30.3.06

War against desensitisation

I read yesterday about the 20-something student from Iraq whose blog was short-listed for the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. One of the entries in her blog really struck a cord. It brought home the fact that many Iraqis have a lot more in common with me than I would have thought. I would, for example, not have guessed that they would be sufficiently “Westernized” to appreciate Pink Floyd (she quotes a few very apt lines from “Blue Sky”). I know, it’s just a band, but it's a powerful symbol of the fact that their culture is not as far removed from ours as we might like to think. They're merely in the wrong place, at the wrong time. On the 7th of January she ("Riverbend") heard on the news that US journalist Jill Carrol was kidnapped and her Iraqi translator killed. Only days later (on the 10th of January) would she find out that the translator was a very dear friend of hers.

She describes their time together and you soon start to realize that he was a special, standup guy. The same man who was shot in cold blood and died slowly enough to tell the police what happened, "loved Pink Floyd".


I happened to read just now on
News24 that Carrol had been found, and released into US custody. This event brings this little chapter of her story full circle, and seems to justify a mention of her blog here.

Anyway, I think
Riverbend is worth a look, and as I mentioned, the 12th of January 2006 entry was especially poignant to me. Despite knowing and reading about all the thousands of lives that have been lost in this war, yesterday, for the first time, I could actually relate somewhat to the whole ordeal and feel an unforced, even involuntary empathy for the people of Iraq. Her blog effortlessly penetrates that formidable human defence mechanism called desensitisation.

3 comments:

nico said...

Good post. Thanks for the link.

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