The complete Salam Pax interview

The complete Salam Pax interview
: Here’s my translation of the complete Salam Pax interview in the Austrian magazine Format. I put up excerpts a few days ago and this complete version (including the previous excerpt) adds a few interesting points but not a great deal. Stefan Kaltenbrunner, who interviewed the Baghdad blogger (they were roommates when he lived in Vienna some years ago) sent the complete text, auf Deutsch, to blogger Paul Boutin, who put it up. I translated the entirety below. (Click on the “more” to read the whole interview.) As before, my friends will, I’m sure, correct any mistakes I made (I’ve already emailed an appeal).

: Format: Your Internet diary from Baghdad made you tremendously popular in the West. When your website suddenly became inaccessible, many feared for the life of “Salam Pax.” Now that the war is over, how’s it going for you?

: Salam Pax: It goes well. Recently, I’ve been working for an NGO called the Campaign for Innocent Civilian Victims (CICV). Sometimes my friend Raed and I translate for journalists. But mostly I don’t do much. I often simply wander through town, open my eyes, and watch the unbelievable things that happen in Baghdad today.

: Format: For sometime your diary was regarded as a fake. Shortly before the war began, there were rumors that — depending on the version — you alternately worked for the CIA or for the Iraqi secret service…

: Salam Pax: Well, clearly, that’s all correct… No, honestly: It was all dangerous and I simply had good luck. I knew of other Iraqi Internet diaries that were blocked on the net. It was my good luck that in Iraq, no one in the regime or elsewhere seemed to care very much, which surprised me. On the other hand, there are not many Iraqis who have access to the Internet… In addition, I wrote in English. If I had written in Arabic, it probably would have been easier to find out who I am.

: Format: Are you in danger?

: Salam Pax: I believe at the moment that I’m not in direct danger for my life. But I can’t be a hundred percent certain. Therefore, I do not want my last name written or my photo printed.

: Format: How many people knew the identity of Salam Pax during the war?

: Salam Pax: In Iraq, only my brother and my friend Raed, who returned to Baghdad shortly before the war. Out of the country, only a couple of friends in Austria, where I’d studied, and in the USA.

: Format: Your family knew nothing?

: Salam Pax: Oh, no! There’s a difficult history with my parents… During the war, the Arab-language news program of the BBC had a story about my virtual diary. Coincidentally, my father was in the first floor of our house and heard the story on the radio. Then he came down the stairs and told everyone the strange story of this mysterious Internet blogger, who supplied the world with news from Baghdad. (Laughs). At that moment, I sought to keep my composure, but in reality I thought I was going to die… [Check my translation: In diesem Moment versuchte ich die Fassung zu wahren, aber in Wirklichkeit dachte ich, ich mu