|Riverbend is the pseudonymous author of the blog Baghdad Burning, launched August 17, 2003. Riverbend's identity is carefully hidden, but the weblog entries suggest that Riverbend is a young, unmarried Iraqi woman, from a mixed Shia and Sunni family, living with her parents and brother in Baghdad. Before the United States occupation of Iraq she claims she was a computer programmer.
However, due to her self-imposed anonymity, there is no evidence available that would substantiate any claims made about her life. She writes in an idiomatic English which appears to reflect a Western education. The blog combines political statements with a large dose of Iraqi cultural information, such as the celebration of Ramadhan and examples of Iraqi cuisine. In March 2006, her website received the Bloggie award for Best Middle East and Africa blog.
Her weblog entries have been collected and published as Baghdad Burning ISBN 0-606-04113-3 (with a foreword by investigative journalist James Ridgeway) and in March 2005 were presented as a dramatic production at the West End Theatre in New York. Her book has recently been shortlisted for the 2006 Samuel Johnson prize.
"Riverbend is a thoughtful writer whose articulate, even poetic, prose packs an emotional punch while exhibiting a journalist's eye for detail." - Jason Zineman, New York Times.
"It's amazing how as things get worse, you begin to require less and less. We have a saying for that in Iraq, 'Ili yishoof il mawt, yirdha bil iskhooneh.' Which means, 'If you see death, you settle for a fever.' We've given up on democracy, security and even electricity. Just bring back the water." -Riverbend
"The weapons never existed. It's like having a loved one sentenced to death for a crime they didn't commit- having your country burned and bombed beyond recognition, almost. Then, after two years of grieving for the lost people, and mourning the lost sovereignty, we're told we were innocent of harboring those weapons. We were never a threat to America...
Congratulations Bush- we are a threat now." -Riverbend
"Why don't the Americans just go home? They've done enough damage and we hear talk of how things will fall apart in Iraq if they 'cut and run', but the fact is that they aren't doing anything right now. How much worse can it get? People are being killed in the streets and in their own homes- what's being done about it? Nothing. It's convenient for them- Iraqis can kill each other and they can sit by and watch the bloodshed- unless they want to join in with murder and rape." -Riverbend