November 09, 2004

The Progress Report

Dave Schuler did a nice job with this week's Carnival of the Liberated, a compendium of posts from Iraqi and Kurdish bloggers. If your initial reaction to the carnival's title is to dismiss it reflexively as "propaganda," be advised that it also includes posts by Iraqis who take issue with some of the U.S.'s actions in that region. In other words, it's a comprehensive sampling rather than a gaggle of pro-U.S. cheerleaders. Broaden your horizons a little, and check it out.

I've been remiss both in reading things like this and in linking them, but I'm trying to do better. The presence of these bloggers on the web always strikes me as something of, I don't mean to be hokey here but--a miracle. That I can sail right past the press and go straight to what this or that Iraqi citizen has to say about how things are going in his neck of the woods is amazing.

It's fun to imagine what might have been different if, say, Romanians had written blogs in the wake of their revolution. I'm thinking of passages like this from Balkan Ghosts:

Masticating loudly, he began lecturing me in an almost operatic fashion, thrusting his jaw out like Mussolini. Mircea translated.

"It is all the fault of Roosevelt. Everything here," waving his hand. "He sold Romania out at Yalta. Otherwise Romania would be like France today.

"What he says is true," Mircea added, suddenly a bit angry. "Because of Roosevelt, that God-damn cripple, we suffered for forty-five years."

"Roosevelt was near death's door at Yalta; he died a few weeks later," I started to explain. "The agreement he negotiated with Stalin called for free elections in Eastern Europe. It wasn't his fault that the Red Army's presence in these countries made the agreement unenforceable. Blame Stalin, blame Hitler for beginning the war in the first place. But don't blame Roosevelt."

"Roosevelt, he was the traitor," the man in suspenders said, practically spitting at me.

"And now we are being sold out again," said Mircea. "This Bush, we don't trust him. Only Reagan was good for us."

At the mention of "Reagan," everyone around the wooden table--the mayor's wife, the man in suspenders, Mircea, Ioanna--all stopped eating and nodded their heads in a sort of approving benediction. . . .

"The 'evil empire,' I remember hearing Reagan's speech on the VOA Romanian broadcast," Mircea said. . . . "He was the only one of your presidents to speak the truth. But this Bush, ah, just another Roosevelt. You watch, Romania will be sold out again. We always are."

Now that would have made for a fascinating cross-blog conversation, whatever your beliefs about the subject.

Posted by Ilyka at November 9, 2004 05:46 PM in hell is other people

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for noticing that I try for some balance. It's actually not all that easy. I try to give preference to Iraqis who are actually in Iraq and many of the anti voices are ex-pats.

Posted by: Dave Schuler at November 9, 2004 10:47 PM