Salam Pax On CNN

Salam Pax was featured in a segment on CNN’s Paula Zahn Now this evening. The show re-airs at 2AM EST/11PM PST. Here is the transcript:

Now, Web logs, or blogs, are ways for nearly anyone to tell their own story on the Internet. In the months before the war in Iraq, an Iraqi calling himself Salam Pax began posting his story, writing of life inside Iraq. The work is out in a new booked called “The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi.” And the Baghdad blogger shows his face for the first time in a U.S. interview.

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There is a background video shown at this point.

ZAHN: Salam, thanks so much for being with us tonight. Welcome.


ZAHN: Did you ever think reconstruction in Iraq would be as difficult as it is right now?

PAX: Most of us were expecting things will get going easier. I guess we turned out to be wrong.

When you go on the street and you see a foreigner with a gun in his hand telling you what you’re supposed to be doing, that always makes you feel a bit bitter. So we don’t want the coalition to stay longer than needed, because they will look like occupiers.

ZAHN (voice-over): When Salam first came to the public’s attention, he viewed the U.S. not as liberators or occupiers, but as invaders. In chilling words, he described what it was like to live in a city under siege and posted his thoughts on the Web site. The site was soon a favorite of readers all over the world, logging thousands of hits a day.

PAX: Half-an-hour ago, the oil-filled trenches were put on fire. The only thing I could think of was, why does this happen to Baghdad?

ZAHN: Pax, a 29-year-old resident of Baghdad and architect by trade, was taking shelter with 15 family members, hoping for the best, fearing the worst.

PAX: We start counting the hours from the moment one of the news channels reported that B-52s have left the airfield. In half-an-hour, we will know whether it is Baghdad tonight or another city.

ZAHN: Of course, Baghdad was hit repeatedly, but Pax and his immediate circle came out alive and relatively unscathed, only to be burdened by a whole new set of problems, like the recent change in terror tactics.

PAX: They’re attacking Iraqis. They’re killing Iraqis. This will actually bring it home to Iraqis that, look, what’s happening now, these attacks, these are not good for you. They will never help. And people are getting worried.

ZAHN: Another common cause of worry is who is going to govern them and when. Ambassador Bremer is attempting to speed up the transition to Iraqi self-rule. But, to Pax, that is a concern itself.

PAX: There isn’t any sort of vision. The 25 governing council members, they haven’t really achieved anything until now. There’s still problems between them. They cannot agree on a lot. They’re more worried about themselves being attacked or assassinated than actually being able to help Iraqis and Iraq.

ZAHN: Regardless of all the problems in today’s Iraq, and in spite of his newfound fame, Salam Pax says he will never leave his native land. He will stay to do his part to ensure this ancient land’s survival.

ZAHN: Once again, that was Salam Pax, the so-called Baghdad blogger.

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