This must-read blog has been quiet since early August. So, incidentally, has Mr Pseudonym (aka Mr Rabbit) for about the same time over at Thin Potations — no longer online in 2008 — but in his case the chances are he is OK (which I hope is the case) and simply choosing not to post. With the Girl Blog from Baghdad, however, a long silence could have many disturbing explanations. But now we know.
This has been the longest time I have been away from blogging. There were several reasons for my disappearance the major one being the fact that every time I felt the urge to write about Iraq, about the situation, I’d be filled with a certain hopelessness that can’t be put into words and that I suspect other Iraqis feel also.
It’s very difficult at this point to connect to the internet and try to read the articles written by so-called specialists and analysts and politicians. They write about and discuss Iraq as I might write about the Ivory Coast or Cambodia- with a detachment and lack of sentiment that — I suppose — is meant to be impartial. Hearing American politicians is even worse. They fall between idiots like Bush — constantly and totally in denial, and opportunists who want to use the war and ensuing chaos to promote themselves.
The latest horror is the study published in the Lancet Journal concluding that over 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since the war. Reading about it left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it sounded like a reasonable figure. It wasn’t at all surprising. On the other hand, I so wanted it to be wrong. But… who to believe? Who to believe…? American politicians… or highly reputable scientists using a reliable scientific survey technique?…
How do you answer that question? We have heard John Howard’s view. On that I rather like Harold Thornton’s analysis, which I have just found on Crikey.
Stuart Lord and Tim Bennett (13 October, comments) join John Howard in pouring scorn on the statistical methodology behind the latest Iraq death toll figures published in the Lancet. Since the methodology appears identical to that used by the ABS in calculating the Australian employment statistics perhaps Crikey readers can look forward to a scoop on the Prime Minister, in a display of consistency, dismissing the latest unemployment figures as fraudulent. Or perhaps not.
Baghdad Burning is not sure, but she does know this:
We literally do not know a single Iraqi family that has not seen the violent death of a first or second-degree relative these last three years. Abductions, militias, sectarian violence, revenge killings, assassinations, car-bombs, suicide bombers, American military strikes, Iraqi military raids, death squads, extremists, armed robberies, executions, detentions, secret prisons, torture, mysterious weapons – with so many different ways to die, is the number so far fetched?
There are Iraqi women who have not shed their black mourning robes since 2003 because each time the end of the proper mourning period comes around, some other relative dies and the countdown begins once again.
… I’ll meet you ’round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend… — epigraph to Baghdad Burning.
See also Congratulations Riverbend!
Related: from The Poet
Nir Rosen, “an American reporter who has lived for the last three years in Iraq and who can pass as Middle Eastern, describes what it’s like to live under the boot of a culturally callous—and sometimes criminal—occupying force in Iraq.” Read The Occupation of Iraqi Hearts and Minds.
Remember “shock and awe” anyone? Or Bush declares victory in Iraq?