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Female Baghdad blogger

14
mariaprPerson was signed in when posted
09-02-2003
09:50 AM ET (US)
A couple of notes (I was offline all weekend so can just now respond). My many friends from the Middle East -- some Iraqi, some Persian, are not right-wing, so I don't expect anyone to "tow the right-wing neocon line". I am also suspicious of anyone who can call someone racist simply because they have doubts about a blog. Wow. Way to shut any questions down. I was simply stating an opinion based on my experience with people of many cultures and their LANGUAGE abilities. Period. And by the way, this comes to you from a bonafide ACLU-card-carrying Liberal -- with a healthy amount of skepticism.
13
Richard Steven HackPerson was signed in when posted
09-02-2003
01:18 AM ET (US)
She's not toeing the right-wing neocon line, so they suspect she's not what she seems. That simple. Surprise! Things really ARE screwed up in Iraq! It is NOT a "stunning success", as one right-wing moron on the www.iraqwar.ru site said in one thread. At least we can be sure she's not an Israeli, unlike some people posting on the Iraqwar site. There we've got several "handles" that seem suspiciously the same and one or more of them instantly pop up the minute somebody criticizes Israel's influence on the US. It sometimes seems that shills are being paid to surf certain Web sites and put out counter-propaganda.
12
PapayaSFPerson was signed in when posted
08-30-2003
09:53 PM ET (US)
Hey wondering, maybe people are just trying to be polite by paying you a compliment....
11
pmPerson was signed in when posted
08-30-2003
03:18 AM ET (US)
Mike Hawash.
10
wonderingPerson was signed in when posted
08-29-2003
10:43 PM ET (US)
Right on, lia! This is like an American saying "You speak perfect English" or "You speak without an accent" just because I'm not white.

When I hear those statements, I'm thinking:

1. My English is not only perfect, it's probably better than yours. One year of grading my peers' econ homework in college pretty much proved that. And these were the rich kids.

2. Also, everybody speaks with an accent. It just depends on what you're familiar with. I just sound like you. But I can probably do a bunch of other accents (Brit English or some ASEAN-variant of English) that would work just as well.

Condescending ignoramus.
9
liaPerson was signed in when posted
08-29-2003
07:00 PM ET (US)
re: too many americanisms

Most people who don't read my blog carefully or haven't really talked in-depth with me don't know that I'm not American, because I can speak with a California accent and have an immense war chest of pop culture references. I moved to the U.S. a year ago for grad school, lived in Boston for a year as a child when my mom went to grad school herself -- other than that I've lived in the same Southeast Asian country my whole life. I know it's hard to imagine for the average American, since most of you never even bother venturing outside your own country once in your lifetimes, or even learning very much about what happens outside your borders, but we furriners don't live inside tiny cultural ghettos of our own making. Saying she can't possibly be Iraqi because her English is so good is like expecting me to like rice just because I'm Asian; it's ignorant at best and at worst, racist.
8
Michael BernsteinPerson was signed in when posted
08-29-2003
06:30 PM ET (US)
As far as the 'too many americanisms' is concerned, don't discount what you can learn from reading books and watching TV. I grew up in Israel (though born in the US) and could pull off any number of accents and associated vocabularies, including Murrikan, Lord Haw-haw, David Attenborough, Cockney, and Ozzie. Never could manage Enzed, though (probably too close to Ozzie).

These days, (since I've been back living in the US for the past 10 years) my default accent is far more Californian than the original 'Broadcaster's Midwest Bland' it used to be.
7
SixDifferentWaysPerson was signed in when posted
08-29-2003
06:16 PM ET (US)
I agree with Disso. She's friends with Salam, and that says more to me than a few details.
As far as her ISP goes - well, someone can get their email from a server anywhere in the world, no?
As for April 11 - it may indeed have been a cool day, even if it was sunny - sunny doesn't necessarily equal warm. Plus, remember, Baghdad was covered with clouds of smoke and dust - the day could have indeed appeared "cloudy" even if the satellites didn't show that.
As for the temperature - she wouldn't be the first to make a small mistake converting the Celsius the rest of the world uses to the U.S. standard. Plus, she is talking about being inside - which could indeed be much warmer than the outside air temperature.
I guess people are sceptical by nature, but I see no real reason to doubt her. I've had dozens of friends from the Middle East (Iraq, Iran, UAE, Jordan - you name it), and many of them speak excellent English, complete with American slang and euphemisms, once they have spent some time here.
6
DissoPerson was signed in when posted
08-29-2003
05:34 PM ET (US)
I consider Salam Pax a trustworthy source, and he mentions her at least twice, that I found on a quick search. I think it is more plausible that she is an Iraqi who writes English well, than an American who has an amazingly detailed knowledge of Baghdad (who nonetheless gets other easy details, like temperatures, wrong?)
Edited 08-29-2003 05:34 PM
5
starbuckPerson was signed in when posted
08-29-2003
03:38 PM ET (US)
she also asks people to email her at velocall.com. Velocall is HQ'd in Bangkok with offices in LA. Velocall doesn't claim to have any clients in the Middle East, much less Iraq. All of Velocall's clients are in....Thailand! Velocall does run an integrated messaging service for individuals. The service has coverage in Thailand and Missouri. That's Missouri, USA and not Missouri, Iraq.

She claims April 11th was a cool cloudy day in Baghdad. A simple google shows plenty of images that show a very clear sunny day. She also claims it's 120 degrees at night. Another simple google shows that it's 100+ during the day and 80+ at night. I live in the desert as well. If it were 120 at night it would be 140+ during the day. Sorry.

She makes reference to a "famous Arabic saying". Yet another google for said saying produces zero hits.

I think the provenance of this blog is very suspect
Edited 08-29-2003 04:01 PM
4
Deleted by author 08-29-2003 03:18 PM
3
SmoothPerson was signed in when posted
08-29-2003
03:03 PM ET (US)
She says pretty far down the page: "A lot of you have been asking about my background and the reason why my English is good. I am Iraqi- born in Iraq to Iraqi parents, but was raised abroad for several years as a child. I came back in my early teens and continued studying in English in Baghdad- reading any book I could get my hands on. "

So she lived for about a decade "abroad."
2
mariaprPerson was signed in when posted
08-29-2003
02:30 PM ET (US)
I really have trouble believing this is written by an Iraqi. Not because -- as River says toward the beginning -- she has use of the Internet or can speak English, but rather because it is filled with Americanisms and language use that only comes from being OF the language. For instance, in one post, she uses "'bout" instead of "about" when relaying a conversation with someone. There are samples of this throughout her postings. This is someone who either lived in America for a very long time or, quite simply, is American.

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