Thursday, February 07, 2008

an Iraqdoc 2008 update: Syria

map: US State department

My plans for what I've been calling "Iraqdoc 2008" have been postponed repeatedly, mostly due to personal financial hardship, although I note again the many fine people who've helped me since the Fall of 2005, like Apocalyptic Bill, Rob Payne, Micah Holmquist, Harry McDougal and Bubba. For a while I was unemployed, then precariously employed(well, like millions of us), unemployed again, and just recently, I've attained what appears to be a state of comparatively stable underemployment.

When I hear about a bigshot blogger holding a fundraiser and saying it's because "the bills won't pay themselves" and they're on a free service like Blogger I often feel annoyed*, because I don't think anybody owes a blogger so much as one red cent for holding forth sundry opinions about punditry's topic du jour. It's a little like saying, "hey, pay me to read the New York Times and Washington Post for you, and as a bonus I'll tell you what to think about the topics discussed in the articles." (I note that the people asking for money in such terms often run ads as well.)

Yes, undoubtedly there's an element of jealousy in my response, and if I insist that I'm trying to do something more altruistic or high-minded with the funds I ask for, I recognize I've done nothing to tangibly demonstrate this so far. In November 2007 I last discussed this project, saying that my financial picture wasn't so good, and that I was reluctant to try to raise money just then since I'd probably just spend it on living expenses at that point.

Well, 2007 was pretty rough for me, and I did dip into the funds people donated for non-documentary expenses like food and the light bill, etc. I'm sorry if I let anyone down who's helped me out, but it was a difficult time. Within the next 30-45 days I will replenish the Iraqdoc fund back to where it was before, less the price of a mini-DV camcorder that I got some time back for 115 bucks and a used 3.0 megapixel still camera I got for 22 bucks.

Also: my plans at this point are to go to Syria in May, for 2-3 weeks, to document the Iraqi diaspora in Syria. I've found a contact person who's said she will help me as possible, which is a great blessing.

In the meantime, I will post at least two more films to my Youtube channel within the next 30 days, to give persons thinking of helping me a chance to see something more tangible by way of reasons to invest in me, whether financially, which I still need, or simply advocating on my behalf through your own websites, etc. I will also follow Karena Espuela's sound advice that I seek out a newspaper, preferably an independent one, to help me defray the costs.

If I do go to Iraq eventually, which I still mean to do, it would be only some time after returning from Syria and making the first documentary available. (I also imagine the initial Syrian trip will give me a much better idea of what I need to do to go to Iraq afterwards, as well as give me more of a voice to raise funds for the second project.)

My intention is that the Syrian Iraqdoc and any subsequent Iraqdoc projects be freely available to download, with the stipulations that I'm given attribution and that they not be sliced and diced to make derivative works by others without my consent.

Finally, on a sort of side note, I'm still going to add some links to myblogroll for "B.A.D.", so please don't automatically assume I decided not to add you if you've added me and still don't see your link. If you're not sure if I know that you've added me, assume I don't know and leave me a comment or just email me. This also applies to anyone who may have blogrolled me some time back of whom I'm not aware. So let me know.

*I don't feel that way about Arthur Silber or Gary Farber, both of whom strike me as sincere(and are often better writers than the bigshots).

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