Guardian interview with Salam Pax
An industrious reporter with the Guardian has tracked down Salam Pax, author of the Dear_Raed blog, in Baghdad and scored an interview. Some excerpts:
Like all Iraqis, Salam was familiar with the dangers. At least four of his relatives had gone missing. In the past year, for no apparent reason, one of his friends was summarily executed, shot in the head as he sat in his car, and two others were arrested; one was later freed and another, a close friend, has never returned.

He regarded the doubters as culturally arrogant, unable to accept that an Iraqi in Baghdad could share their interests and write on them eloquently and with humour. "I am this little no one who actually is a kind of a foreigner in his own culture. I don't listen to Arabic music a lot, I don't read that much, I think every single Arabic newspaper is a tool to whatever government. It was making me angry, it was annoying me, I didn't see why I had to take all this shit."

Much of the criticism came from Americans who favoured the war and were riled by Salam's dismissive criticism of US ambitions in Iraq.

[Salam writing about Rory McCarthy, the Guardian reporter]: A day before that I talked to Rory from the Guardian. He paid for a great lunch in a place which had air-conditioning and lots of people from foreign. You know how much you would pay for a pizza before [attack of the media types II] started? Two thousand five hundred dinar, a bit more than $1. Do you know how much it costs now? Six thousand dinars, a little less than $6. Plus the exchange rate is totally fucked up and the real estate market is getting bizarre. You can follow the trail of the foreigners by how much things cost in a certain district. Of course, Rory didn't buy me the 6,000-dinar pizza - that would have been too cheap. He paid an extra $3.
Much more to come.

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