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I have a hard time talking about American involvement in the Middle East I m not sure whether it s too soon or simply too enraging for me to discuss in any rational, diplomatic manner, but whatever the reason, I avoid the subject in my daily conversation to prevent embroiled emotional battles with friends and foe alike Suffice it to say that I despise everything about the Bush era tactics and, somewhat less, the Obama approach in the Middle East and this book was a haunting reminder of the atrocities we ve committed and continue to commit as a country.Contrary to the puppy dog and rainbow propaganda that we re being fed by a corporate owned news media, our presence in Iraq and other occupied countries, I m sure is far from the liberating and democracy delivering experience that we re so ignorantly convinced it is While there are no doubt supporters of the American regime in the Middle East, I think the majority, if given the opportunity, would probably opt out of the constant bombings and ransacking of their homes and communities the unjustified detentions, torture, and murders of loved ones the missile bombardments that threaten their existence every moment of every day Riverbend is a thoughtful and intelligent woman and I commend her for so thoroughly documenting an experience that will no doubt haunt her for the rest of her life Armed with facts, rage, and an admirable sense of humor, she brings a sense of humanity and familiarity to the seemingly faceless wars we ve waged over the course of so many years This sense of unity the idea that, in the end, we are all of one human community and should honor one another as brothers and sisters is something that I hope will be embraced, as cheesy as it may sound to some I m weary of war, and I ve not even been mildly impacted The unearned privilege that protects me from the true horrors of battle is far from universal I can t begin to imagine what it s like for survivors of this madness who watch, day after day, as their country and homeland is reduced to rubble as their government becomes a foreign, imposed regime with no sense of connection to the people themselves as loved ones are assasinated in cold blood in front of their eyes Call me naive Call me cliche Call me unpatriotic This has to end. With the Internet, we are now able to read accounts of war by noncombatants who are not journalists while the war is happening, even as armies invade and bombs fall Someone has called Iraq the first postmodern war in that we get simultaneous reports of what is happening from many different points of view besides the official ones This remarkable blog by a young woman in Baghdad is a day by day record of the experience of the war in her city and told from the perspective of someone not unlike her Western readers so convincingly that some readers consider her blog a hoax She writes fluent English and is familiar with American culture she is educated, urbane, politically informed, and computer savvy having worked at a software company before the war a job that was lost at least in part because she is a woman in a rising tide of fundamentalist sentiment Most of all, she demolishes any stereotypes of Iraqis that Westerners might have stereotypes that often serve to justify the war itself.In the 13 months covered in this published volume of her blog, we see the American invasion become an occupation, and the initial sporadic resistance to it evolve into a widespread insurgency with a mounting death toll The focus, unlike news coverage, is on the casualties among noncombatants, and we are reminded on nearly every page of what it is like to live life literally under the gun And in a city where law and order are up for grabs, citizens must arm themselves for protection, while running the risk of being taken for terrorists because they are armed Added to that, there are daily explosions, kidnappings, home invasions, and the continuing problem of power shortages Meanwhile, the TV and internet news reveal the blunders of the American authorities and the follies of a do nothing, American installed provisional government Then we hear again of the siege of Fallujah, with its staggering loss of civilian life, and finally the humiliations on all sides of the photos released from Abu Ghraib Most poignant and disturbing is her retelling of the 1991 Amiriyah Shelter massacre, in which 400 women and children were killed by an American missile during the Gulf War.There is understandably a lot of anger in this book While certainly justified often even restrained and measured the book avoids becoming an endless and wearying diatribe The mood modulates among a range of emotions and attitudes We are treated at times to interesting descriptions of Iraqi culture, accounts of daily routines like filling the water tank on the roof , and reports, laced with irony, of the laughable incompetence of appointed public officials, plus rejoinders to readers who have sent her emails revealing their own ignorance Finally, the book is a record of clinging to sanity in a world gone very wrong For those who support the war, don t support it, or are indifferent about it, it s important to read for what it has to say about the impact of foreign policy decisions on those whose lives are through no fault of their own suddenly in harm s way. I thought this book was worth reading and I really liked Riverbend She is smart, funny, and very down to earth Her observations on both daily life and the ever shifting political scene sounded dead on I realize that the author is anonymous and that some wonder if she is for real or not I really didn t get hung up on that point and just accepted it for what it was I am willing to believe she is really who she says she is and I enjoyed reading what she had to say It is rather dismaying though to realize that the actions by the U.S governmetn and G.W Bush appear to have been taken directly from a book entitled How to Really Screw Things Up in Iraq the complete lack of understanding of the nuances of Iraqi culture, politics and mindsets is really appalling And sadly, this book was written about events that took place 8 9 years ago and I m not sure things are much improved or different today Very sad.I gave this book 3 stars not because I didn t care for it, but mainly because I m not a huge fan of blogs turned into books I usually end up thinking that the raw material for a strong narrative is there, but not used to its best advantage in blog entry format That said, I think for what it is, it is nicely done. Rating subjective experience seems like a stupid thing when that subjective experience deals with surviving in a war zone the five stars here are not a rating of the book, but a mark of my being glad that, so long as warfare continues anywhere, documents like this book exist If anyone expects it to be an unbiased, journalistic account, then those expectations will be crushed Originally written as a blog about life after the liberation of Iraq by US forces in April of 2003, it was also the only such document written by an Iraqi woman It is full of personal opinions, sarcasm, observations and anger, unfortunately all too justified In a strange way, it is the flip side of David Finkel s The Good Soldiers or maybe that book is the flip side of this one In any case, they are both essential reading about the war in Iraq, or should be. This book is a compilation of a year of blog entries by a upper middle class young woman in Iraq Although the woman is well educated and a near native speaker of English, the final product is less an eye opener on the US occupation of Iraq and a reflection of her ignorance or bias against various groups, her fellow citizens included She tends to depict situations and issues in stark terms, rather than with the purportedly objective eye of a journalist There is no mention of the Kurds, even though they are a sizable portion of the population sitting on the hotspot of Kirkuk, while returning exiles are viewed with complete disdain not just politicians, but anyone who had managed to escape Saddam s rule for than five years I would read a comprehensive book first, such as Fiasco by Thomas Ricks or Night Draws Near by Anthony Shadid, and then use this book to fill in the gaps regarding the circumstances faced by ordinary Iraqis I certainly would not use this book as an example of how all Iraqis view the U.S or their own country. Day by day commentary on what s happening in the country, neighborhood, and family of a 20 something young woman beginning in August 2003 Certainly a quite different perspective than from US news reports I found her observations interesting and the story compelling I read this as a book selection of the Middle East North Africa group.I read this like I do most blogs to which I subscribe skimming some, focusing on others Her talk of daily chores and the difficulties of such things as filling the water tanks, doing laundry, celebrating holidays seem interesting than the political, which seem dated, although interesting from an historical view.Now moving on to The Trench, the second book in the Cities of Salt series by Abdelrahman Munif after I finish a few other books. Two things First, I think my favorite part of this book was learning about the culture and customs held by some of the Iraqi people I particularly liked the description, importance and uses of palm trees Although I can t remember if this was in this book or the second one Second, because it s written in a diary blog form, this felt to me like a story or history rather than something that was currently happening Also, given that it s impossible to know with any certainty whether or not Riverbend is actually a woman in Iraq right now, it s hard not to keep reminding yourself of that or questioning that the whole time your reading it So I found myself in the weird space of reminding myself that this is real and current and yet maybe not real at all Overall, it was powerful and detailed. &FREE EPUB ↾ Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq ⇞ In August A Young Iraqi Blogger Began Reporting Her Experiences As A Civilian Observer In Baghdad Calling Herself Riverbend, She Has Offered Searing Eyewitness Accounts Of Daily Life In The War Zone And Has Garnered A Worldwide Audience Hungry For Unfiltered News And Fresh Analysis Riverbend S Blog, Baghdad Burning, Collected Here For The First Time, Responds To Events Both Personal And Political From The Impact On Her Family Of The Invasion S Aftermath To The Abu Ghraib Prison Abuses She Reveals For Us Most Sharply The Fate Of Iraqi Women, Whose Rights And Freedoms Are Falling Victim To Rising Fundamentalisms Describing The Reality Of Regime Change In Iraq In A Voice At Turns Outraged, Witty, And Deeply Moving, Riverbend Is A Witness To The Recent Events That Are Shaping The Future Of Her Homeland on the ground day to day reporting of usa invasion of iraq in 2003 by a young woman with not many axes to grind, but with prescience and wit and outrage, for sure it was is much worse than we are lead to believe by western press and usa propa A must read.