Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Saturday, 3 November 2007

Iraqi bloggers at home and abroad

Not many of the people who were blogging in English from inside Iraq appear to be still there. Here's a snapshot of some of them - and of one who has left.

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Mohammed's blog image

Mohammed is a 25 year-old dentist in Baghdad. In the first of two extracts, his experiences seem to support the latest figures suggesting a recent fall in the number of violent deaths in Iraq.

19 October 2007:

At the beginning of the second week of this month, the security situation seems to be a bit better - fewer explosions, kidnappings and assassinations.

I was very happy for that and I was so naive to think that the government and the troops took control and started to defeat the terrorism.

But I realised that it's just a break to change plans and allies...

Me and some work colleagues talked about the situation and afterwards I reached the [following] conclusion.

The struggle for power is between the same sects...

Three days ago the Ba'ath party distributed fliers of their new political statement in [Baghdad's Sunni neighbourhood of] Adhamiya.

The bottom line of it is that they want to end the sectarian violence, get the occupation out, retrieve the control of oil and stop the killing of innocents.

Yesterday I heard that al-Qaeda also distributed fliers in Adhamiya, saying they wanted the best for the people, and end to the sectarian violence and getting life back to normal.

They told shop owners to open their shops again and said they would protect them. They even mentioned that Shias shouldn't be afraid of anything if they had done nothing bad.

It's a struggle for power and control between the Ba'ath party, al-Qaeda and the Salvation Council, each one trying to prove they are better than the others, were they in charge.

We have to wait and see what will happen.

25 September 2007:

Me and my wife were watching movies a few days ago and I wanted to make us some tea.

I went to the kitchen and was filling the kettle from the tap water ... I decided to fill a glass so I could see it.

What a shock. I immediately brought the camera and took the picture and video.

Is this drinking water or is it rice water? What are those floating things? I know about the cholera, I know it might be epidemic in Baghdad but I'd be so lucky if this water only contained cholera bacteria!

How could they give us this water? Why should I respect, obey or even recognise my government if they are not providing us with electricity, water, or even security?

Each Iraqi house should be a country and have a flag and its own government. I depend on myself for electricity, water and even security. What a farce.

Sunshine is a 15-year-old girl in Mosul, northern Iraq. Violence dominates every moment, even recent Eid celebrations.

19 October 2007

On the first day of Eid, I woke up early and congratulated my family members. Then we wore our new clothes, got ready to go out and opened all the windows.

Before we went out an explosion happened with no damages, thank God.

Sunshine's Eid feast

It was so loud I thought it was in the neighbourhood, but it was a few neighbourhoods away.

We reached my dad's uncle's house - all of his children, grandchildren, and even grandchildren's kids attended!

At about 1330, lunch was ready. My dad's uncle's wife made delicious Iraqi dishes - there was dolma, biryani, bamya, kabab, chicken, pickles and salad.

The lunch was awesome.

Then after lunch the subjects we talked about turned to be about the Iraqi situation and horrifying stories.

I couldn't sleep well at night and had many nightmares about people burning alive.

Aunt Najma's blog image

"Aunt Najma" is also in Mosul. She is a 19-year-old high-flying engineering student. Her latest posting is not typical of her normally chirpy style.

26 October 2007:

Breathing slowly. In and out. That's what I have to do to keep myself from crying, and stay alive.

I'm more depressed than I've ever been in the last year I think. It's weird. I thought going to college would be all I needed.

Most of the lecturers this year are very educated, mostly professors with PhDs. I feel stupid.

Is it possible that I have forgotten so much of what I've studied before, or is it that my brain needs to be reactivated? I am so not used to keeping silent and having no answers.

I'm sick of talking about the bad situation. I just hate the mornings, there's always shooting and many explosions.

I always have doubts that I'll be able to make it to college - the roads are rarely open.

We're really strangers in our country

I'm so very, very depressed. I almost cry every time people ask me why I look so sad. I can't even see the full half of the glass I used to cling to.

My cousin drove me home the other day - building after building, destroyed, burnt. Black signs announcing deaths. Smoke from a new explosion. We had to stop a few times to clear the road for the police or the Americans.

I asked my cousin about a destroyed building I hadn't seen before. He said it was months ago. I was shocked. I didn't ask about the ones that followed.

We're really strangers in our country... oh well, excuse me, I don't think "our" should be used anymore. I'm not sure whose country it is, but it's not mine for sure.

Riverbend is perhaps the best-known Iraqi blogger. She and her family left Iraq over the summer for Syria. In her latest blog, she describes coming to terms with her refugee status.

22 October 2007:

The first weeks here were something of a cultural shock. It has taken me these last three months to work away certain habits I'd acquired in Iraq after the war.

It's funny how you learn to act in a certain way and don't even know you're doing strange things - like avoiding people's eyes in the street or crazily murmuring prayers to yourself when stuck in traffic.

It took me at least three weeks to teach myself to walk properly again - with head lifted, not constantly looking behind me.

It is estimated that there are at least 1.5 million Iraqis in Syria today. I believe it. Walking down the streets of Damascus, you can hear the Iraqi accent everywhere.

We live in an apartment building where two other Iraqis are renting.

For the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003

The people in the floor above us are a Christian family from northern Iraq who got chased out of their village by [Kurdish fighters] peshmerga.

The family on our floor is a Kurdish family who lost their home in Baghdad to militias and were waiting for immigration to Sweden or Switzerland or some such European refugee haven.

The first evening we arrived, exhausted, dragging suitcases behind us, morale a little bit bruised, the Kurdish family sent over their representative - a nine-year-old boy missing two front teeth, holding a lopsided cake.

"We're Abu Mohammed's house - across from you - mama says if you need anything, just ask - this is our number.

"Abu Dalia's family live upstairs, this is their number. We're all Iraqi, too... welcome to the building."

I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003.

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