more words worth reading on war

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From what I can tell, Salam is for real. An Iraqi blogger, telling us about life in Baghdad.

And in today's NYTimes Book Review, Margo Jefferson has an excellent essay entitled "Wars and Rumors of Wars." In it, she quotes the following line from Elegy for Kosovo, by Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare: "Blood flows one way in life and another way in song, and one never knows which flow is the right one."

I've wavered about putting Salam on my blogroll (yes, he's there now, under "Political Blogs"). Not because I don't think his site is worth reading, but because I'm afraid. Afraid that I'll begin to read it, and become that much less able to pretend that what's about to happen isn't happening. Afraid that I'll hear too much about the blood that's about to flow.

Today was a glorious day, weather-wise. In Upstate NY, we don't get a lot of 65°F days in March. I had a rare kid-free breakfast out with my mom, thoroughly cleaned the interior of my car for the first time in longer than I'd like to admit, got the Delta-Sonic "Super Kiss" car wash & wax, and took Lane out for dinner and then a long walk. The whole time, I pretended to myself that I didn't know war was around the corner. But it creeps into the corners of mind. It's there at the edges, always looming. The boys and I talked about it a bit tonight before bedtime. It's hard to know what to say to them. How much should they know? And why do I want them to know it?

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How would one know whether where is Raed is really a blog by an Iraqi in Iraq? (Imagine the Kaycee Nicole hoax only rather than the protagonist being "killed" by cancer it's by war.) And how much does it matter... Read More


Wow--this "Where is Raed" blog is powerful. I've been thinking about some of these issues on my blog (URL above), and I was fascinated to learn that there *is* an Iraqi blog, given some of my comments about Kevin Sites' blog earlier this week. These questions about digital communication and personal voice seem all the more powerful right now because of the current crises in world.

I'm new to blogging, and I've been trying--in various ways--to reflect on the experience, and your entries have been very helpful for me in that regard.

Funny Jill should mention that. I spent some time last night talking about the "identity" issue with my husband. He was wondering how I could possibly know whether Salam was who he claims to be. I acknowledged that I couldn't know. But my instincts--honed over years of reading messages from real and constructed personalities in many forums--tell me that he is real. That's no guarantee, of course--all I can offer is my opinion.

As to whether it matters...well, that's another whole interesting can of worms. We actually had conversation about exactly this with AKMA and his wife, Margaret, when they were in Rochester.

When I first met my husband, he was discussing similar questions on FidoNet echo that we were both on. He felt (and still feels) that it is perfectly reasonable for a person to use multiple personas to present an idea. For example, he liked the idea of creating a new persona, and using that persona to "argue" with his "main" persona, so as to expose the various sides of an issue.

So, does it matter to _me_ if Salam is really living in and writing about Baghdad right now? On some levels, yes. It's the reality, the immediacy, of the blogging that makes it powerful for me right now. Not that fiction can't be powerful--but it's different.

Obviously we can't know for sure whether this is for real. It certainly has the air of verisimilitude. It could a hoax, of course: but if so, a very detailed and elaborate one, with the creation of a sense of immediacy that gives it power. But I'm with Liz: my gut tells me it's real.




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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on March 16, 2003 9:23 PM.

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