I've been around the blogosphere for such long time now, both as a blogger and as a reader. Many were the blogs that got me disgusted with their bloggers' attitude, whether pretentious, unaffected, devious or simply oblivious. Yet in the other hand, there's been a handful of blogs that changed the ennui of having read other blogs into sheer interest in seeing what this or that blogger is unfolding. It's never about the style or the language, it's just about how sincere the blogger is and how much life they put into their writing. This is one blog that I've found simple, sincere and has got all you need to know to sort out life in Iraq.
I've been a keen reader of Zappy's blog for about as long as it had been around, some four months now, one of the most candid, simple and impartial blogs, compared to every other blog around. No headaches in terms of trying to figure what he's talking about, not much time spent on reflecting upon his political orientation and whether he's right, left or even chicken wing. For a person that is interested in a snappy kind of a report that gives an idea about what an average Iraqi is going through, Where Date Palms Grow is probably the blog to read. It says "An everyday account of Baghdad as I see it" on the top, and that's exactly what's in the blog. No deceitful twaddle about how truthful the blog is, no visionary blabber and no whining. Just a quiet report, sometimes bitter and pungent, but generally is as the blog is described.
The most recent post of August 21st, titled Rotten Onions and sweet smelling ministers is one post where Zappy's disdain and frustration is expressed. Quiet and composed as ever, his cynicism is sour, but not quite so to the point where you're more tempted to click "next blog" rather than finishing off the post. Like every other post in the archive, it recounts some of the daily incidents in the life of an average Iraqi. Some of his thoughts are also there, like his wondering:
"I wonder if Mr. Sheristani’s Generator stopped due to lack of Fuel? Or if Mr. Maliki’s Refrigerator went empty? I wonder if they have seen the streets this morning? With tons of rubbish and dug up water pipes the pilgrims dug out due to the extensive heat?"
Only few have asked these questions, and nobody had ever answered them, though the general speculation is that these figures don't go through the same things the average citizen goes through. Zappy also lets out his resentment towards those figures without putting everybody through the torture of reading through an extensive description of how much he hates them, he simply says:
"I wish I could stick those Rotten Onions up Mr. Sheristani’s …" (Fill in the blanks!)
Not much that's said and not much more to be said either. He concludes the post with what his own life looks like in struggle to get any hint of comfort, one that might be slightly better off than the remainder of Iraqis, yet still unable to find relieve:
"I am now a proud owner of three generator units a 8KV/A, a 3KV/A (broken) and a small 950 watt one, adding to that two DC to AC 1KV/A inverters (without batteries) and a member of the elite street generator (“broken” won’t be fixed until diesel fuel goes under the $1 a liter line) and 8 potable water pumps. (Only three work)Only problem is I don’t have enough fuel ;) I am also a member of the Iraqi Insomnia Society (try running every four hours day and night)."
Another post I found interesting was the one before it, August 18th, titled The "Army" Controls the Gas Pumps. It's a first hand recount of a daily torture that people go through in search for fuel. There are rather smallish personal touches into this post that happen to suffice in telling exactly how he feels. This is the opening paraghraph of the post:
"When I came back home from my “screwed up” Vacation I was searching for fuel in the black market, the guy selling the fuel was selling in 6 times the official price not 10 meters away from the pump station, when I asked him why are you selling so high he told me what’s the matter with you? Don’t you know that the Army controls the petrol stations?, because I was in no mood to argue with such a “low life” call me a Bourgeoisie I don’t care, and because the sweat was oozing into every opening of my body well I left angry."
These bits like "my 'screwed up' vacation" and the closing of the paragraph do the answering incase anybody is wondering how he's been feeling lately, thankfully no life-sucks kind of complaints and no wailing. He simply explains the suffering of Iraqis without getting too emotional, and his reaction towards these fact simply denies any possibility of him being unaffected:
"Today after nearly four weeks “I think”, I went to the same lowlife and asked him the same question “the price of fuel today in Baghdad is $1.5 per liter, an average family “theoretically” needs about 40 liters a day for their generators in heats exceeding 49 Celsius “about 120 Fahrenheit” that’s $60 a day. People do not have such money."
As simple, yet as painful as reality can get. Why add too much reflection when truth is all that it takes to stir feelings?
I could have said that the entire blog is like that, but every now and then, Zappy does give himself a break and does further than just recounting what life looks like, but what his thoughts are like as well.
The April 13th post titled Abduction is one post where his own experiences and feelings are on display. A must-read for those who had forgotten what the face of life there looked like, myself included. No more to be said by me, for all the commenting that I can do would be quoting Zappy:
"I love democracy, I always think that the constitution is the most important document of rule there is, but the Human Life is more important than all..."
There's a great difference between giving a calm description of a hectic life, and between getting all mouthy while doing that. Sometimes, horrible things are more believable if they're told simply instead of emphasizing on them, mixing the naked truth with feelings. This is one blog that is simple, his feelings and reflections are told briefly yet eloquently. Nobody can claim that he's unaffected or dishonest, because that simplicity of his is transparent.