Work Title: Baghdad Burning II: More Girl Blog from Iraq
Work Author(s): Riverbend
Feminist Press at CUNY
224 pages, Softcover $14.95
Reviewer: Chris Arvidson
While world leaders debate and the official media embed, the author, a blogger in Baghdad, continues her keen reporting on what passes for everyday life in Iraq. In the midst of a foreign occupation and a rising and divisive religious tide, she makes incisive observations: "I don't think anyone imagined three years ago that things could be quite this bad today." The book picks up her blog in October 2004, and is organized chronologically through March 2006.
"Riverbend" is a pen name referring to the banner of her blog: "I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend." It is not safe for her identity to be widely known. A talented writer, she comfortably chronicles her personal experiences, contrasting the "official" information. She describes abducted American reporter Jill Carroll's slain interpreter, a friend and neighborhood music store owner: "His passion was music ... he was a Christian from Basrah with a wife and children ... he loved Pink Floyd." Commenting on the absurd local broadcasting of American television (Jeopardy and Days of Our Lives) during the few hours of electricity, or lamenting the world's fascination with reality shows ("I have a suggestion of my own for a reality show. Take 15 Bush supporters and throw them in a house in the suburbs of, say, Fallujah for at least 14 days"), Riverbend ably brings the contemporary world into the context of her wartime world.
Riverbend is a Muslim whose middle-class Baghdad family and...