JWN’s 8th blogiversary

… is today.
Over the Christmas of 2002, my son Tarek said to me a number of times, “Mom, you really should start a blog.” I said, “A what?” (not surprisingly)… And then as he told me more about the concept, I became more and more intrigued.
Long story short, he helped set me up JWN… first on Blogger, then on MT (and I even have a plan to move over to WordPress sometime, not yet implemented.)
So here was my very first blog post, from February 6, 2003. In it, I gave my evaluation of the really terrible, mendacious and war-preparing presentation that Colin Powell had just made to the U.N. You remember, the one that included all the allegations about the “aluminum tubes” and the alleged presence of Al-Qaeda operatives in areas of Iraq under Saddam’s control…
Over the days that followed, I tried to do as much truth-squadding as I could regarding those completely unfounded allegations. (I also did a little at the Christian Science Monitor.) And over the six weeks that followed February 6, I did what i could to use my blog to warn against the many dangers that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would, in my analysis, almost certainly lead to.
On March 19, 2003, I blogged the way I’d learned about the start of the invasion by writing this post, which featured my 17-year-old daughter Lorna.
Lorna is now an accomplished and lovely young woman of 25 who’s deep into a doctoral program here in the U.S.
And what has happened to that whole generation of 17-year-old Iraqis meantime???
The anti-war movement failed to halt the onrush of that war. We failed to halt Israel’s assaults against Lebanon in 2006, and against Gaza in 2008.
We failed to halt the U.S. escalation in Iraq in 2006, and in Afghanistan last year.
Now, however, I submit, the dysfunctional (or even, clearly counter-productive) nature of all those attempts by the U.S and Israel to solve their problems by the application of massive amounts of military violence has become clearer than ever. Military violence is not a sustainable or even, at any level, a logical path to greater peace and human wellbeing.
And I think more and more Americans are understanding that now?
… Anyway, it’s been a huge eight years in world politics, in my engagement with world politics, and in my life as a blogger.
If you want to see the extent (and the rough balance) of the things I’ve been blogging about, go to the blog’s front page, if you’re not there already, and scroll down the left sidebar till you come to the “Topical Index”. When the categories have become too big, I have tried to break them down, by calendar year or even (for Iraq for a whole period there) by quarter. I see the biggest category is “Palestine 2009” with 165 posts tagged there.
Over this period, I have also built up some great relationships with other bloggers. And even last year– acting partly on another suggestion that Tarek had made a while earlier– I got the idea of founding Just World Books as a way to bring the work of these bloggers in a better way to a broader reading public.
I love being a book publisher! But it’s been a lot of work, founding a company– becoming a businesswoman, for goodness’ sake!– learning all those new skills that I never knew I’d ever have any need of! Then, over Christmas (again), I decided it was time to restore a bit of work/blog balance to my days; and that I needed to reconnect with my voice as a blogger.
Just in time, eh, before this amazing new wave of uprisings started busting out all over the Middle East!
I should note that another of the pleasures of blogging has been to host the forum that the commenters here all contribute to. Having this conversation across national barriers, time-zones, and worldviews has really been amazing. Back when I started doing it in 2003, it felt even more amazing. I don’t want to lose that spirit of wonder and appreciation about this aspect of the blog.
… Where will we all be in another eight years, I wonder?

8 thoughts on “JWN’s 8th blogiversary”

  1. I mean, if a dog-year is like seven human years, how mush is a blog-year compared to normal years? Prolly at least seven.
    Whatever, it’s a huge achievement.
    Congratulations, Helena!

  2. Wow, Helena! Eight years. I don’t remember exactly when it was that I discovered your blog – I guess I could check the archives for my first comments, but I think it was in that year of complete despair, 2003. As a long-time fan of yours (and your husband’s, though I was unaware at the time of the relationship), I felt beyond fortunate to have such a regular resource, and extremely honored to be allowed to add my voice in the comment section.
    I still have a VHS tape of the first time I saw you (as opposed to reading what you wrote), and I really should transfer it to CD before the tape deteriorates too much. I just chanced on it that day on CNN. It was supposed to be a debate between you and someone very high up in the Israeli embassy (the ambassador, I think). Well, not only did the ambassador not show up (cowardice?), no one from the Israeli embassy was present at the start, so you presented your prepared opening statement, and eventually some lower-level person from the Israeli embassy breezed in a good 20-30 minutes late with an insufferable air of arrogance, and no apology for his tardiness. You proceeded calmly and cooly to demolish his every claim and argument with verifiable facts, and without so much as breaking a sweat. If I were one to have heroes, you would have become mine that day.
    A good deal of the time one feels one is using a teaspoon to hold back the tide, and it all feels pointless to try to continue. With that appearance on CNN, and over a greater span of time in various ways including with this blog, and now with your publishing enterprise, you not only provide an invaluable source of information, you provide an incentive for people like me to keep on keeping on with our efforts.
    It is impossible to overestimate the value of what you are doing with this blog, and everything else you do. Please remind yourself of that every day.

  3. Congratulations on your 8th blogiversary, Helena. Candor and forthrightness are scarce commodities in the 21st Century. Fortunately, they can be found anytime here.
    Thanks for all that you do in helping to sweep away the cobwebs of deceit and defeatism.

  4. Dear Helena,
    I’ve been reading Just World News for most of the eight years it’s been going, and can only say thank you and congratulations. It’s been consistently informative and thought-provoking.
    Long may you continue.

  5. Dear Helena
    Seeing as you aren’t going to Cairo perhaps you have time to take up the cudgels on behalf of Yasmin Alihai-Brown.
    The Lunatic UK Prime Minister has sided with the fascist thugs of the English Defense League who like Moseley’s Blackshirts of the 1930s are marching through immigrant enclaves.

  6. i missed your anniversary! ahh, thank you so much for all your posts. you’re invaluable, a jewel. i’m not capable of fully describing my appreciation. words fail me.
    thank you a thousand times over helena.

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