The Baghdad Blog Paperback – 5 Sep 2003
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My man Salam. Im a total fan. Tells it like he sees it, and sees it like I cant -- William Gibson
Perhaps the most popular and publicized of all blogs [an] amusing and touching account of the war' -- Daily Telegraph
About the Author
Salam Pax is a 29 year-old man who lives in Baghdad and writes a fortnightly column about life in Iraq for the Guardian. Salam Pax is a pseudonym.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
In September 2002, a young Iraqi calling himself Salam Pax began posting accounts of everyday life in Baghdad on to the Internet. Written in English, in the form of a 'blog' ( a form of web log/diary for those of you who haven't come across them yet - they've been a huge internet phenomenon over the last two years) , these bulletins contained everything from musings on his CD collection to open criticisms of Saddam's regime.
Many didn't believe Salam was from Iraq at the time. He was taking a risk that could have cost him his life. The diary entries soon attracted a worldwide readership and as the American-led force gathered to invade Iraq, Salam's diary became an extraordinary record of the expectation, resentment, bemusement, horror and sheer terror felt by a man living through the final days of a long dictatorship, and the chaos in its aftermath.
Salam has continued to write and it is his humour and irreverence (and a healthy dose of cynicism) that make his diaries so readable. That it records an amazing moment (for better or for worse we are still to find out) is almost incidental.
Somehow you feel drawn to this book because it goes against something that would never have been allowed in controlled Iraq, although all it really is is a published web log, copied-and-pasted straight off the Internet.
Somehow it grips because of all this inside information. Many times does Pax put himself at risk just to keep his blog updated. Friends and relations are reduced to first initials or pseudonyms as to not give away identities, and only a mysterious blog-friend Diana is entrusted with many of his secrets.
What gripes me about this book is that its available for viewing on the Internet completely free of charge in its original format.
What is also difficult is there are footnotes at the bottom of nearly every page! This means you have to do a lot of referencing in order to understand some of what you're reading.
Its also quite hard for people who have never 'blogged' before to understand the layout of it.
Fortunately for me I picked it up in the library though...
A good read? Yes.
Finally there's something I can read and at the same time look back on when comparing it to what I saw on the news at the time. It was a risk writing something like this, but reading it fascinates the mind as you experience the same images we saw on TV only through the eyes of someone in Iraq at the.Read more ›
This document gives a valuable insight into real-life, non-fundamentalist Iraq. Salam Pax (a pseudonym) is like any other young person anywhere. His reports cover much of ordinary life, especially music, but particularly the developing political situation.
When the book begins, Saddam is still in power. Salam Pax risks his life criticising Saddam on the net. Despite his contempt for Saddam, however, he is very concerned about the impending war and the prospect of invasion.
As the war gets under way, he travels to the south of the country to help those in need. So we really get quite a detailed picture of the country at that time.
The one drawback with this book is that, because it's a collection of blogs, starting reading feels like walking in part way through a conversation. But stick with it - it's worthwhile.
Interestingly, there is something in this book that I can read at the same time and look back to the time when I saw the historical events unfold on the world's news screens and make comparisons to what I thought. Ironically, I can definitely connect with and share many of the sentiments of anticipation, resentment, bemusement and impending fear and chaos of military action. Salam states his own position on the war & what sanctions had done to Iraq over the years prior to 2003 at his "Rant" page and he also admitted his dislike of the politics of human shield activist from outside Iraq & their contradictory nature.
Finally, the book is well written and I would highly recommend anyone to buy it and who is interested in gaining a better insight into the Iraq war of 2003 & the region that has remained in the headlines and for the most part has been given negative coverage.