A week in Baghdad

My blogging friend Zeyad writes a wonderful piece for the Washington Post detailing a week in his life in Baghdad. This is a perspective we simply cannot get in hard-news dispatches from the Green Zone. This is the value of hearing from citizens, the world around.

When I met Zeyad now almost three years ago via blogging, it wasn’t long before I told him that he should give up dentistry and become a writer, a journalist. That’s truer today than ever. He wrote for The New York Times online and now for the Washington Post. An excerpt that perfectly and casually presents the irony of watching action flicks while living in an action flick and listening to heavy metal while heavy metal is flying around:

I tried to stay interested in the Steven Seagal action flick on TV, but my focus kept shifting to the occasional rumble of mortar shells outside. After a while I went upstairs to use the Internet.

Just as I set foot in my room, an intense barrage of gunfire erupted on our street. Not good. My cell phone was ringing; it was a friend who lives down our street. “It’s an American patrol,” he al most whispered. “I can see Humvees from where I am. And it looks like they have Iraqi police with them.”

What is going on?

“Keep your head down for God’s sake. We’ll talk later.”

I went to check on my younger brother, Nabil. He was playing his guitar to a Metallica tune, oblivious to his surroundings. His room has a better view, but it’s not wise to stick one’s head out of a window when Americans are nearby. The street was dark enough, but everyone knows they have night vision goggles.