February 04, 2005

The Double Life Of Omar Fadhil?

Sure there must be more than one guy named Omar Fadhil in Iraq, and maybe even a few in Baghdad itself, but what are the chances that two guys with the same name would be actively working in international journalism during the Iraq vote last week?

Check out this report from Deutsche Welle:
Puffing on cigarette after cigarette, Iraqi journalist Omar Fadhil taps away at a keyboard, chatting online from his Berlin office to his radio correspondents in Baghdad.

For the past month, Fadhil, who lives in Baghdad, has been heading the staff of "Election Monitor Iraq," a program broadcast from Berlin via the Internet to Iraq, where it appears on local radio stations once a day, five days a week. Sponsored by a German foundation, with support from the German Foreign Office, Election Monitor Iraq is designed to give Iraqis something they don't get much of: trustworthy news about the country's first democratic election in more than 50 years.

"We want to explain to people why it's important, why they should go to vote," said Fadhil, who came up to Berlin from Baghdad to coordinate the team during the elections.

Fadhil, who will stay in Germany another 20 days said that, while many people are too scared to go out and vote, just as many will head out because they see no other alternative.

"I want to have security," he said. "At the moment, we can't go out after 7 p.m. If a dog is hungry he just has to go outside and eat. Animals are better off than humans at the moment."

The 27-year-old will vote in Germany, along with an estimated 26,000 other Iraqis this weekend in polling places in Mannheim, Munich, Cologne and Berlin.
Can this be our old friend Omar Fadhil from the Iraq The Model blog?

Here's another report:
Der Neunundzwanzigjährige ist einer von zwei Irakern, die extra für das Projekt nach Berlin gekommen sind. Fadhil spricht deutsch, weil er bis zu seinem fünften Lebensjahr in Süddeutschland gelebt und in Bagdad nach dem Einmarsch der Amerikaner für deutsche und österreichische Journalisten gearbeitet hat....

Seine Radiobeiträge produziert er zur eigenen Sicherheit unter einem Pseudonym.
Translated, that means
The twenty-nine-year-old is one of two Iraqis, who came specially for the project to Berlin. Fadhil speaks German, because he lived up to the age of 5 in South Germany and worked in Bagdad after the invasion of the Americans for German and Austrian journalists...

He produces radio contributions using a pseudonym for his own security.
The Iraq The Model blog says Omar is 26 years old, while these reports indicate 27 or 29 years of age. The blog information could well be outdated. The ages are close enough for a match. The one part that doesn't seem to match up is this bit:
Noch mehr als islamistische Terroristen fürchtet er die amerikanischen Besatzungstruppen, „weil die jeden Iraker für einen möglichen Terroristen halten“. Eine amerikanische Panzergranate traf bei dem Sturm auf Bagdad sein Haus. Bei einer Straßenkontrolle hat ein Soldat mit dem Gewehr auf seinen Kopf gezielt und dann mit dem Kolben eine Beule in seinen Mercedes geschlagen, sagt er.
He is more afraid of American occupation troops than Islamic terrorists "because they consider each Iraqi a possible terrorist". An American armor-piercing shell hit his house during the storm on Bagdad. A soldier at a roadblock aimed a rifle at his head and then dented his Mercedes struck, he says.
UPDATE: Chrenkoff On The Payroll?

According to my Google search, about the only person in the world who has posted a link to this German "Election Radio" show was Australian-based blogger Arthur Chrenkoff, who just happens to be a very big fan of the brothers at Iraq The Model (the feeling is mutual). Chrenkoff's link to the German radio show was included in part 20 of his "Good News From Iraq" series:
German-financed Election Radio also hit in the airways in the run-up to the poll. The program utilized Iraqi correspondents on the ground around the country using MP3 recorders and emailing their segments to Germany for editing and broadcast.
Surprise, surprise, Omar Fadhil then just happened to post a link to Chrenkoff's Good News From Iraq Part 20 story!

Both Ali's Free Iraqi site and Iraq The Model provide permanent links to Chrenkoff (reciprocated, of course), whose stories they frequently cite as evidence of even more good news from Iraq. In fact, they have already provided six links this month.

Chrenkoff is a fiction writer who advertises his writing services for sale on his blog. His blog includes on-going, multi-part series on "Good News From Afghanistan" and "Good News From the Islamic World".

By the way, anyone wondering if the Iraq elections were a farce can check out this page showing the candidates from the Fadhil brothers' Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party.


Rachel in London said...

That IS interesting. You know, Omar could be updating Iraq The Model - from Berlin. That would explain why nowadays he seems to write mainly about matters that have appeared elsewhere and then adds his opinion. If he is not in Baghdad, well, he can't write believably about being in Baghdad.

The only fly in the ointment is that there is no mention of the journalist being also dentist.

Still, intriguing. Possible. Omar, if you are in Berlin, be sure to stock up on books about the US 48-year occupation of the Philippines, as I have suggested on your blog.

Wadard said...

Iraq the Model becomes more and more sus each day

Squigoth said...

You know, you're obsession with those three Iraqi brothers is getting creepy. What's the point of all this?

Rachel in London said...

When I looked this morning, the comments section on Iraq The Model appeared to have turned into a sort of fourth-former's common room overnight.

I said Guten tacht to Omar. I wonder if he will find it funny - or not.

Tex MacRae said...

Very interesting.

Tex MacRae said...

The brothers both smoke, also: While waiting for things to kick off, the brothers had a smoke outside (having to smoke outside is intriguing to them)


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