Iraqi-based blog noted in media March 25, 2003 8:12 PM   Subscribe

Reuters has taken notice of Dear Raed, the Iraqi-based weblog mentioned occasionally on MeFi.
posted by XQUZYPHYR to MetaFilter-Related at 8:12 PM (39 comments total)

and this has to do with metafilter because...? because the yahoo page also has ads on it?
posted by crunchland at 8:31 PM on March 25, 2003


So has the New Yorker and the NYT (previously), as well as recent mentions on CNN and CBC Radio -- all of which has more than one blogger concerned about his safety.

For the record, how Where Is Raed? was originally "discovered" {on Eatonweb!} and his closest blog friend discusses his credibility.
posted by dhartung at 8:56 PM on March 25, 2003


While this thread is here (it's not exactly mefi-related, more of a blogroots thing if you ask me), what do you all think about the credibility of the author? Do you think the person is really in Baghdad?

I'm totally jaded after Kaycee and a couple other hoaxes, and though his story sounds like it's on the up and up, there are a couple red flags that make me still want to wait until there is actual proof.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:07 PM on March 25, 2003


what are the red flags?

Or is it one of those if you told me, you'd have to... kinda things?
posted by soyjoy at 9:11 PM on March 25, 2003


I thought it was an interesting article that didn't just mention the blog, but was actually about the blog, and covered by a large agency like Reuters at that. As for crunchland's civil and gloriously politely-toned question, I knew only about this blog through said interest on MeFi. I felt that having been linked to, and been an FPP already, it was more suited as a Mefi-related mention than a front page post on the blue.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:17 PM on March 25, 2003


all of which has more than one blogger concerned about his safety.

Was anybody else specifically alarmed when the New Yorker article starts giving out detailed specifics of "Salam's" life? I almost thought it was proof the whole thing was a hoax, since no one would so carelessly expose their "anonymous" subject like that - but the writer seems clueless enough about the Internet (as if Iraq could somehow shut down blogspot.com?) that I'm wondering if it was just really bad judgment.
posted by soyjoy at 9:28 PM on March 25, 2003


Do you think the person is really in Baghdad?

One hopes he/she is not

I'd say no, but Kaycee ruined it all for me, so maybe I'm too cynical about such things
posted by matteo at 9:29 PM on March 25, 2003


what are the red flags?

during the kaycee thing, someone pointed to a list of something like "things that indicate something you might be reading online are not true." I think it was written years back, after a bunch of hoaxes hit the diary community when they were popular (like 1995-1997).

If I remember correctly, two of the key points were that these sites often show up on anonymous community sites like tripod, geocities, or in this case: blogspot. The other red flag is that often a hoax site relies on one person "posting emailed updates" for another. This method is used to divert attention from questioning the author or the updates directly. In the kaycee thing, we trusted that Randall, the big white guy living in hong kong was real and his credibility was used by Debbie for the Kaycee thing. I've seen it happen with other sites too.

Until I see some hard evidence, I can't believe completely that raed/salam/whoever is really in Iraq right now. In many ways, I really hope it's true (though it is very dangerous for the author if true, especially as we march into baghdad), because it's the only independent voice reporting anything about the war. Every single embedded journalist is just that - an embedded journalist working for a major publication. I wonder what it's really like, how it effects citizens, etc, and he/she is our only voice over there (if true).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:40 PM on March 25, 2003


I seem to recall some discussion of whether Laurie Garrett was a real person or whether she'd been to Davos being questioned by a number of people with even MidaMulligan , our one member who can claim to have gone to Davos, was less than 100% convinced. And yet she turned out to be for real. Or something similar. Since the invasion began, his entries certainly have far more versimilitude than Garrett's breathless inanities. So you wonder.He could be another brain in a vat like quonsar but I tend to think he is who he says he is.
posted by y2karl at 9:51 PM on March 25, 2003


I have just received an e-mail from the author who calls himself "Salam Pax."

He says: Get a life.
posted by soyjoy at 9:58 PM on March 25, 2003


(thanks, matt)
posted by soyjoy at 9:58 PM on March 25, 2003


you'd think he could take a picture of a newspaper or something and post it. Or meet with one of the journalists still in Baghdad, but that's much more dangerous for him.
posted by Vidiot at 10:53 PM on March 25, 2003


especially as we march into baghdad

You're marching into Baghdad??
posted by hama7 at 12:07 AM on March 26, 2003


real or not?
posted by zerofoks at 2:35 AM on March 26, 2003


Plot thickens?

Dear Raed now appears to be down...
posted by dmt at 6:15 AM on March 26, 2003


Well, obviously: If Raed is not for real, Reuters and some other heavy-hitters have egg on their faces. Lotsa egg.
Where the heck does that 'egg' phrase come from?
posted by Shane at 6:36 AM on March 26, 2003


I looked at his stuff again and the complete lack of cultural references now leans me towards brain in vat, not guy in Baghdad. If he is for real, he never mentions eating, holidays or any other cultural minutiae or practice. That seems hinky.
posted by y2karl at 10:38 AM on March 26, 2003


The New Face Of Journalism
posted by homunculus at 11:39 AM on March 26, 2003


you'd think he could take a picture of a newspaper or something and post it.

That assumes he actually cares whether we believe him or not, and from the three or four comments he's made on the subject it does not seem to be a high priority.

If he is for real, he never mentions eating, holidays or any other cultural minutiae or practice.

Yes, he does - read further. Check out his March 13th entry.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:50 AM on March 26, 2003


I've read enough of his archives to be convinced he's for real. He's just too complex of a character to be made up, and the writing is too heartfelt to be a pack of lies. He's also a good writer and blogger and an all-around interesting guy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for him, as are a lot of people.

It looks like the New Yorker story was online on Sunday/Monday but then taken down. Perhaps someone realized it might endanger him. (This is blatant speculation.)
posted by davidfg at 12:31 PM on March 26, 2003


I'm a very skeptical person (and never believed in Kaycee), but I'm reasonably convinced "Salam" is who he says he is and where he says he is. Diane has known him for a long time and has checked on what she could, and I'm willing to take her word that he checks out. Also, read the damn blog. Does it really sound like publicity hound/CIA plant/random bullshit to you? It's a guy blogging, who happens to be in Baghdad. If you want to ignore him, it's your loss.
posted by languagehat at 12:58 PM on March 26, 2003


He was also mentioned just now on "The World" on WNYC (public radio) in New York. And recently on my site, for what it's worth.
posted by lackutrol at 1:01 PM on March 26, 2003


Yes, he does - read further. Check out his March 13th entry.
Mars Saxman, before the war started read his blog as it was posted a week prior to the war; the post you're referring too decided the young man was open minded. That was my selling point. When Meta was down, found his site everywhere on the net; now no more updates. Fearing now his site is down for unpleasant reasons.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:18 PM on March 26, 2003


Does it really sound like publicity hound/CIA plant/random bullshit to you? It's a guy blogging, who happens to be in Baghdad. If you want to ignore him, it's your loss.

I don't think he's a plant. I don't ignore the site because of it, I read the guy's site, I'm just worried when everyone links to the sole independent voice of iraq and it turns out to not be true. People pointed at Kaycee's site for a year, talking at length about how she was the new voice of cancer victims and how they had chatted on the phone with her for hours every week. It's not impossible to fake a blog like this, though I do think his story is probably real, it's just that many things that keep him safe and alive also are used by people out to prank others and I'm going to remain a tiny bit skeptical until all is proven (which I assume is when war is over probably, but then again, the guy could become a Salman Rushdie type that fears for his life forever).

Worst case scenario, maybe he's just some kid in the mid-east somewhere that isn't baghdad that is fictionalizing a little bit about what it might be like in the actual city.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:23 PM on March 26, 2003



41L
;?of any of our blogs are 100% real? I mean seriously. There's plenty of stuff that I don't write about because I don't want my mom reading it.

The guy sounds real. In the on line world where nobody knows you're a dog, well, that's good as for me.
posted by willnot at 1:33 PM on March 26, 2003


what just happend with my entry? I typed How may of not 41L [break] ;?
posted by willnot at 1:35 PM on March 26, 2003


The fact that the New Yorker has taken their story offline (doubtlessly after reading this), if nothing else, torpedoes one of my "possible hoax" theories. Doesn't prove he's real, but at least that they truly believe it.
posted by soyjoy at 1:38 PM on March 26, 2003


Soyjoy: The story was apparently up only briefly and was gone by the time I tried to read it on Monday afternoon. I don't know if the magazine always posts all of its "Talk of the Town" pieces.
posted by davidfg at 1:51 PM on March 26, 2003


Dear_Raed uses blogrolling and is apparently blowing the service's bandwidth through the roof.
posted by me3dia at 2:33 PM on March 26, 2003


some kid in the mid-east somewhere that isn't baghdad that is fictionalizing a little bit

His story on the oil being burned in trenches around Baghdad, read it first on his site this before any news about it; tried to even google it to figure out the story better. But knowing the truth in this day and age it is hard to know for sure.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:56 PM on March 26, 2003


That site never worked for me, although I may have spotted it a day or two late. Has anyone actually got it through in the last couple of days, or is this just a bandwidth/availability problem for me?
posted by walrus at 3:17 PM on March 26, 2003


That site never worked for me
Visited 4 times today with no problem, but not updated in the last couple of days either.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:09 PM on March 26, 2003


That site never worked for me

Some browsers can't deal with the underscore in the URL. I guess there is a mirror here which you may have more luck with.
posted by willnot at 4:42 PM on March 26, 2003


The Guardian thought it was real enough to post three whole pages of it the other day ...
posted by feelinglistless at 5:03 PM on March 26, 2003


Antena 1, a private television in Romania which has national coverage, devoted about 7 minutes of the 7 p.m. news (main news broadcast of the day — this is prime time in Romania) to his blog, reading most of his latest entry.

As the whole newscast lasts 60 minutes, having almost 9% percent of the newscast dedicated to a potentially fictitious blog is an accomplishment, I think.
posted by Masi at 12:57 AM on March 27, 2003


Hasn't posted since Monday. Understandable really. Assuming he is real, how do you think he feels about all this attention? For that matter I hope we haven't all put his life in jeopardy with all this attention ...
posted by feelinglistless at 2:31 PM on March 27, 2003


As lackutrol mentioned, the blog was featured on The World last night (collective of BBC, PRI and NPR), and they mentioned he was advised to "cool off," though for what reason or by whom specifically I don't know. Odd, if they knew he was advised "by friends" to cool off, one would think that might back up the legitimacy of the site, i.e. where did these leads come from.
posted by bluedaniel at 3:23 PM on March 27, 2003


Well, check out his links, then--the Wacky Iraqi is quite the card, Moorish Girl is well spoken and then there's Turbanhead--Your daily allowance of penisary contact*.

*Not recommended for right--or left, on occasion--hands of the 82nd Couchborne. Those are already way way past the daily allowance.
posted by y2karl at 8:51 PM on March 27, 2003


Some browsers can't deal with the underscore in the URL.

Thanks willnot. I'm using Mozilla 1.3 and IE 5.5 on this machine. For additional points, what the hell browser does support underscores in URLs, and if those two don't, then aren't underscores in URLs a slightly silly idea?
posted by walrus at 7:55 AM on March 28, 2003


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