Monday, January 24, 2005

If you see death, you settle for a fever.

Riverbend, the “Iraqi Girl Blogger”, is on my shortlist blogroll for a few reasons. One being she writes well, better than most Americans. In English. Doubtless her Arabic is poetry.

She’s slacked off lately, her writing has gone south. Why is that?

Water is like peace- you never really know just how valuable it is until someone takes it away. It’s maddening to walk up to the sink, turn one of the faucets and hear the pipes groan with nothing. The toilets don’t function… the dishes sit piled up until two of us can manage to do them- one scrubbing and rinsing and the other pouring the water.


Why is this happening? Is it because of the electricity? If it is, we should at least be getting water a couple of hours a day- like before. Is it some sort of collective punishment leading up to the elections? It’s unbelievable. At first, I thought it was just our area but I’ve been asking around and apparently, almost all of the areas (if not all) are suffering this drought.

Despite what they tell you on United States cable news regarding Baghdad, (where things are perpetually “getting better”), if you have read Riverbend’s blog from the beginning until now you know that exactly the opposite is true. Here, I could digress into a side rant about the wastrel neocon apologist critic, the sluggy and declining Christopher Hitchens. He can still reflexively snap off a crackling essay but can’t connect the dots from Orwell to the media he pimps iconoclastic-ely for. Another day.

In Riverbend’s world, things get more depressing by the month. Less electricity, less water, less oil!!! and less hope. More atrocity, kidnapping of cousins. Neighbors disappeared into Abhu Graib by vindictive tipsters settling old scores. Ghosts from Fallooja wandering through her backyard.

What is compelling about any this to your average fatbutt American, other than our collective blame in the eyes of the world?

This is your life in ten years if things go really, really bad.

We see what we want to see. Many of my close friends don’t percieve America as being in nearly as much trouble as I do. Peak Energy is an abstraction, as is the declining dollar and the real estate bubble. We’re running cozy lessons from twenty plus years of cultural experience through our logical, thinky bits and this enormous fulcrum of coming change does not sink down to our gut. Supermarkets and GameBoys.

Early in the Iraqi occupation, Riverbend wrote up a mix of hope and fears. She saw what she wanted to see.

Now, it is just dread and loathing, crammed into her blog when, inshallah, she has ten minutes of electricity to transcribe her thoughts.

Young girl, Mosul, January 2005. Parents killed by troops


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