A long time coming

It’s been a very long time coming for me to start writing a personal blog again. I used to do it regularly, almost daily back in 2005-07. Even while I was studying at uni, working full time and the founder/editor in chief of collaboration blog about Iraq, written by Iraqis. But at some stage I became  overwhelmed by it all and life took me on a different journey for a while.

Back then Gee (Georgia, my then girlfriend now soon to be wife) and I were in the process of finding and buying our first home, I was 20 at the time and she 21. I was 2 years into a journalism degree and had been working in a Bakery for 3 years as a trades assistant. I was good at my job and for the most part enjoyed it, but I was eager and wanted to earn some big bucks so I could pay the mortgage off quickly and go chase my dreams of becoming a journalist. So, like any West Australian youth would do, I decided it was a great idea to go work in the mining industry.

It worked, to some extent. Surely I found a bit of temporary work which paid well and I had enough contacts to survive the employment gaps in between. Gee and I both managed to progress in our employment and didn’t have to struggle to pay the bills, though we were both working long hours.

Eventually I settled into a role at Australian Pressure Testing Services as a Pressure Test Technician and was good at my job. I was there for a year and a half before they sent me on a 6 month stint on-site at Boddington Gold Mine where I was paid a top-rate wage, which I worked my ass off for. It went well and aside from a few arguments about weekend overtime, which was non-compulsory according to the site agreement, my bosses were both impressed with the quality and quantity of my work. But eventually as the job was nearing completion there was a call for voluntary redundancy from site.

Continue reading A long time coming

All in one years work

As I begin writing this post it is January 16, 2007. If I track back one year the Olivebranch Network was yet to exist even as an idea- but would within a matter of days.

I had recently won web hosting through a competition run by Sydney-based journalist/author/blogger Antony Loewenstein – who has since released a best-selling book entitled “My Israel Story” and is now working on a new book.

In the year since winning this prize I have, albeit with a lot of encouragement and support from many others, built a network in excess of 30 members- the vast majority of whom are Iraqi, most of whom were already bloggers, but some of whom were not. The first post on the Olivebranch Network was on January 25, 2006.

The Olivebranch Network has been cited on television in the United States of America as the “Most Insightful look in to the Iraq war anywhere” by NBC News Tech Reporter “Mike Wendland”. I personally have been interviewed here in Western Australia by a local broadcaster “Access 31” on their morning show “Wake Up Perth”.

The interview was a 7 minute breakdown on what the Olivebranch Network is, how it came to existence  what it contains and where it is headed in the future. Just last month the Olivebranch Network was featured in the Pakistani monthly magazine “Spider”.

On top of this we have recruited many of the Iraqi Blogosphere’s prominent and not-so prominent bloggers and I have personally befriended most of them; which for me was a major source of gratification and inspiration which helps me continue this project through to this very day and hopefully far into the future.

Importantly a sense of community has developed at the Olivebranch Network with chit-chat and comment exchange occurring regularly in the comments sections; especially amongst the girls. The first year has seen many events of significance and nearly 10,000 hits- which means our aim of educating people about Iraq is truly beginning to work.

Who ever said one man can’t make a difference?

A fly on the wall (explosions in street)

There’s a boom!
There’s a smash.
The man falls.

There is glass.
There is screaming.
The man bleeds.

There was TV.
There was couch.
The man cries.

There was son.
There was daughter.
Both died.

TV playing,
in the front room.
The front window,
the man’s wife.

Their children.
A bomb.
The glass window.
The man’s life.

The Weary Man (Luke’s Poetry)

The weary man sits outside his house,
a newspaper spread across his lap.
In the background a radio sounds,
as he awaits the latest news.

He’s barely 30- yet he’s all alone.
Everyone left him years ago.
Yet noise comes from the telephone,
so he jumps up and runs to answer.

It’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,
no phone call- he’s still alone.

He sits down again,
and as he reads the news cries.
He wonders will they ever learn,
before the last man dies?

War still rages as his insides burn
and he jumps up confused and angry:
as the phone rings again.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,
the struggle to be sane.
A voice comes from the driveway,
his daughters excited tone!

He survives the fight for sanity,
because he has family, so he’s not alone.