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"Riverbend is back"

“Riverbend” posted again from Iraq after several weeks of absence and “shockwave” at DailyKos took notice. At the current count 205 following comments have appeared. The common emotion expressed was often relief to learn that she is still alive, and it mirrored my own, as I quickly clicked on “Baghdad Burning” on my Daily Read bookmark list. Juan Cole at Informed Comment used the phrase of so many of us in his 12/29/06 post: “Riverbend is back.” She is back and her post is a devastating piece about the execution of Saddam Hussein.

It is fascinating to know how many people read her blog posts at Baghdad Burning and why. A quick bit of research, using the search term “Riverbend Iraq December 2006,” produced the following hits/returns:

  1. Google – 30,100
  2. Yahoo! – 20,181
  3. Ask – 10,900
  4. Bloglines – 107
  5. Looksmart – 100
  6. Dogpile – 73
  7. Newsgator – 30

Favorite bloggers we read have a certain “voice,” a kind of personality, a recognizable and consistent identity of sorts. Riverbend writes in a very personal way. Over the years we have come to know the people in her family and what her life in Baghdad is like. We learned a bit about the traditions they observe, what it is like to live in a war zone. We have become familiar with how she and her family feel about the political aspects of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and of the current government of her country. Writing with passion she pulls no punches. We have come to assume she is a young, well-educated and very savvy Sunni.

When recommending any blogger’s work, I use terms such as “edgy, lyrical, good-looking, hard-hitting, newsy, or fair-minded” to describe a writing style. When describing the politics of the current administration I have sometimes used the term “Orwellian.” To close today’s S/SW post I visited “The Quotations Page” for what Orwell said about good writing:

Quotation #38089 from Classic Quotes:
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”, 1946
English essayist, novelist, & satirist (1903 – 1950)

In 2007 the blog topics I plan to cover will have weekly themes: Sunday-Spirituality. Monday-Southwest News. Tuesday-Congress. Wednesday-Activism/ Citizenship. Thursday-Middle East. Friday-Bush Administration. Saturday-European Union. But I have departed already because today, Riverbend is back.

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My “creative post” today at Southwest Blogger is about Jack Benny.

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