Sunday, November 14, 2004

Where's Salam?

Just finished reading 'The Bagdad Blog' - the printed version of a blog by a guy calling himself Salam Pax. He started blogging in Sept. 02 from Bagdad - a lot of fear/anticipation about the impending American bombs. Really good stuff, and kind of inspiring for other bloggers because he ended up writing for the Guardian and doing work for television and blah blah blah, hey, maybe it could happen to me! If only the Americans would bomb Toronto. Don't they see the connection between Prime Ministers Jean Chretian and Paul Martin and 9/11? Surey they could, if they looked hard enough.

Anyway I went on Salam's blog ( and it seems he went on hiatus in April of this year. I read some entries that came after the book and it's still great stuff, my favourite being about how he's personally reconciled previous internal conflicts about being too Western for an Iraqi, being "in the middle." And about how, being a middle eastern man he feels the need to pull out all the many varied aspects of his identity (educated, fluent in Arabic and English, queer, etc.) in order not to be "painted into a corner" by the Western way of looking at people, i.e. mideastern men are Muslim terrorist wife-beaters, period.

As someone who strives to avoid labeling people, and therefore tries hard not to jump into identity games or proudly self-identifyin any way, it offered a lot of insight as to why people do that. It is kind of akin to me belonging to all the traditional power groups (white, male, straight, christian-born, middle class), and therefore making special efforts to prove that I'm not so oppressive. It's weird that we have to do these things to prove ourselves, but we do.

Anyhoo, I was disappointed that he stopped blogging for so long, and I'm really not sure why. But, that's obviously his perogative. It's just a bit of a bummer to discover you're a fan of someone and then just then they stop producing.

The Bopper

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