In the foreward of Baghdad Burning, Soueif did a very good job of pulling me in as a reader. Normally in books I skip the foreward or the introduction and jump right in, but with this book if I hadn't read the foreward I would have no idea what I was getting myself into. Soueif did an excellent job introducing Riverbend and her family. He gave me an idea of what to expect from Riverbend's blog. The foreward introduces Riverbend's family members and tells about their relationships with each other. The fact that Riverbend's blog is so widely read and that her reader's care so much about her and what she has to say makes me think to my self "Wow, this girl is really writing about something real." And in the foreward you can get a sense of the "real things" that she is going to be talking in her first year of blogs. In the foreward Soueif gives a quote that Riverbend had said in one of her blogs:
"There was a time when people here felt sorry for the troops. No matter what one's attitude was to the occupation, there were moments of pity towards the troops, regardless of their nationality. We would see them suffering under the Iraqi sun, obviously wishing they were somewhere else and somehow that vulnerability made them see less monstrous and more human. That time has passed." (Riverbend, viii)
This foreward gave me a glimpse of what I am about to read. I think that is a smart way of giving the reader a chance to see what the book is going to be like.
The introduction to Baghdad Burning, written by James Ridgeway, goes much more in depth in the relationship that the U.S has had with Iraq over the past years. His accounts go back as far as the opening years of the twentieth century. He talked about OPEC and the effect that is had on the U.S. He also mentioned the Gulf War and what part Iraq and the U.S took in that. Ridgeway gave a lot of number facts, such as, number of casualties or deaths, or how much oil was being sold and produced. This first paragraph pulled me in as a reader and along the rest of the introduction I kind of got lost. When he got to the description of the war in 2003, I felt a little less clueless, but not much. He described it as "the mission", which I understood. He gave an idea of what has been happening over there since 2003.
The accounts the Ridgeway and Soueif described are nothing like my memories. I have never been much into political situations and most of the time I have no idea what is going on in the world. I know that sounds terrible, but I don't enjoy learning about how many people we killed today or what kind of bombs were let off the destroy buildings. Those types of things make me depressed and feel for those people. I still feel for those people I just can;t deal with hearing about it so often. So in my opinion, my memories are absolutely terrible compared to both Soueif and Ridgeway. What I do remember, was September 11th, 2001. I don't think either of them could have the details and the vivid memory of that day that I have. I was in seventh grade in math class when my principal came on the loud speaker to tell us what had happened. I originally thought it was some kind of situational tactic the school was making us do. But when I found out it was reality, I freaked. Many of my best friends parents worked in the city, one of them being like a second father to me. I couldn't even describe how scared and worried I was and how terrible I felt for all the people who had to deal with losing loved ones.