] appears for the first time in his post “First Blog
” on the 24th, nice and original hey? [olivebranch] introduces himself as an 18year old from Perth, Western Australia (the most isolated city in the entire world?), a writer, poet and lazy bastard who only expects to post to the blog once a week.
Inspired by Riverbend
and the Jarrar family [olivebranch] is quickly sucked into the Iraqi blogosphere and finds himself spending increasingly large amounts of time finding and reading new Iraqi blogs.
It was only a matter of days after starting the blog that I was accepted into university, and Olive Branch Optimism almost immediately became well defined in the goals and issues it deals with.
Iraq was number 1 on the agenda despite interests in many subjects, the Iraqi blogosphere was captivating and stories from within Iraq dominate the agenda in the first month including this excellent post, an with an excerpt from Zeyad
’s (whoops, don’t click that link!) “Healing Iraq
” (ironically it was his last post before I huge break from this blog): “An OliveBranch university adventure
The post is about Mehdi militiamen bashing students to death for not wearing Hijab, this is an extreme case of abuse of power by al-Sadr’s minions, and is shockingly an accurate portrayal of the kind of daily events happening under SCIRI’s Badr Militia, leaders of Iraq’s current government.
The month ends with posts about Iraq’s Hospitals
and some Noam Chomsky
In the beginning of may I discovered Aunt Najma’s blog, “A Star From Mosul
” and immediately got stuck right into reading the archives. I posted a current post from Najma at the time, a concerning post about car bomb explosion near her school, and deaths of others in her neighborhood.
I began to wonder how people my age cope in such situations. I began to feel a real sense of closeness to Najma and Riverbend almost immediately, for they both post with real emotion.. (ADD EXAMPLE POSTS HERE LATER)
I thought it suiting to post my email to John Howard
(Aussie prime minister), written before the invasion in 2003 when I felt I had no way to reach the politicians. I received a robot reply to the email which was full of my heart, full enough in fact to extract a poem from and put it in here. (edited//improved version)
Dear PM//Hey Johnny
Your futures now your future is here,
our future is coming and for it we fear.
The war and death and children’s screams,
its not the future in our dreams…
You brought this war and the pain,
our lost dream future it's you I blame.
Had you spent just one day with me,
you'd have seen our choice, heard our plea.
And maybe then after you could see,
in your hands is our chance to be free.
Then the choice we could leave to thee,
in your hands is our lives war-free.
We had no choice we had no say,
but we're the ones the ones who’ll pay.
A future of war our lives now grey,
the pain and hurt is your fault today.
Excellent isn’t it? That’s how I felt as a 16year old who couldn’t say a fucking thing without getting a “You’re too young to understand” or “what great youthful optimism, you’ll understand one day”.
Isn’t that just patronizing?
Anyway, after this there is a great post inspired by many of Riverbend
’s quotes, here is a sample poem from the post “A Little Bit of Inspiration
(Inspired by Riverbend)
A man sits in his office at home,
Then the front door gets blown away.
House windows shattered duct-tape and all,
glass still ricocheting from wall to wall.
He hears a scream and runs to see,
his son so barely standing.
His eyes so blank; barely there at all...
"I was watching T.V and.... and I saw a jeep and..""And so I run to find mother""when I left the room, and I turned around...and then.. then it.. It was blown away..."
The boy broke down and cried,
a real man though he was inside.
He was shattered to the basics;
he had just so nearly died.
The seat in which he had been sat,
now pressed against the wall.
Now ripped and torn enough to ensure,
to paranoia their brains will fall.
Imagine trying not to scream,
when you’re picking out the shards of glass,
and though thanking god he did not die;
the thought strays past and you break down,
what if the T.V had been turned on?
What if it happens again?
And, what if we're not so lucky this time, and well,I really don't want to say....
Thank you god, thank you mother; you saved the day.
By [olivebranch] edited 16/1/2006
Now you may understand why I love their writing, or at least what I say about feeling the emotions they had when writing these posts. I feel them. Do you?
Moving right along the next post is important, “Information about Iraq
” has everything from population to economy etc, it is now out-dated of course because it is from before the war. However the information is mostly still relevant/important.
There is a post about my attempts to get Youth & Students Against War
actively working together again; they were very successful for the period of time they lasted, getting together a meeting of 13 people for the first meeting.
The YSAW blog
is also running, though I find it hard to keep all my blogs up-to-date as is, and until something changes the mood of activist groups in Perth (which will happen soon enough), I am sorry to say that blog will remain on lower-priority for updates.
The remaining posts for May are very important, and I would suggest if you have not read them or something related, then you should go read them now! Here are the links:US Mishandled $96.6 million in reconstruction money
. (i.e., it disappeared)
And one of the MOST important posts on my blog (my opinion of course), was this one: Bush clearly outlined desire to invade Iraq January 30, 2001.
(Yes, that IS before September 11, 2001.)
This post was very well researched but not so well converted into words, one day when I have time I will edit this post. Here’s the link (with a changed, clearer title for the post): Saudi's Israeli's and Irani's investing in occupation.
Straight into business after a little while of inactivity, the post “Bizarre Idea
” was inspired by the intelligently chosen words of a friend. At this time I had been totally against the invasion on principal, and I will openly admit this was a selfish way of looking at the situation. It was time to accept the fact that it happened, and it would be even more irresponsible to cut-and-run, although it was necessary to leave as soon as possible. Read the post to see this realization in action. =)
There is a long interesting post called “The Rising Discontent
” but unless you are enjoy ranting or are right into world-politics you probably don’t have enough time of the day for this post! (At least I’m honest..)Najma’s blog
becomes 1 year old, congratulations Najma. Here’s the post: “Happy Bday Najma’s blog
The introduction of John Conyers and the Downing Street Minutes to Olive Branch Optimism happened on the 17th of June, a glorious Friday which I will remember for ever. This day marks the beginning of the first congressional hearing
/investigation into Bush’s misuse of presidential power and abuse of the constitution. Here is the post: “The Downing Street Minutes
The month ends without much exciting happening, so lets move on to July- that’s sure to be exciting! Oh, I haven’t introduce Khalid Jarrar
from “Secrets in Baghdad
” yet, his brother operates “Raed in the Middle
”, and a lot of controversy was kicked up in the blogosphere as a result of these two and their involvement =) (Khalid was loved by everyone, Raed not so lucky).