Very moving post on Baghdad Burning

10 Sep

This blog has become justly famous. For some years the writer kept us in touch with her life in Baghdad, and her earlier entries have been published in book form by The Feminist Press.

In her riveting weblog, a remarkable young Iraqi woman gives a human face to war and occupation.

In August 2003, the world gained access to a remarkable new voice: a blog written by a 25-year-old Iraqi woman living in Baghdad, whose identity remained concealed for her own protection. Calling herself Riverbend, she offered searing eyewitness accounts of the everyday realities on the ground, punctuated by astute analysis on the politics behind these events.

Riverbend recounts stories of life in an occupied city – of neighbors whose home are raided by U.S. troops, whose relatives disappear into prisons, and whose children are kidnapped by money-hungry militias. The only Iraqi blogger writing from a woman’s perspective, she also describes a once-secular city where women are now afraid to leave their homes without head covering and a male escort.

I think its possibilities as a text in Journeys might occur to some.

Riverbend has posted her story of becoming a refugee in Syria. It is the first post since April.

…As we crossed the border and saw the last of the Iraqi flags, the tears began again. The car was silent except for the prattling of the driver who was telling us stories of escapades he had while crossing the border. I sneaked a look at my mother sitting beside me and her tears were flowing as well. There was simply nothing to say as we left Iraq. I wanted to sob, but I didn’t want to seem like a baby. I didn’t want the driver to think I was ungrateful for the chance to leave what had become a hellish place over the last four and a half years.

The Syrian border was almost equally packed, but the environment was more relaxed. People were getting out of their cars and stretching. Some of them recognized each other and waved or shared woeful stories or comments through the windows of the cars. Most importantly, we were all equal. Sunnis and Shia, Arabs and Kurds… we were all equal in front of the Syrian border personnel.

We were all refugees — rich or poor. And refugees all look the same — there’s a unique expression you’ll find on their faces –relief, mixed with sorrow, tinged with apprehension. The faces almost all look the same…

Do read it all, and go back to her earlier entry to see what happened earlier this year.

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Posted by on September 10, 2007 in blogs, HSC, multiculturalism, works/authors



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