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I have been an avid reader of Iraqi blogs since 2004.  Throughout this long war, I have made it a point to read a variety of Iraqi blogs, even the hack blog Iraq the Model.  What has been stunning, and my main reason to not believe a damned word the Bush administration has said about Iraq, was how one by one, they all left Iraq.  It is also my speculation that even Mohammed and Omar of ITM, who will be cheerleaders for the occupation forever and always, have moved to a more secure place, perhaps the Green Zone, after a member of their family (a doctor) was assassinated.  So now today, we learn that the legendary Riverbend, is leaving, too.  Her post corroborates what I have read elsewhere of the horrible situation in Baghdad, and why it is simply too high a gamble on your life to stay.

Riverbend today:

Which is the wall the current Iraqi government is building (with the support and guidance of the Americans). It's a wall that is intended to separate and isolate what is now considered the largest 'Sunni' area in Baghdad- let no one say the Americans are not building anything. According to plans the Iraqi puppets and Americans cooked up, it will 'protect' A'adhamiya, a residential/mercantile area that the current Iraqi government and their death squads couldn't empty of Sunnis.

The wall, of course, will protect no one.

This Sunni neighborhood happened to have been the home of many Iraqi bloggers who became friends before they all split up, moving out due to the deteriorating security situation.  I do not know whether Riverbend lived there, but Zeyad, his brother Nabil (who still lives there now -- more on that shortly), and The Kid lived in this neighborhood, for which I would describe all of these bloggers as Sunni, moderate, modern, and even pro-American, pro-invasion at the beginning of the war.  It has been a very painful journey for them to come to the conclusion that they were mistaken to support the war, and they have paid a dear price in friends and family being killed or wounded.  Zeyad now attends college in New York City, The Kid is in Amman, Jordan, and Nabil is trying desperately to get a visa to New Zealand, so that he can leave Iraq once and for all.  Although Nabil does not state it, I have pieced together that the Wall is being built around his neighborhood.  That would lend some to believe that this neighborhood, what with the Americans going so far as building a wall, would be safe and free of the insurgency.  Such an assumption is, of course, dead wrong (in Nabil's words):

Lately in my neighbourhood, violence is progressed and turned into a new orientation, where the target now is the innocent people living
within the same neighbourhood (meaning: sunni people).

Yesterday, I was in a shop in front of my house owned by a friend of
mine, its a mini-market which sells food, drinks and ciggarettes.  Recently me and some friends started to meet in that shop, and have
some drinks, play dominos and chat exchange news.We were sitting there playing domino and laughing on each other, then a friend of ours came into the shop and said "Come on stop playing", and told me to go to my house because I was wearing a short. We asked why??He said "Don't you know whats happening??" as he was hesitative and afraid to speak, we asked him again to tell us whats wrong and he started to explain to us.
He said,Alqaida is now in control of the neighbourhood, and they're doing horrible things to the innocent people of the neighbourhood, he said that a few minutes before he came to the shop, they killed a guy in front of him because he was smoking in the street, and that he heard that Alqaida shot a car of a bride and a groom because they were celebrating in the street and playing music.I asked him why are you telling me to go to my house, he said because you're wearing a short, I said "so f.... what??", he said its prohibited to wear such clothes and that if they see you they would kill you ...

...

now I think that,ITS TIME TO LEAVE THIS SHIT HOLE COUNTRY, fuck Alqaida, fuck extremists, fuck Islam along with anyone who would kill innocent people just because they don't follow their fucked up rules.

And of course thanks to George Bush and his rat Almaliki for bringing us to this situation.

World War against terrorism, what a joke.

That's right -- you read that correctly.  The surge and The Wall has brought al Qaeda to A'adhamiya, the hardcore types who are now terrorizing the caged in neighborhood.  Go to this link to see pictures of al Qaeda graffiti that Nabil took in his neighborhood.  As I said, I do not know that Riverbend lived in this neighborhood, but it is telling that she and her family have chosen this moment to leave Iraq.  Riverbend:

On a personal note, we've finally decided to leave. I guess I've known we would be leaving for a while now. We discussed it as a family dozens of times. At first, someone would suggest it tentatively because, it was just a preposterous idea- leaving ones home and extended family- leaving ones country- and to what? To where?

...

So we've been busy. Busy trying to decide what part of our lives to leave behind. Which memories are dispensable? We, like many Iraqis, are not the classic refugees- the ones with only the clothes on their backs and no choice. We are choosing to leave because the other option is simply a continuation of what has been one long nightmare- stay and wait and try to survive.

There is no doubt in my mind that these Iraqi bloggers care more about Iraq than your typical man on the street.  They cared so much that, like us, they felt compelled to start a blog and write about it.  When this crowd has given up, and are now going to "up and leave", then it is not much of a leap to realize that the Iraqis themselves have conceded that their country is gone, and they now need to find a new one to live in.  It is with a heavy heart that I bring you this news, of a country that had such a glorious history has now imploded, in large part, because of my own country's recklessness, ignorance, and incompetence.  And that doesn't even include the immorality of invading the country in the first place.

Good luck, Riverbend, and may you be able to make your new country a home.  And dare I hope that one day you can return to Iraq, where fear, death, and destruction is a thing of the past, and you can rebuild.

Originally posted to beachmom on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 10:42 AM PDT.

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