment:


With the whole Gay Girl in Damascus hoax (two more links here and here) and anonymity of the internet, I do wonder sometimes if she's too good to be true and not who she says she is. Either way, I agree with her assessments, but one always wonders...

I found your blog after googling Riverbend to see if there has been any new information with regard to 'her' authenticity.

Yet, here is a blog post assuming Riverbend is the real deal, with only a shadow of a doubt, and praising her for writing about lies, deceptions and conspiracies during the war in Iraq.

Riverbend's Baghdad Burning blog was Anne Frank Diaries to the script.

Unlike the latter however Riverbend never offered a special insight that could not be gleaned from elsewhere. Everything that Riverbend wrote could have been found from the media and other publicly available sources.

My view is that she is not real. Neither is she an Iraqi nor is she a 'she'.

The person who wrote under that pen name was either a journalist or a fiction writer, possibly male, who has been to the region.

One thing is certain 'she' could recount a story and 'she' knew what appealed the most to her anti-war western liberal orientalist readers, just like the Gay Girl in Damascus did.


Anne (On semi-hiatus) (reachannereach) Jennifer wrote: "I got a comment on my post on this book today- it's about Riverbend being a hoax- I have asked what he/she bases this info on- I wasn't aware of any conspiracy or rumors. I myself have used pseudon..."

I read on Amazon that some thought Riverbend wasn't who she claims to be, etc. Does it really matter? I read fiction all the time and fiction can tell a lot of truths. The analogy to Anne Frank is inaccurate and ridiculous, IMHO.


Hesper | 39 comments I agree. The hoax allegation shifts the focus from daily experience in occupied Iraq, which is what the book is about, to questions about author authenticity.

For what it's worth, I work with immigrants and refugees, many of whom had to flee their countries because of violence and unstable political situations, and the emotional tenor of their recounted experiences is very similar to Riverbend's anger and exasperation. If this is a fabrication--and that, for me, is an extremely tenuous if--then it is one that rings true to life.

It's a valuable document. Skepticism is good, but I feel that in this case it may hinder more than help.


Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
I am sorry everyone , it is not easy to be online where I am now !

Anne wrote: "What she said about her job and lifestyle didn't surprise me. I didn't think that Iraqis lived primitive lives in tents with their camels waiting outside. I really felt sorry for her, as well, in..."

I am sure that you and other members in this group will not be surprised as people Riverbend was talking about . Sorry for being out of topic , but I know that those surprised people exist and that they are not few . I remember when the Tunisian revolution started I read comments on Yahoo asking where Tunisia is , on Face book I read a comment by Marieke to some of her friends after the Egyptian revolution that most of the Egyptians are Muslims and that they support Palestine (as a choaking fact!) , and personally when we had a visit in Egypt by a Norwegian friend of my husband's , I asked his son (13 years old) , what did your friends think about you visiting Egypt , he said that his friends were wondering how difficult it will be to stay in a place full of sands and riding camels .
You know , I can not help now thinking of Media doing exactly what we were discussing in (Orientalism) book discussion decades before . Sure we have people do not know much about west either, but still we know about west in his voice: through his media , movies and books more than what he knows about us , he does not hear what we say. People prefer to read what was written *about* us not *by* us.

*****
I can not judge if Riverbend is real or not , but her anger and pain for Iraq is real , so far she talks like an Arab , Jennifer ; why do you think she is not real ?
Hesper , I see you liked the book ? why do you think it may hinder more than help ?

********
*The blog about that the war not only about oil but also about billions off reconstructing what was damaged during this war , I know what I am about to say may not very much related , but I remember what I read about how huge American firms control USA policy , I remember that I was surprised while reading " Zaat" about how American companies invaded Egypt after " Camp David" and the weird relation between "General motors" and the corruption in Cars industry in Egypt !

*The note about "divide and conquer" reminded me with a previous conversation that I had with Marieke from a while , it was about "New middle east map" , did any of you hear or read about it ?

*How was everyone reaction about Riverbend blog about 11/9 ?


Hesper | 39 comments Nile daughter wrote: "I can not judge if Riverbend is real or not , but her anger and pain for Iraq is real , so far she talks like an Arab , Jennifer ; why do you think she is not real ?
Hesper , I see you liked the book ? why do you think it may hinder more than help ? "


As you say, she talks like an Arab. Not that I know what specifically that is, but everything she writes feels like a genuine reaction to a horrible situation. As Anne said, even if it is faked, it reveals a truth, which is why I find skepticism about Riverbend's identity to be beside the point. Not that it doesn't matter, but it's a tangential concern. Her identity isn't the issue here. Her experience is--that's what matters.

Throwing her identity into question seems to me as an attempt to lessen what she has to say. Like, oh, it's a man, or a journalist, or whoever, fabricating this, so it can't possibly be THAT bad. Well, it is. It might even be worse. And it's important that people don't lose sight of that.

I'm not saying abandon critical thinking, which is exactly why I'd like to point out what one result of questioning Riverbed's identity might be. In this case, it can be an underhanded way of diminishing the importance of her experiences.

Nile daughter wrote: "How was everyone reaction about Riverbend blog about 11/9 ?"

Do you mean the one called Have You Forgotten? (on p.46-48 in my book)?

These two quotes stood out:

American long-term memory is exclusive to American traumas.

[...] all faces look the same when they are witnessing the death of loved ones.

Good points both. I think the situation becomes muddy when things like national interest and national pride are used as excuses for for furthering other agendas. Bombing the crap out of anyone isn't going to bring the dead back or lessen the pain of the living. The problem is that a state, any state, is a far different entity than its private citizens, and too often foreign policies and retaliatory actions blur the line between the two.


Marahm | 31 comments Hesper wrote: "Throwing her identity into question seems to me as an attempt to lessen what she has to say."

This is a valid point, and it is not to be taken as a pejorative statement. Anonymity does lessen the impact of what is written, and citing anonymity is not necessarily an attempt, but an acknowledgement, of that fact.

In this case, however, I think we are safe in separating the importance of author identity from the importance of what has been written, for if "Riverbend" had not written this blog, I daresay hundreds, if not thousands,of other people in Iraq could have written it.

As one commenter observed, her factual references are verifiable; it is her subjective accounting that makes the writing worth reading. This book has a specific audience--- Westerners who have not experienced war and have not had exposure/education regarding the Middle East, or those who have supported this war for reasons that would seem petty if they could perceive the impact of the war on a personal level.


Anne (On semi-hiatus) (reachannereach) I had to put this book down for a while. I lived through 8 years of George Bush and feel about him the same way Riverbend feels. I also lived through the war as an American cringing at what our government was doing. It is definitely interesting to see it from an Iraqi perspective, but painful at the same time. Also, all the corruption that she talks about in terms of using way more expensive overseas contractors and services instead of the Iraqi workforce is so typical of what goes on and it really disgusts me.


message 34: by Niledaughter (last edited Jul 18, 2011 04:15AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
Hesper and Marahm
I liked your points about Riverbend a lot, and I think you summarized it in "Her identity isn't the issue here. Her experience is--that's what matters" . and also in "I think we are safe in separating the importance of author identity from the importance of what has been written"

Hesper , for 11/9
Yes , I was talking about "Have You Forgotten?" , I can't believe I quoted the same sentences ! and with them the first one : " September 11 was a tragedy. Not because 3000 Americans died … but because 3000 humans died." and I like the way you analyzed it .

Anne,
" all the corruption that she talks about in terms of using way more expensive overseas contractors and services instead of the Iraqi workforce is so typical of what goes on and it really disgusts me."
Yes that was a very important point ..
****
I have finish the book , but I am trying to read it on regular basis ..
Even though I am not Iraqi but I found the article she criticized about how family bond (cousins marriages) complicate issues or American troops' duties superficial , I found her reply about Sheikhs very informative and the one about veils a very good . I also found her blog about dates /palm trees to be very touching. and how is gold to arabs , very nice note even if that blog made me on my toes .


message 35: by Kit (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kit My library doesn't have a copy of Bagdad-but with all the discussion, I think I'll try inter-library loan. I'm half way thru "Kingdom"-do we have a link for it yet? Did I miss it? :D


message 36: by Marieke, Former moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marieke | 1179 comments Mod
Hi Kit, i need to set up the thread for "Kingdom..."


message 37: by Kit (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kit Marieke wrote: "Hi Kit, i need to set up the thread for "Kingdom...""

Thanks! Its interesting-not sure how I feel about it all-but, its more than informative.!!


Hesper | 39 comments Nile daughter wrote: "Even though I am not Iraqi but I found the article she criticized about how family bond (cousins marriages) complicate issues or American troops' duties superficial ,"

That's interesting. I thought it was a well-reasoned rebuttal to the article she linked, but I know very little about the area. In what way was it superficial?


Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
Kit ,
I wish you can join us :)

Hesper,
Sorry I was not clear enough ,I was not talking about her blog but about the article itself , about my reaction before reading hers , Before reading her answer I found that cousins issue was strange point to be that effective. So I do not disagree with her .
; Egypt in general is not a tribal community (only Bedouins in Sinai and deserts), yet we have very strong family ties in peasant communities , especially in Upper Egypt -but I do not know to which extent it is still strong- the wealth and power of families are calculated in land that have to stay in the family , that is why there are arranged marriages inside the family , but marriage outside the family is not forbidden , strong family names like to have blood bonds with each other , we do not have shieks , but we have wise men , problems should be solve by them before heading to the government .
You know the first item to cross my mind to be complicating for Americans is honor! So What I mean that there are so many values that controls Arab societies in general related to religion and tradition, it can't be translated simply in cousins marriages and veil .
*****
Now I reached half of the book , I found the part about Turkish troops to be very interesting, actually the relation between Turks and Arabs during Othman empire and after (also Kurds and Armenians) is one of the topics that I need to read more about .
BTW , the I enjoyed reading Ramadan blog , cannot believe it is only 10 days to have Ramadan again :D


Hesper | 39 comments Actually, you were clear; I now see I completely misread that sentence. Sorry! Although I'm kind of glad I did, because this led to your explanation of some differences between Iraqi and Egyptian societies.

Nile daughter wrote: "So What I mean that there are so many values that controls Arab societies in general related to religion and tradition, it can't be translated simply in cousins marriages and veil ."

That linked article seemed to be full of the kind of analysis Said critiqued in Orientalism.


Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
Hesper wrote: "That linked article seemed to be full of the kind of analysis Said critiqued in Orientalism. ..."

True :)
I am glad you liked my post , even if Iraq has an open society relatively like Egypt but we still have our differences , I guess this too fits with what discussed relating to (Orientalism) book .


Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
I found the blog talking about the destruction weapons to be very interesting , I think I may try to check Imad Khadduri book .

I started to read Absent: A Novel In parallel to this blog , it shares the same background as a start , and I will let you know if I fond it to be a worth companion for me .


message 43: by Marahm (last edited Jul 27, 2011 07:31AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marahm | 31 comments I'm slogging through the last few pages of the book. Some of the best descriptions occur here, and if I were the editor (such a pipe-dream!) I'd introduce these passages earlier.

I find difficulty in commenting upon this book from a literary perspective. It's a blog, after all, not a book, so the usual critique criteria should not apply.

Blog entries can be repetitive and/or mundane, but readers forge a relationship with the author over time, with the opportunity to comment upon individual posts.

Here, we cannot do that, so we get repetition without the mellowing function of time. I found her accounts of what they did when the electricity went out tiresome after the first few accounts. I also found her sarcasm stale and unimpressive.

I did like her many quotes and citations from other publications.

Some reviewers have criticised the author for being slanted, or ignorant of the greater political picture, and if this is true, one can only say, "Of course! It's a blog!"

The value of this book is found in the fact that Riverbend may be, indeed, ignorant of the greater political picture, just as the majority of ordinary citizens are ignorant of the greater political picture in every country large enough to have one. Ordinary citizens are the ones who have to live through it all, and their experiences need to be related in greater number. When more and more ordinary citizens speak up about their experience of war, famine, natural disaster, etc., maybe the human community at large will be able come together more effectively for the allevation of suffering.

This is how I see this book making an important contribution.


Anne (On semi-hiatus) (reachannereach) Marahm wrote: "I'm slogging through the last few pages of the book. Some of the best descriptions occur here, and if I were the editor (such a pipe-dream!) I'd introduce these passages earlier.

I find difficu..."


I also find the book too repetitive at times. It takes away from the reading experience, of getting caught up in the "narrative." I guess that's part of what war is though, repetition of a lot of the same things. It would have been nice if the blog had been edited for book publication, but then it might not read like a blog, I suppose.


message 45: by Marieke, Former moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marieke | 1179 comments Mod
I just started it this morning. She's just a few years younger than me. I used to read her blog occasionally; I found it through Salam's blog. I cannot believe we are still in Iraq. It really hits me hard reading her posts and realizing how long ago that was. I remember my stomach sinking when we invaded. I was against it from the beginning and had arguments with friends and relatives about it. This has defined most of my adult life. In fact, the intro to the book discusses the first Bush folly and fallout in the 1990s. I was in high school. We watched the war on tv. We hadn't had a "real" war since Vietnam...I was born at the end of that so war was something in history books in my mind...and now near constant war has been the theme in my adult life for years and years and often I think Americans understand nothing more about the countries we invaded than we did at that time. It's a bit alarming to me that Riverbend's book is as relevant now as it was in 2003. 2003 was so long ago!! No?


Anne (On semi-hiatus) (reachannereach) Marieke wrote: "It's a bit alarming to me that Riverbend's book is as relevant now as it was in 2003. 2003 was so long ago!! No?"

Yes. That is one of the upsetting thing about reading this blog/book. And I don't think the American army nor most of the American people care to understand anything about the countries we invade. Quite the opposite.


message 47: by Niledaughter (last edited Jul 29, 2011 10:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Niledaughter | 2793 comments Mod
Marahm wrote: "The value of this book is found in the fact that Riverbend may be, indeed, ignorant of the greater political picture, just as the majority of ordinary citizens are ignorant of the greater political picture in every country large enough to have one. Ordinary citizens are the ones who have to live through it all, and their experiences need to be related in greater number. When more and more ordinary citizens speak up about their experience of war, famine, natural disaster, etc., maybe the human community at large will be able come together more effectively for the allevation of suffering..."

I agree , at some points I feel I am just reading anger and bitterness . but that is life in war , and that is how most ordinary Iraqis see it .

Marieke and Anne , I am glad you are reading this book , and I have a question , how do American people see this war now ?

*********
I am slow but I am still reading the book ...

It is interesting that Riverbend belongs to a mixed family (sunni –Shiia ) , some differences just come closer to observe , I am Sunni . In Egypt almost all Muslims are Sunnis , so there are issues we do not know much about , one of the issues she mentioned (pleasure marriage) personally I find it believe to have some Shiia Muslims allowing this while it is forbidden in general in Islam ! I read about this marriage in details in an Iranian novel "the blood of flowers" , it is a catastrophe .

Anther ceremony she mentioned related to Shiia is Ashoura (the 10th Day of the Muharram ) , For us …Sunnis , we celebrate it by fasting as the prophet did (long befoere Al Hussin was murdered) , to commemorate the day when Moses and his followers were saved from Pharaoh by Allah by creating a path in the Red Sea (Jews used to fast on that day in Medina ). And in Egypt we have a special pudding for it called Ashoura .

- I cried during reading about (Amiriyah shelter) massacre , that blog was very touching .

- I need to talk about "Federalization" topic , but I need to read more .


Anne (On semi-hiatus) (reachannereach) Nile daughter wrote: "Marahm wrote: "The value of this book is found in the fact that Riverbend may be, indeed, ignorant of the greater political picture, just as the majority of ordinary citizens are ignorant of the gr..."

I really cannot say what all Americans see this war. It varies across the political spectrum and how much people believe our government's propaganda about why we started this war to begin with.


message 49: by Kit (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kit Yeah-my copy finally came in-I will start reading this weekend. I'm reading thru some of the comments-hope the book is as good as the comments!!


message 50: by Sue (new)

Sue | 628 comments I would agree with Anne to some extent about how Americans feel about the war in Iraq at this point---it does vary by political belief. I do think that all but the most fervent right wingers though have many doubts about the war now. They want their children home, not fighting overseas. And seeds of real doubt about the reasons the war was begun have been sown though the Bush administration managed to avoid them for years.

I'm old enough to have been living through many wars. I was in college during the growth of the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement, then there was the fall of the Nixon presidency, The multiple assassinations, the crackdown in Prague, then moving ahead to China and Tianamen Square, Northern Ireland, Palestine, the multiple smaller wars in Africa and South America and Central America. It just keeps going with the richer or more powerful wanting what the weaker have. Or the blue-eyed not wanting the brown-eyed around any more, or who knows what.

I do agree that governments and armies don't know much about the enemy they fight or in the case of Irag, the country the propose to liberate. It makes for stupid foreign policy.


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