Thursday, June 26, 2003

One more ode to Salam Pax

Yes, I'm swearing off politics of the pundits/don't know shit/irate-for-no-reason sort. For my own peace of mind and the like.

I think there might be another kind of politics--I don't know what sort. A human kind. Non-posturing...Hard to explain--non-professional, non-journalistic, not about advancing one's career. I still want to know what's going on, I still want to resist the forces of darkness even in my less than miniscule way. Maybe annoyance, outrage are inevitable if those are my goals. But to avoid head-exploding levels of frustration and/or mind-numbing sorrow there's some stuff I don't want to read now.

Blogs like Where's Raed? aren't in this category of irksome bullshit, of course. (Same with Notes of an Iranian Girl. But what blows my mind there is that she's so young and thinks such interesting stuff.)

I am always amazed by the posts of Salam Pax--he's an excellent writer but what I also appreciate is that he approaches things from such a human, basic, humble level. There's this sense you have when you read his blog that he's taken on a kind of responsibility for telling others what he is seeing. Were things otherwise maybe his writing would never have been discovered. He seems to have become a celebrity under the worst possible circumstances. He now gets to document what its like to see your city descend into chaos--when prior to that you'd only read about that sort of chaos--in Beirut and elsewhere.

Maybe there is this basic need to communicate to others. You might ask--why does it matter if I know the details, particularly when it looks as if there is nothing I can do? But it's unimaginable what the world would be like without people who told the truth as they saw it--not to make money, or get a cushy job at the National Review or be invited to great parties on the Upper West Side. But because they saw something unjust and terrible and had to speak out about it.

Isn't it strange that this is the thing people so often lose their lives for--speaking out, telling a story, documenting injustice? Complaining? (God, I would be long dead.)

I don't know--reading Salam Pax's blog makes me wish that it were possible to get the news straight from the people who actually live in each country. I wish that I could read blogs from Havana or Beijing or Pyongyang.


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