The Profane Pervert Arab Blogger

"Salam Pax," the already-legendary writer of a Baghdad-based weblog, tells how his site began as "an internet joke with a friend in Jordan" and grew to become the most famous web diary in the world. Despite Saddam Hussein's censorship of the Internet, he writes, "the internet offered a wealth of tunnelling software to download, little programs which allowed you to make tiny holes in the firewall through which you could access blocked sites." Blogs in particular seemed to fly below the censors' radar: "I preferred to believe they were not watching. They were never patient. If they knew about it I would already have been hanging from a ceiling being asked about anti-governmental activities. ... By the end of January war felt very close and the blog was being read by a huge number of people. There were big doubts that I was writing from Baghdad, the main argument being there was no way such a thing could stay under the radar for so long in a police state. I really have no idea how that happened. I have no idea whether they knew about it or not. I just felt that it was important that among all the weblogs about Iraq and the war there should be at least one Iraqi blog, one single voice: no matter how you view my politics, there was at least someone talking." Today several blogs are available from Iraqis as well as individual U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq, using colorful pseudonyms such as Baghdad Burning, Turning Tables, Chief Wiggles, and Chrome Dome.