[I'm sure a lot of you know about Salam Pax already but this is an angle that has been largely ignored.]
by Doug Windsor
March 29, 2003 12:01 a.m. ET/+5GMT/-3PT (New York City) A website by a mysterious gay man is attracting tens of thousands of readers around the world seeking updates on the situation in Baghdad.
He calls himself Salam Pax, a nom de plume which means "peace" in Arabic and Latin.
His site (http://dear_raed.blogspot.com) is a web log called a blog, a sort of online diary. His entries not only criticize Saddam Hussein but also the U.S. led invasion of Iraq.
While little is known about Salam Pax, it appears he is a 28 or 29-year-old Iraqi architect who lived as a teenager in Europe. His writings provide an eerie look at a city under seige.
"Our brightest and most creative minds fled the country not because of oppression alone but because no one inside Iraq could make a living, survive," he wrote of economic sanctions, telling the U.S. government to "get a clue."
"There are no waving masses of people welcoming the Americans nor are they surrendering by the thousands. People are ... sitting in their homes hoping that a bomb doesn't fall on them," he wrote.
In yet another entry he writes: "Houses near al-salam palace ... have had all their windows broke, doors blown in and in one case a roof has caved in," Salam wrote in his journal. "I guess that is what is called 'collateral damage' and that makes it OK?"
"How could 'support democracy in Iraq' become to mean 'bomb the hell out of Iraq'? ... Nobody minded an undemocratic Iraq for a very long time, now people have decided to bomb us to democracy? Well, thank you! how thoughtful," he wrote.
Before the invasion began several of his entries detailed persecutions against gays in Iraq.
Some of his entries are witty, others profoundly disturbing glimpses at Saddam's regime and the fears of Iraqis about the bombing campaign.
The site has become so popular that exceeded the amount of bandwidth he was allotted.
Google, the company which operates the company that hosts his blog has upgraded his account last weekend gratis so he could continue writing and posting photos. This week it added a mirror site to keep up with the ever growing traffic. (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gulfwar-2/)
Salam Pax has his detractors who believe he is actually an American or Israeli agent - and may not even be in Baghdad. But his supports point to the meticulous detail in his postings which even include the price of vegetables. One internet sleuth tested the code behind the Internet address of his blog and determined it most likely came from Iraq.
The site was knocked off the air on Monday prompting fears that Iraq's secret police may have discovered him, but it came back up on Friday night.
©365Gay.com LtdÆ 2003Posted by Brian Stefans at April 04, 2003 01:09 AM | TrackBack