The Blogs of War
I like to read personal blogs from war zones to get a different take on what life is like there for ordinary people, and to escape the filtering of news practised by major news channels. However, in searching for personal blogs from Ukraine and Gaza, I am encountering something of a void now.
In Ukraine two bloggers I used to follow have relocated, one voluntarily and the other not. The author of www.8monthsinukraine.blogspot.com has recently moved from Kharkiv to New York. She wasn't covering the unrest specifically, but her accounts of daily life as an English teacher in a large city of eastern Ukraine were interesting, as were her photos.
Briton Graham W. Phillips (http://grahamwphillips.com,) was recently expelled from Ukraine to Poland after being held captive by members of the Ukrainian Army. Earlier he had been held by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country. His reporting was good, and he did a lot of work for Russia Today, www.rt.com, and other news outlets. I guess the fact that he was unpopular with both sides in the conflict is testament to his impartiality. Unfortunately his computer and some online accounts were also hacked, and he lost an enormous amount of material.
The best independent (?) blog about Ukraine at the moment seems to be http://firstname.lastname@example.org,) although it is very anti-Russian. Another possibility is http://tryukraine.blogspot.com.
The situation is similar in Gaza, perhaps with more justification since Gaza is such a small area and Ukraine is enormous. It is hard to imagine that life in Gaza right now can be anything other than appalling. An interesting blog called www.gazamom.com by a young mother and cookbook author has not been updated since last year, while one written by two friends, one living in Gaza and one in Israel, was last updated in 2009 at http://gaza-siderot.blogspot.com. It is highly partisan, but the blog at http://electronicintifada.net/blog contains a lot of information about the conflict.
Of course, it is a lot to ask anyone living in a war zone to report on events there for the pure pleasure of it, and I am grateful to any bloggers who try to do so. My one tentative effort at war reporting came to a quick end once I was actually in the region. It was in 2003 in Jordan, and I had gone over with the idea I might try to get to the front lines of U.S. troops invading Iraq (although I was never a supporter of that invasion.)
However, when I arrived in Jordan I realised it was a crazy idea, and opted to take a tour of Jordan instead. The most violent situation I had covered previously was a hostile corporate takeover in Toronto when I was a reporter for the Globe and Mail (www.globeandmail.com,) and I decided to stick to more peaceful pursuits.