Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn ("In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."). --HP Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

The stars hath turned in the heavens once more: Mighty Cthulhu stirs. His dreams reacheth forth, communing with those with ears to hear. Iä! Shub-Niggurath! His thoughts trample down along the pathways of thy mind; thou knowest His footprints, each of which is a wound...

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Ghaith's Guerrilla Journalism

The picture above is of
Ghaith Abdul Ahad, the photo-journalist who (among many other things) took the pictures of the September 12th massacre. He writes regularly for The Guardian, and has an incredible (and unnerving) ability to get people to open up around him, whether they're running from Apaches or shooting at our soldiers.

His latest piece is yet another insight into the common Iraqi man, easily the clearest reporting you will ever see on what the average Iraqi is thinking or feeling:
"Hundreds of Iraqis die every day," the man yelled at them. "Thousands are being kidnapped by the Americans every day, and nothing happens, but when three foreigners disappear, the whole world is here."

Ghaith has spoken with Iraq's appointed leaders, with various frontline insurgents, and with American journalists and soldiers. He counts as friends both Salam Pax (who vacillates between hope and cynicism about America's presence) and Raed Jarrar (who is unabashedly hostile towards "Boosh"), yet has said very positive things about the US presence in Iraq--dispite having once been detained and abused by US soldiers:
When talking to Ghaith about what happened to him he said that he doesn’t want this to sound that he is against their presence here.

But I used to feel safe when around them, if it looked like trouble go stand by the Americans but now I don’t feel this safe anymore. I hated myself for having the same feelings and fear when I was being detained by the Americans as when I was being detained by the Iraqis. I was worried about the space they would put me in and was hoping someone I know would come by so that I don’t just disappear.

If you want to know what is happening on the ground in Iraq, but don't want to deal with the second-hand reports from journalists too afraid to leave the "Green Zone", or can't stand the staged productions that the Army is spoon-feeding to the cable TV outlets, then you owe it to yourself to read Ghaith's work.

A collection of his Guardian articles can be
found here. This is where you can hear the unfiltered, unedited voices of Iraq:

One of the men lifts a big sword, and the scene cuts to the man in the jumpsuit lying dead in a pool of blood. The men around him are screaming "Allahu Akbar" - "God is great."

"Every time I watch this I feel sick," said the man. "But this is the only way to liberate my country."


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