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Cry Me A Riverbend II

Monday, June 07, 2004

UPDATE: Justify My Love III

In the Comments of my last entry, THESPIFF, asks me the age-old question "What's it all about?":

Okay CMAR II,
I find all of this intriguing and most of it seems to stand up to reason. I've been reading Riverbend for months myself, and I think it's very obvious that she has spent a great deal of time in both Arab and American cultures.

But I can't avoid asking what the hell your stance on this is? Firstly, what are you accusing Riverbend of? Do you think she is lying to us or simply misleading us? Your comments on her nationality seem to imply that she's an American impersonating an Iraqi living in Baghdad. Is this your belief?

You later call her a possible Baathist sympathizer or even a member of a powerful Baathist family. Are we dealing with an American Baathist masquerading as an afflicted citizen of Baghdad? To what end?

I'm sorry CMAR II, but I fail to see any sort of point here. You apparently disagree with her personal, subjective depictions of Iraqi life post-war. You substantiate this by citing other subjective depictions. You attack her for trying to remain anonymous on the internet. You attack her for her probable American upbringing. You attack her for complaining about foreign tanks in her streets, lack of electricity, and lack of jobs. (These last three are unarguably very real problems in Iraq right now.)

Perhaps most absurdly of all, you attack her for complaining about her day-to-day activites in her personal online weblog, which by definition can be understood as merely an online journal written for an audience.

I see no valid purpose for you to be doing all of this. It looks to me like a lot of pointless slander directed at somebody you don't have stomach for. Does it annoy the hell out of you when people whine endlessly about Fox News' bias? Why do you pull the same routine on an anonymous personal website?

I don't understand why this is so difficult to grasp for some people. I think I've made my stance on all of this pretty clear. I've dealt with most of this over and over. It seems to me that the most likely explanation is that some people aren't reading my blogs...instead they are reading about my blogs from some untrustworthy source.

I don't attack her for trying to remain anonymous on the internet. What do I care? She may have good reasons for it, and she doesn't need any reasons at all. (Nor do I attack her for not having Comments.) Why is it acceptible for bloggers to comment on articles from the Washington Times but not the blogger Riverbend? My point is that if she says everything was wonderful for her before the invasion and afterwards everything went to scuzz, well, I'd say her family involvement in the regime is pertinent to that perspective. Afterall, the new Iraq probably is not going too well for Saddam either (not that I'm saying RB or her parents are war criminals). Thus, it is by no means hypocritical for me to remain anonymous (I say it once again).

I don't attack her for her probable American upbringing. That she was raised in America is merely a piece of the puzzle. Some people have speculated that she is not Iraqi. I disagree. I think she is Iraqi, and her parents worked in the US until her early teens. For them to return to Iraq in the early 90s from the US is a significant signal that her parents were here in an official capacity (not just ordinary Iraqi emmigrants). This is anonymous but significant data. If I had her actual name, I would never publish it. I assert that she is an "afficted Iraqi", more precisely, an afflicted "member of a powerful Baathist family."

Do I attack her for complaining about foreign tanks in her streets, lack of electricity, and lack of jobs? No. But it's not the whole story. Her descriptions of these stories reflect more the viewpoint of Zeyad's uncle(a former general under Saddam) rather than Zeyad (of the Healing Iraq blog). There was a lack of electricity in Iraq before the war. Before the war there was a deteriorating economy rather than an improving one. Her situation is much less secure, much less comfortable now than during the Saddam regime. Perhaps its even less free in some ways. Is that the case of all Iraqis? Isn't the reason for her negative perspective pertinent? Should my sympathies lie with families members of the former Saddam terror machine, or with Iraqis that don't have to fear having their hands cut-off for almost no reason at all?

I don't slander her, because I don't tell any deliberate lies about her. I only provide perspective on her comments. My analysis of her background comes from information she has chosen to provide, and I think it is important context when reading her blog. "Attack" is too strong a word in my opinion but I do take her on for her consistent negative perspective on the Coalition's intentions and accomplishments in Iraq. I don't think her complaining is in her country's best interest, and I certainly don't think it is in her best interest. Her desires for her country and the Coalition's seems to be quite similar (unless she has an unstated desire to take part in a regime to again repress her countrymen -- which I don't detect).

But even for you this site has a point. She has no Comments. I have them here. Leave a message: "Riverbend, I find your blog inspiring and it gives me hope for the future of Iraq" or something like that.

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