Omar and Mohammed meet Howie

Omar and Mohammed meet Howie

: Howard Kurtz interviews Iraqi bloggers Omar and Mohammed in the Washington Post today. To those who say that they saw only the right-wing on their American visit, note that they fearlessly faced the supposedly liberal media at the Washington Post and at NPR’s WNYC. (I should add that I made the introductions for both interviews.)

“People outside Iraq are more worried than the Iraqis themselves,” says Mohammed.

Still, given the level of violence, aren’t they worried about using their real names on a provocative blog?

“We decided not to be afraid anymore,” Omar says. “We’re tired of being afraid.”

  • johnr

    Give me a break. Since when is Howard Kurtz the liberal media?

  • margaretl

    What is going on with Ali?

  • http://hubris.typepad.com Hubris

    I believe Oliver Willis is on vacation, so I’ll insert a comment for him:
    “Yeah, but they didn’t face Juan Cole, did they? And have they faced the fact that they’re outside of the Iraqi mainstream? And Jeff, how can you call yourself a Democrat when I disagree with your position on several issues? You should just hang around with all those other people who disagree with me, and who, therefore, are wrong.”

  • tb

    I get a little tired of the liberal media squeal myself. Let it go. As for Omar and Ali I am sure they are enjoying their 15 minutes, I say whole heartedly and in the spirit of Christmas, I hope it lasts longer than that and that Iraq prospers. For a reality check though how about an example from our presidents press conference, I don’t think anyone would label Bush the liberal media.
    Money quote “When the heat got on, they left the battlefield – that is unacceptable,” he said. “We are under no illusion that this Iraqi force is not ready to fight in toto,”
    Its a typical garbled Bush quote, but you get the idea. As I said in an earlier post on the subject, the U.S. is carrying all the water. Any illusions to the contrary are just that, llusions.

  • David T

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2110976/
    “Troubling and mysterious development at the Iraq the Model blog. One of the three blogging brothers–Ali, the one who hasn’t been touring the U.S.–appears to have quit, citing “the act of some Americans that made me feel I’m on the wrong side here.” He goes on to say “I will expose these people in public very soon and I won’t lack the mean to do this.” … Link via Sullivan, who makes a vague-but-possible connection to American torture and abuse in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. Whatever the cause, there are indications this was something that’s been in the works since before Ali’s brothers left for their U.S. visit. A week ago Ali wrote:
    I was very excited to meet our friends that we met through this blog, and I wanted to be able to say “Thank you America” in America, but I decided few days before the trip not to go (for reasons that I’ll discuss in the future, probably). However, my invitation was cancelled even before I tell the people who set up the trip about my decision. So I asked Mohammed and Omar to go ahead, as I thought it might be good for our project “Friends of Democracy” and Iraq. [Emphasis added]
    Stay tuned. … Pressure on: Roger Simon to tell us what this is all about. …”
    Or maybe even Jeff Jarvis? or Howard Kurtz? I mean it seems that some fans of Iraq the Model are doing their best to ignore the elephant in the room…

  • Angus Jung

    “Omar and Mohammed meet Howie”
    Jeff, you tease! Based on your headline, I was hoping they got to be in a farting contest with a blind midget stripper or something.

  • http://www.hfienberg.com/kesher/ Yehudit

    “some fans of Iraq the Model are doing their best to ignore the elephant in the room…”
    I read that completely differently than you and Sullivan. I read it as “I am tired of being vilified by the Juan Cole types, and I have even more dirt on them than I already put out.” I expect an expose by Ali that Cole is funneling money to the insurgents or something.
    If Ali took down Cole and ilk point by painstaking point, I can’t see that he is now going to switch to their side.

  • Karl (not Karl)

    Ali’s post can be read either way — a hazard of blogging in a second language, I suppose. But assuming for the sake of argument that Sullivan’s take is correct, it would not bother me. Free elections and free speech on blogs ought to encompass a diversity of opinion.

  • Qentin

    Yehudint, you’re right on message, as usual, mercilessly.
    Any ambiguity in Ali’s last (most recent?) message is most likely not due to his writing in a second language, Karl. No, it is intentional and, you might say, cultural, a Middle Eastern mixture of politeness, pointedness and oblique reference.
    I’ve been prowling the blogs all day to find out who will first spill the beans about the mystery surrounding iraqthemodel, and I’ve been wasting my time. Why have Omar and Mohammed remained silent the whole time they’ve been in the U.S.? They can post as easily from the U.S. as from Iraq, or am I wrong? I can’t believe they don’t have the time or the energy. Ali’s whole account of his cancelled invitation and decision to stay in Iraq was right from the beginning incomplete and, I would say, almost provocative.

  • http://eclectchap.blogspot.com button

    Such intrigue– this could turn into a hit Ramadan TV mini-series…
    Will Ali get caught in the closet with the belly-dancer he hired for his brother Omar’s birthday party while in his underwear? And how will he explain this deplorable lapse of sensible judgement?
    When Ali mysteriously disappears, will we discover in the next episode that he has eloped with Nancy from a Seattle Natural Coffee Growers Alliance hippie commune and that she is really a moonlighting heiress whose Argentinian father is an escaped Nazi war criminal funding a coup in Iraq?
    Stay tuned…
    ;-)

  • Quentin

    Yes, stay tuned. You might end up seeing something even more banal.

  • Trinity

    I’m not a conservative but before ya’ll attack I also read Iraq The Model. I read there because I want a well rounded view from the Iraqi people and Iraq The Model gives just that. I hope that at some time in the future we’ll understand the ambiguity of Ali’s last post. I wish Omar and Mohammed a wonderful visit in our country. Ali if you’re reading I wish only the best for you too.
    Thanks Jeff…….for keeping us updated.

  • Angus Jung

    “I’ve been prowling the blogs all day to find out who will first spill the beans about the mystery surrounding iraqthemodel, and I’ve been wasting my time.”
    So start your own blog and break the story. Show ‘em how it’s done!

  • Karl (not Karl)

    Qentin,
    “Any ambiguity in Ali’s last (most recent?) message is most likely not due to his writing in a second language, Karl. No, it is intentional and, you might say, cultural, a Middle Eastern mixture of politeness, pointedness and oblique reference.”
    The key words there are “most likely,” but you then go on to assert that it’s intentional. It may be a cultural thing; Japan is much the same way in this regard. But having read Ali’s posts, it’s pretty clear to me that he does not always write clearly, even when he’s not being tactful. And I’m not a mindreader, so I won’t pretend to know what Ali’s intent was.
    As for the interpretation of what Ali wrote, if I had to bet, I would bet that Sullivan’s take is closer to correct. But as I wrote earlier, if you support a free press in Iraq, it shouldn’t matter whether Ali has a difference of opinion with Mohammed and Omar. Ali’s post suggests that he may start his own blog, which is all to the good.
    As for whether Mohammed and Omar had the time and energy to blog from the U.S., it looked to me like their schedule was fairly busy — flying in from Iraq, visiting both coasts, doing multiple events. I can’t speak for them, but I know I would be pretty jet-lagged. Even if they were pumped with excitement, it could easily serve to throw off their internal clocks. Of course, Jeff would know more about this point, as he was there for some of their meetings.
    In any event, I doubt there is anything of significance to be attributed to their lack of posting while in the U.S. To the degree that Ali’s post suggests a difference of opinion with Mohammed and Omar, it would also have to suggest that Mohammed and Omar continue to hold their previously posted opinions.

  • Quentin

    Karl,
    I’m probably reading too much into things, looking for intrique where it doesn’t exist. I meant to say ‘not intentional’, sorry about my sloppiness. Your right, I contradicted myself — unintentionally. I would definitely expect some disagreement between the brothers. In fact I asked about this in one of my posts on iraqthemodel: no answer. Yet it is curious that neither Omar nor Mohammed makes even a one-sentence statement to ensure the continued credibility of their own blog.

  • Karl

    Qentin,
    The statement you were looking for was posted today — as you probably already noticed. Sometimes, I think that the internet’s ability to deliver information so quickly has intensified our general desire for instant gratification.