2003 June 03 Tuesday
Peter Maass Employed Salam Pax As Interpreter

There has been considerable debate on whether Salam Pax is really an Iraqi in Baghdad and, if he is, whether he was a Baathist propagandist for the Saddam Hussein's regime. I always figured him for what he said he was and didn't think he was an effective propagandist even if he was one. Well, turns out that journalist Peter Maass knows who Salam is from his writings and employed him as an interpreter.

His latest post mentioned an afternoon he spent at the Hamra Hotel pool, reading a borrowed copy of The New Yorker. I laughed out loud. He then mentioned an escapade in which he helped deliver 24 pizzas to American soldiers. I howled. Salam Pax, the most famous and most mysterious blogger in the world, was my interpreter. The New Yorker he had been reading—mine. Poolside at the Hamra—with me. The 24 pizzas—we had taken them to a unit of 82nd Airborne soldiers I was writing about.

Interestingly, Maass had the good taste to realise that anyone found reading Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle is more likely to be interesting than the average person.

Maass also links to an article in The Guardian that announces Pax will be writing a column for them.

Much of the criticism came from Americans who favoured the war and were riled by Salam's dismissive criticism of US ambitions in Iraq. He argued endlessly with Raed and Ghaith about whether the war was justified. He was reluctant to cheer the US invasion in his writings but, like most Iraqis, says only a foreign invasion could have overthrown Saddam and so accomplished what most of the population longed for.

But, again like most, he is bitter about the looting and lawlessness which for the past six weeks have gripped Baghdad. "The Americans are not taking control of the situation and stopping it. There is no way they could wash their hands clean of it," he says. "Two months like this is too much, three months is a disaster."

The lawlessness has certainly made Iraqi attitudes worse than they needed to be.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 June 03 11:04 AM  Media Critique


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