10/11/2005

Daily Kos: Arrest me, I blog! (What Iraqi bloggers are saying...when they have electricity, of course)

Arrest me, I blog! (What Iraqi bloggers are saying...when they have electricity, of course)
by Sharon Jumper [Subscribe]
Sat Aug 13, 2005 at 01:16:11 AM CDT

As part of my dissertation research, I read Iraqi news reports and blogs several times per week. Over at Iraq Blog Count Iraqi blogs written in English are posted and linked together through blogspot. Their community is similar to Daily Kos.

It seems that several bloggers and others who dissent against the occupying authority and/or the current "government" have been rounded up and taken away for days of "questioning." As a result, a new form of peaceful protest is arising, symbolized as follows:
Gee, what could our Iraqi blog bretheren and sisters possibly have to complain about, now that President Bush has "liberated" them?

* Sharon Jumper's diary :: ::
*

Apparently, a lot! Here's a sampling:

One of the more prominent English-language Iraqi bloggers is Khalid Khalid was arrested a few weeks ago, snatched from his college campus Iraqi security forces in the middle of broad daylight. He was taken to a former palace, and recounts:
They started by asking me: "What's the connection between you and the London Bombs?" !!!
And I was like: "haaaaa???!!.". I said: "London Bombs???! Nothing!"
BANG!!
A heavy hand landed on my neck, my brain was too busy to feel the pain, I felt my neck numbing for a while.
"SPEAAAK" he shouted.
"Turn around" he yelled.
I turned, facing the room now, but not seeing anything other than my nose and the shoes of the person who was interrogating me, standing so close.
"Why do you have a beard?" he asked.
"Because the prophet..." (I was trying to tell him that prophet Mohammad had one, and that I have one because I love to look like him...)
BANG
He slapped me on the face. It made a loud noise that the room became dead-silent for some seconds....
"May the prophet curse you" he shouted.
Again, my brain didn't respond to the pain signals, I didn't feel it. For the next few hours, they asked me questions like "who are the other members of our terrorist cell, where does your fund come from? What operations did you have?"
"What do you have against Shia?"
I said: "nothing, my mother is Shia!"
He said" what do you have against Kurds? Why don't you go blow yourself up and kill Kurds?"
I said: "Because God says in Quran..." (I was trying to tell him a part of Quran where God orders us not to kill any innocent soul) he interrupted me shouting, "We know Quran better than you".
"My best friend is Kurdish!" I said.
"Of course he is, so that you can get information about Kurds from him, right?" he answered.
Nothing I said seemed to make sense to them. And nothing they said makes sense to anyone in the world.
Then finally I understood why I was there, after few hours. Security guards at the university had printed out all the websites I was reading while I was online there. They were accusing me of "reading terrorism sites" and "having communications with foreign terrorists". "Do you know what these pages are?"
I looked at them and figured out they were the comment section of [the blog] Raed in the Middle!!
I opened the comments section while browsing in the university, read some comments, and didn't even post anything. But these people don't seem to know what the internet is, and they don't speak English, so I was a major suspect of being an assistant of al Zarqawi maybe! Or that I have a terrorist group of my own, with foreign connections!
I was accused of terrorism, and sent to jail after they decided that I'm not helping myself because I am not helping them!!!
"Help you with what??!!"I asked "I am so willing to help you with anything you want, just tell me what exactly you want to know?"
"Tell us the name of the other members of your group, and where you get your fund from" then answered...He asked: you are accused of attending terrorist sites (Did he say that they are sites that recruit young people for terrorism? I don't remember) so what do you say?
I said, with my eyes covered: please write my answer "I deny that completely, I was practicing my democratic right of viewing people's opinion about a certain topic on a site that people visit from all the countries around the world to give their opinions"
He said: what in the hell is that? Did I ask you to write me a composition? Answer my question Goddamn it! You are accused of visiting terrorist websites, what do you reply?
I repeated my answer, but I reformed it in a way that is less complicated for his simple brains to understand, they wrote something and made me sign on the paper.
I don't know if any of them finished high school, they are uncivilized, they lack morality and education, the way they swear all the time and the words they say tells you what kind of people they are...they don't speak English, they didn't even ask me one time about the content of the site, which my one and only crime was that I read.
{After eight days, Khalid is taken to see a judge who orders his release.] He notes:
I was so lucky that I was taken to the Mokhabarat directly. Usually you have to go through a police station or a center of the national guards to get there, where the standard procedure of torturing is hanging people upside down and beating them with cables for hours, pinching their bodies with electrical drills, burning them with hot water, ripping out their finger nails, breaking bones, using acids on the wounds after whipping them, the dead bodies that are found in the dumpsters in Baghdad even had their eyes taken out of them, and a lot of these things happened with people that I know, or with people that were detained with the people that were with me in this jail, before they were brought here, and the list of torturing techniques is long, and you don't want to hear them or know about them if you want to sleep at night.

Another Iraqi blogger, Mama, discusses her daily life and concerns for her eldest child, a 14 year old daughter who bloggers know as "Sunshine":

I worry about their safety when they are at home or out. Sunshine's school is far from our house she was trapped in her way many times. Sunray had very bad memories; she witnessed many battles in her way to school, and inside her school. All these & much more makes me worried all the time.

Sunshine also has a blog. In one posting, she compares pre-war and post-war Iraq during her 14 year lifetime:
Previously, women used to talk about the kids, the housework, fashion & shopping. While men talk about politic subjects, their work & cars. I get bored with both. However, that was in the past, now men & women talk about the bad situation, their bad scary experiences& their losses. All the talk was about who was killed & who was abducted.

On the Baghdad Burning blog, the diarist dissects Bush's july speech on progress in Iraq:
He actually used the word `terrorist' in the speech 23 times.
He was trying, throughout the speech, to paint a rosy picture of the situation. According to him, Iraq was flourishing under the occupation. In Bush's Iraq, there is reconstruction, there is freedom (in spite of an occupation) and there is democracy.

"He's describing a different country..." I commented to E. and the cousin.

"Yes," E. replied. "He's talking about the other Iraq... the one with the WMD."

"So what's the occasion? Why's the idiot giving a speech anyway?" The cousin asked...I reminded him it was the year anniversary marking the mythical handover of power to Allawi's Vichy government.

"Oh- Allawi... Is he still alive?" Came the indolent reply from the cousin. "I've lost track... was he before Al Yawir or after Al Yawir? Was he Prime Minister or did they make him president at some point?"

Another Iraq blog, Iraqi letters, an Iraqi discussion of his reaction to the recent London bombings::

to be honest, while following the unfolding news from London on the BBC, I did not feel shock. I did not feel the shock and repulsion that I felt on 9/11.

This has become just like any other day in Iraq. Regular news. You don't get shocked by regular news.

I felt anger, but it was an anger of another kind.

What angered me most was that I have somehow found out that I had less compassion than I should for those people who suffered or lost their lives. Have I lost part of my humanity and capacity for compassion... or the ability to feel for the suffering of other people?

It is a loss indeed. But it is also my loss... of part of my soul.

These are just a few of the many blog postings made by English speaking Iraqis. Now, for the bad news - there appears to be a compaign by some Bush supporters to intimidate these people. There are many posts wherein bloggers lodge a complaint about the difficulties of their daily life - and the FREEPERS typically remind they about how their should be eternally grateful that President Bush and all Americans.

Daily Kos: Arrest me, I blog! (What Iraqi bloggers are saying...when they have electricity, of course)

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