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Salam Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi Paperback – October, 2003
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"A mysterious Iraqi who goes by the name of 'Salam Pax' and who writes a blog (Internet diary) from Baghdad is becoming a celebrity, on the Internet, with his firsthand stories of a city under siege...the traffic on the site has become so intense that it has blocked the server, while his e-mail has gone on the blink due to the vast number of messages from people who are asking him to prove his true identity."
About the Author
about life in Iraq for The Guardian.
Top customer reviews
Salam, thank you, thank you for letting an Iowan get a view without the doublespeak.
Not many people could give the absurdities that end in bombs and invasion the kind of authentic black humor that Salam does. I laughed out loud a lot. The book reminds me of "Catch 22" despite the differences of culture, author's voice, time and place.
Salam is the author with whom I'd most like to have coffee. Or wine-he can pick. I'll pick up the bill.
oh, p.s. for you nitpickers about the title ordinary: If a bomb had killed Salam, I bet his name would have been collateral damage.
read this book.
"...Those who thought his blog was unduly critical of Iraq's `liberators' made dark insinuations about his parents'
Baathist connections. Eventually Salam blew his top, advising
his detractors to `go play Agatha Christie somewhere else.' His
mother, he said, had been a sociologist at the Ministry of
Education, but had given up her job when she was told she could
not make progress in her career without becoming a Party member.
His father had been an eminent economist, but had made a similar
decision when faced with the same choice. `You are being disrespectful to the people who have put the first copy of George
Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four in my hands . . . go fling the rubbish at someone else.'
In fact, the conspiracy theorists' preoccupation with his family's supposed regime connections misses one of the most compelling attributes of Salam's diaries: he directs his vitriol in all directions. In the last days of the war he managed to describe the Fedayeen, the Baathist loyalists mounting a guerilla defence of Baghdad in the space of two paragraphs as `sickos', `chicken s**t' and `creepy f**s'. If he has been less than reverential about Iraq's occupiers,
he has been harder still on their Iraqi critics..."
Armed with an Internet connection and a blogger account, Pax leaves no stone unturned in the unabashed description of the attitude of his friends and family towards the US, but also to Saddam Hussein's Baathist dictatorship. The dominant theme of his caustic blog is a deep mistrust of American motives, and the text veritably seers with subdued anger, but Pax's skepticism is informed by a tenacious Iraqi nationalism.
Like many people potentially affected by wars, I devour a lot of news sources, including political blogs (some more informative than others) but it is usually difficult to see a clear perspective of the people who are physically on the receiving end of enemy scuds unless you live, breathe and sleep in the context of that news.
Pax has done a pretty fascinating job of organizing his book, it is eye-opening! For instance, one big anomaly in global news coverage from CNN/Fox/etc lies in introducing Iraq as this hapless nation fragmented by a bevy of races and religions. Yet Pax strongly argues that following recent protracted hostilities with Iran and Kuwait, Iraq itself has been boasting a very strong nationalistic fabric. I wonder how this glaring reality can escape international scribes?
If only the decision-makers in London and Washington take the time to consult the voice of the people (such as Pax's) before waging full-scale wars, their understanding about the country they are now scampering to control can perhaps be greatly helped.
I highly commend Mr. Pax on his efforts, and wish the best to his book, blog and other activism endeavours. If this thought-provoking, entertaining, and occasionally even infuriating compilation of his blog entries is anything to go by, I surely will be reading more of him!