Thursday, March 23, 2006

Salam Pax: The Baghdad Blogger

Oh God - it's God Again!

"You have to be someone you’re not in Iraq” said Salam Pax, the internationally reknowned blogger.

He wore a green-striped, collared shirt with a blazer and short, buzzed hair. A manicured beard rounded his face slightly, giving The Baghdad Blogger, as readers know him, a warm presence.
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Good Muslims are supposed to have beards – I don’t know why,” he jokingly added.

Mr. Pax spoke at SJSU in MLK library today about his experiences in the war-torn country and about his book, The Baghdad Blogger. The book is a printed collection of his online posts.

His recollections and comparisons were a welcomed treat for me, though not altogether comforting.

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image from Google Images

"The more choice they [Iraqis] get, the more to the right they go,” Pax said with a negative tone.

I don't know why, but it sounded oddly familiar...anyways.

Who Gets to Kill Him First?

Mr. Pax also spoke about Saddam Hussein, and the problems he foresees Iraqis facing shortly.

image taken from Google News

Iraqi's expect an execution according to Mr. Pax, which he says won't settle well with the Kurds who want to see Mr. Hussein tried and convicted for the 1987 gassings for which Mr. Hussein was responsible.

Under the rules of the new Iraqi courts, any execution must be carried out within 14 days of conviction, said Mr. Pax.

That doesn't leave enough time for any other convictions.

Mo' Problems

Mr. Pax also addressed the war itself, possibly the most moving part of the presentation.

Three of his cousins have been taken hostage, one of which was killed after the kidnapper(s) had already received payment of tens of thousands of dollars.

When asked bluntly whether the US forces should withdrawl, Mr. Pax replied, “a rapid withdrawl would only plunge us (Iraqis) deeper into the darkness.”
image taken from Google News

“I’m afraid if the invader goes, I am left without a country.”

Iraqis, "made a deal with the devil," to get rid of Saddam Hussein, said Mr. Pax. Now they are at the mercy of the US and other foreign forces.

When asked if he was for or against the war, he added,
“I will never answer that question… it is not that simple.”

The presentation ended with a book signing, as two police office looked on in the back of the room. Their presence had been requested by the Center for Literary Arts to be there would be no interruptions.