"gay eye" on baghdad

for those of you looking for yet another perspective…

> Gay Eye On Baghdad
> by Doug Windsor
> 365Gay.com Newscenter
> New York Bureau
> 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.