Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog From Iraq

By ‘Riverbend’
£9.99 paperback, Marion Boyars Publishers

In August 2003 a young Iraqi computer programmer began writing a blog (online diary), under the pen-name ‘Riverbend’. Her first-hand account of life in occupied Iraq has become essential internet reading, and this book collects her journal entries through to September 2004. I’m a big fan of her blog, and it is great to see it turned into a book, made accessible to a wider readership, because it’s one of the best places to read about the real situation in Iraq. She documents with anger and frustration the danger, chaos and hardship that has become ‘normality’ for ordinary Iraqis, and her sharp, savvy commentary on Iraq’s ‘puppet’ politics offers more insight & information than you’ll get from any media coverage. If you want to know what war and occupation are like at ground level, day in, day out, read this. She’s still writing: read her blog at

The Night War Broke Out

By Mark Thomas
£12.99 spoken word CD, Laughing Stock

This double CD by activist comedian Mark Thomas was recorded live in Edinburgh on the very evening the US and UK military started bombing Iraq. It’s incredibly powerful to revisit that moment - the energy & determination of the anti-war movement and the anger and disbelief that we all felt at the invasion going ahead - and Mark’s performance is just as electrifying as you would expect. He’s also riotously funny, whether gleefully recounting his direct action exploits or impersonating the impossibly upper-class proprietor of the magazine he writes for. His impudent attitude to authority & his passion for activism are very infectious - Mark Thomas is a great antidote for apathy. Are the warmongering capitalists getting you down? Stick this CD on and you’ll be inspired & revitalized in no time. (Please note: lots & lots of swearing!)

Dropping Anchor, Setting Sail: Geographies of Race in Liverpool

By Jacqueline Nassy Brown
£13.95 paperback, Princeton University Press

Ignore the pretentious blurb on the back cover, with phrases like “the spatial constitution of subjectivity” and “Black racial politics as enactments of English cultural premises”! This book looks set to be a great read, accessible and based on interviews with and experiences of members of the Liverpool Black community. It attempts to analyze and understand the peculiarly racist nature of Liverpool’s history and present, and the particular position of its Black population in relation to the rest of the country and the rest of the world. In doing so it goes in depth into the legacy of slavery, maritime connections, kinship, community politics and the 1981 uprising, and acknowledges the unique identity of Liverpool-Born Blacks (or LBBs). Jacqueline is based in New York, but has clearly spent a lot of time here and made profound connections. “In search of something different I went to Liverpool, where I found place as difference”.

Reviewed by Mandy Vere & Maria Ng from News from Nowhere

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