My name is Zeyad. I was born to a Sunni Muslim family in Baghdad, Iraq 1979. Shortly afterwards, my parents left for the UK to pursue their Masters' studies. I was raised in Colchester, Essex and I also lived in both London and Bournemouth. I returned with my family to Iraq in 1987. I was privileged to study at the Baghdad College high school, which was originally built by American Jesuits in 1931, and is still considered the best public school in Iraq to this day. I originally intended to major in computer engineering, but my parents wanted me to study medicine. I settled on dentistry. I graduated from the Dentistry College at Baghdad University, and practiced for four years at governmental clinics in Baghdad, Basrah and several suburbs of the capital. I was forced to quit my dentistry job during the sectarian violence that followed the bombing of a shrine in Samarra. Currently, I'm studying for a Master's degree in journalism at CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism in New York.
I got interested in weblogs a couple of months before the war when I accidently stumbled on Where is Raed by Salam Pax. I was greatly impressed. Then, I discovered other blogs and got hooked to this new medium of interaction with the world. After the war, other Iraqis joined the scene such as Riverbend, which had quite an impact on me. I had become frustrated with the negative media coverage from Iraq so I decided to start a personal blog to present the positive side which was not getting enough attention at the time. I wrote to Salam and Jeff Jarvis and they offered encouragement, support, and advice.
I was the first Iraqi blogger to open a comments section on the blog thus facilitating and encouraging communication and exchange of ideas. I also took it upon myself to get other Iraqis to blog, in which I succeeded to some degree. It has been quite a pleasure to watch those other bloggers become well known names in the blogosphere. Our collective voice and efforts are reaching wider audiences day by day, exposing them to the situation on the ground by people whose lives are involved and directly affected by it. We are intent on healing iraq from decades of abuse and to make it through these difficult times into a new phase of democracy, freedom, and prosperity.
Healing Iraq in the press:
The Wall Street Journal: Iraqi's Blog Chronicles Daily Life of a Nation in Turmoil.
My Other Blogs:
The New York Times: Day to Day in Iraq blog.