Salam Pax is a pseudonym for a remarkable young blogger in Baghdad who has attained a sort of cult following on the internet.  Prior to the American invasion of Iraq, Salam Pax was reporting on life within Baghdad and continued his entries throughout the bombing of his city.

Salam Pax's blog/website is called " Where is Raed? ".  He's a gifted journalist and a riveting storyteller who injects humour as genuinely and easily as if the reader were sitting next to him.

(28 DEC 2005 Update: Salam Pax has a new blog in addition to "Where is Raed?" Http://justzipit.blogspot.com/  is a continuation of his essays on life in post-Saddam Iraq and offers readers a refreshing and valuable look from the perspective of everyday Iraqis.  Check it out.)

The following entry is especially disturbing.  Perhaps it's because there's a very human quality in his writing which puts a face on the faceless Iraq citizen as seen from the eyes of a detached international community.

The reader should be aware Salam Pax has written earlier entries which are far less critical of the U.S. occupiers to his city. 

But given the nature of the incident related below, it's hard to imagine any homeowner in a similar situation would be singing the praises of those storming into a private home armed to the tooth.

Salam Pax's writing style is blunt and in the vernacular of ordinary citizens... regardless of country of origin.


:: Friday, August 29, 2003 ::

Our house was searched by the Americans. That happened almost ten days ago. I wasn’t home, but my mother called the next day a bit freaked out.


They came at around 12 midnight they were apparently supposed to do a silent entrance and surprise the criminal Ba’athi cell that was in my parents house, unfortunately for them our front gate does a fair amount of rattling so my brother heard that and opened the door and saw a couple of soldiers climbing on our high black front gate. When the silent entrance tactic failed they resorted to shouty entrance mode. So they shouted at him telling him that he should get down on his knees, which he did. He actually was trying to help them open the door, but whatever. Seconds later around 25 soldiers are in the house my brother, father and mother are outside sitting on the ground and in their asshole-ish ways refused to answer any questions about what was happening. My father was asking them what they were looking so that he can help but as usual since you are an Iraqi addressing an American is no use since he doesn’t even acknowledge you as a human being standing in front of him. They (the Americans) have a medic with them and he seems to be the only sane person amongst them, my brother tells me they were kids all of them. Anyway so my brother and father start talking to the medic and he tells them what this is about. They have been “informed” that there are daily meetings the last five days, Sudanese people come into our house at 9am and stay till 3pm, we are a probable2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division Ansar cell. My father is totally baffled, my brother gets it. These are not Sudanese men they are from Basra the “informer” is stupid enough to forget that there is a sizeable population in Basra who are of African origin. And it is not meetings these 2 (yes only two) guys have here, they are carpenters and they were repairing my mom’s kitchen. Way. To. Go. You have great informers.


While my family is waiting outside something strange happens, one of the soldiers comes out, empties his flask in the garden and start telling the medic to give him his, the medic shoos him away. They all think that the soldier is filling his flask with cold water from the cooler. Later it turns out that he emptied my father’s bottle of Johnny Walker’s into his flask and was probably trying to convince the medic to give him his to empty another bottle. Weird shit.


Aaaaanyway, they are looking thru my father’s papers by now and their genius translator comes to the commander of operation [Pax House Bust] and tells him he has found “suspicious documents”. They are passes to various conferences he has attended and bank cards for old closed accounts he used to have and most alarmingly for the person in charge was an invitation my father received a couple of days earlier to a meeting with General Abi Zaid to which he and others were flown to the Bakr Air Base north of Baghdad. Now the guy who was in charge starts trying to cover his ass and asks a lot of pointless questions, one of the more surreal ones was “so if one of your sons is writing for a foreign newspaper why are you still here?”. After this goes on for a while he gets the family out of the house again, closes the door and stays in there for 15 minutes. Comes out with the 20 galactic troopers and tells my father that he should inside check everything “I don’t want any complains filed later on”, my father just opens the front gate and tells him that if he wants to file a complaint he will thank you and bye-bye.

They came, freaked out my mother, pissed off my father, found nothing and left.
After refusing to get one my father finally conceded to get one of those cards that basically say you are a “collaborator”, and my mother will be spending a couple of weeks at her sister’s in Amman.


:: salam 12:43 AM [+] ::

 


 Salam Pax: Best wishes and a tremendous debt of gratitude to you, sir.

Where is Raed?   http://dearraed.blogspot.com/



Tusen Röster / Artister För Amnesty

(dilba)
alla söker i förvirring efter lösningar och svar
men i slutet av dagen då allting är tyst
är oss själva allt vi har

(stephen)
och det är lätt att ge upp
vad kan en människa göra
när världen ser ut som den gör
och ingen längre tycks höra

(mauro)
(men) tusen röster kan ljuda som en
som den klaraste stjärnan på himmelen
då natten är mörk och vägen känns lång
hör tusen röster, tusen rösters sång

(plura med lisa)
jag vill inte predika
bara sträcka ut en hand
det här är ett steg på vägen
jag gör vad jag kan
och allting bärjar någonstans

(lisa)
och genom vintergatan hörs ett rykte i natt
änglar som viskar att det kommer en dag efter varje natt

(uno)
(men) tusen röster kan ljuda som en
som den klaraste stjärnan på himmelen
då natten är mörk och vägen känns lång
hör tusen röster, tusen rösters sång

(meja)
hör ropen från alla dom som glömdes bort
dom i marginalen och dom som försvann

(mauro)
det finns en sång att sjunga om vi vill
den kan nå hela världen, den hörs överallt, för

(peter & mauro)
tusen röster kan ljuda som en
som den klaraste stjärnan på himmelen
då natten är mörk och vägen känns lång
hör tusen röster, tusen rösters sång

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