(guest blogged by Nonny Mouse)
I sometimes feel so frustrated with all the news from Iraq - Sunnis killing Shia, Shia killing Sunnis, everyone killing Americans, eighteen Iraqi policemen executed over what may or may not be a trumped up rape charge, then two more families who were trying to work for peace and negotiations all murdered, another bomb in a market place killing children, bodies found bound and shot in the head dumped on the roadside, more and more and more, never ending, just one giant mindless bloodbath that no one seems to be able to do anything about - and I can't help it; I start to think there must be something wrong with 'those people'. I know better, I really do - but an irrational part of me just growls inside to hand all these homicidal maniacs guns, lock the doors and not come back until they're done murdering each other.
Then I read this, and it shocks me back to reality -
Young Iraqis, trapped in their homes in the mean streets of this bloodstained capital, are increasingly turning to the Internet to chat with relatives, hang out with friends and search for love.
Such virtual relationships offer a refuge of sorts from numbing isolation and fear during a time of staggering violence. But all too often they are mirages - a seductive reminder of a life now tantalizingly out of reach for most.
There are so, so many ordinary, decent, kind people trapped by a well-armed and fanatical minority, as well as well-meaning American troops exacerbating the situation just by being there. Young men and women who just want what everyone wants - to meet someone nice, fall in love, maybe even get married, have kids, grow old together. They're normal people, in an abnormal world, and it makes my heart ache.
It also makes me realize something; we need more of these stories. We've had so much on the blood and the death and the violence that we're becoming desensitized to it, to the point where it's just become a blur of faceless, characterless crowds. We need to start seeing the individuals, people just like us, talking face to face, even if that means the same way these young men and women 'meet' each other - on the Internet.
Does anyone know if there's an Internet chat room where individual Americans could go and talk on-line to Iraqis? Maybe even... webcam to webcam?