In a comment on my trip to Harvard to be at the Global Voices OnLine Conference, I said that words can't describe the experience of meeting the brothers from Iraq the Model. They can't. But I'll give it a shot.
I'm sitting in Logan right now (6am EST) trying to download and understand all of the information from the last 24 hours.
First, Jeff Jarvis (BuzzMachine) sums up a bit about the brothers.
The conference was led by Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon. They are both brilliant (both in the cool sense and the intelligent sense) and Ethan ROCKED as the host/moderator. I have a lot of respect for those two.
I met Omar and Mohammed 22 hours ago in the hotel lobby. They were with Kerry from Spirit of America who sponsored their trip to the conference (and mine as well - THANKS SOA!). Naturally, the first thing that I said was, "Hey, do you guys want to get some coffee?"
We found our way to the conference. While waiting for things to kick off, the brothers had a smoke outside (having to smoke outside is intriguing to them), we talked about Harvard. We joked about a school in America being old after a few hundred years, but in Iraq, a few millenia earns an institution that title.
Often you hear/read about people chosing to read blogs based on which bloggers they would rather have a beer with...Omar and Mohammed are no exception to that rule.
Once the conference began, I looked around. Sitting on my left was Jeff Jarvis. Yeah, I was sitting next to Jeff Jarvis...never thought THAT would ever happen. On my right, Armed Liberal. In the seats in front of me were Omar and Mohammed. Behind me was Jim Hake, Tim Oren, and several boy geniuses.
Hey, over there. That's Dan Henninger from the WSJ.
Over across the way was Hoder, Jeff Ooi (the guy can write), Joi Ito, Isaac Mao and many, many others. All politics aside, the bloggers at the conference are some of the best and brightest thinkers (especially about blogging as a communication tool).
Oh yeah, the Soros people were everywhere too (as they were sponsors of the conference).
With company like that, I wondered what kind of reception a MilBlogger might receive.
As much as I was a fish out of water, the brothers from Iraq the Model must have felt like strangers in a strange land. They were the first up to bat and I would follow...
Gotta catch my flight to Chicago - Part 2 will be posted later where you find out what's in store for Iraq, whether there are thousands of brain dead soldiers being hidden from the media, and if Tim, Marc, Mohammed, Jeff, Jim, Omar, Kerry, Donovan, Janice and I really did tie one on...
Update 12-13-04: Here is Part 2.