In 2003, a blogger identified as a 24-year-old Iraqi woman began publishing a blog from Baghdad called "riverbend," about her experience in the war. She described her site as a "Girl Blog from Iraq," where readers were invited to "talk war, politics and occupation."
In her first blog post, she described herself: "I'm female, Iraqi and 24. I survived the war. That's all you need to know. It's all that matters these days anyway."
"River" continued publishing first-person accounts on Riverbend until 2007, when she says she fled Iraq with her family and joined other war refugees in Syria. In a recent blog post, she says she has since moved from Syria to another country, to escape the attacks on civilians there by the Syrian government.
On April 9, the 10th anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, she published her first blog post since 2007. She explains that it may be her last. What have we learned in ten years of the US-led war in Iraq, she asks:
We learned that while life is not fair, death is even less fair- it takes the good people. Even in death you can be unlucky. Lucky ones die a ‘normal’ death… A familiar death of cancer, or a heart-attack, or stroke. Unlucky ones have to be collected in bits and pieces. Their families trying to bury what can be salvaged and scraped off of streets that have seen so much blood, it is a wonder they are not red.
We learned that you can be floating on a sea of oil, but your people can be destitute. Your city can be an open sewer; your women and children can be eating out of trash dumps and begging for money in foreign lands.
We learned that justice does not prevail in this day and age. Innocent people are persecuted and executed daily. Some of them in courts, some of them in streets, and some of them in the private torture chambers.
We are learning that corruption is the way to go. You want a passport issued? Pay someone. You want a document ratified? Pay someone. You want someone dead? Pay someone.
We learned that it’s not that difficult to make billions disappear.
It should be noted that we have no way of verifying the identity of this blogger, and that is possible she is not who she says she is in the blog posts. But many have found her writings informative and illuminating, and for many, they ring true.
And if she is who she says she is, it seems unlikely that she will return to Iraq any time soon. On Monday, 42 people were killed by car bombs in Iraq, with "more than 257" injured.
(via Ned Sublette)