December 27, 2005

Comments are Open Again

I have tentatively decided to open the comments again. We'll see how it goes. Please behave and don't feed the trolls when they show up. Aside from that, comment away!

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 27, 2005 05:55 PM

Let me just say quickly before the trolling begins that your writing and photography has been definitely taken to another level since you landed on foreign shores. I can't wait to read your latest installment each day. I think it's because of your encounters with real people on their own ground. And I have kind of enjoyed the silence of the closed comments. At least it has speeded up my visits here. But if you're willing to open them, I'm willing to peek again.

Posted by: allan at December 27, 2005 06:28 PM

I agree. Highly informative stuff, interesting and well written. I've been itchin' to comment for weeks... so now I don't have much to say :).

Posted by: Doc at December 27, 2005 06:34 PM

More pics, please!

Posted by: Natasha at December 27, 2005 06:44 PM

Just want to say what a great site you've produced. I have been following since just before comments were banned and so want to take this chance to say keep up the great work. I especially thought it was cool reading about your rendezvous with Big Pharoah, who I have followed for a while via Iraq the Model.

Again, excellent stuff!

Posted by: Shawn Beilfuss at December 27, 2005 07:03 PM

Okay...I'm not crazy. I could've sworn that you had comments when I first started reading your site. Then I read an entry that I wanted to comment on and I couldn't! I'm glad they're back!!! Hopefully the trolls will stay away.

Keep up the great work!

Posted by: megs at December 27, 2005 07:44 PM

"Please behave" :) chuckle

You just made me smile with that, but I guess you're absolutely right about it. Thanx for opening comments again.
Always a pleasure to read about my country from your perspective. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Mariloo at December 28, 2005 12:01 AM

Hope you, your very lovely wife, and your mother are enjoying the Middle East. And will have a very Happy New Year.

I've been watching and commenting also a bit on Hayek in Slovakia.

While it's true I can read more other fine blogs when I don't read comments on yours, I'm a little more happy to try them out.

Still not too late to try to do an e-book, or real book, with your blog posts. I've heard others are trying that.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Libertay Dad at December 28, 2005 02:47 AM

Michael, I'm glad that you opened the comments box. Very good blog, I return to read it constantly. As I said to you by email it reminds me of my experiences here in Israel.

Posted by: Fabian at December 28, 2005 04:42 AM

Hey Michael! Your writing is outstanding. I can't even remember how I came across your website but, I'm glad I did. I suppose you could say your writing has transported me across shores I would be fearful of traveling to alone. My sweet darling Jesse (future husband) would never travel to such places. I am happy that you have become my closest and most interesting link to these countries.

I do have a question about the picture you had of the Egyptian blogger Big Pharaoh; you posted his picture one day and I have yet to see it since, any reason? I have suspected that he may have feared for his safety and asked you to remove it.

Happy New Year :)


Posted by: Christy at December 28, 2005 06:07 AM safe brutha !!!!!!

Posted by: Mark D at December 28, 2005 06:13 AM

Mr. Totten, very interesting and insightful writing on your site since your placement in the Middle East. Best of good fortune to you in the New Year, and thanks for your reporting, as well as your inclusion of your fascinating guest contributors.

Posted by: Seppo at December 28, 2005 06:14 AM

Excellent work, Mr. Totten. I agree that the conversation with Big Pharaoh was particularly enlightening (and I can't wait to read more about Instanbul; Turkey is definitely on my "have to visit" list....)

Posted by: Mark Poling at December 28, 2005 07:54 AM

I really enjoy your writing style. I check in every couple of days to read about your most recent exploits. It's nice to get a first-hand perspective of the nitty gritty stuff. Keep up the great reporting.

Posted by: Paul Briggs at December 28, 2005 08:15 AM

Michael, thanks for a great job! Second to allan and the rest.

Posted by: Asher Abrams - Dreams Into Lightning at December 28, 2005 08:34 AM

I really appreciate the work you do. I think it's really important to have first hand info from someone who's intelligent and trustworthy. May God keep you safe.

Posted by: Jenny at December 28, 2005 09:37 AM

I had "They Might Be Giants" playing in my head for the entire day at work after your piece on Istanbull... you bastard!!!!!


Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 28, 2005 10:06 AM

I imagine that the troll-keepers of your enemies haven't noticed this yet. Of course they will most likely loose their beasts to shut down civilized conversations after the next killing spree.

On the plus side, it looks like the locals rolled up a Syrian for the last assassination. Here's hoping that goes well.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at December 28, 2005 10:23 AM

Great to be able to converse again. It's been a joy reading your pieces since you hit the Mideast. Let's hope the trolls are kept at bay.

Posted by: Rafique Tucker at December 28, 2005 11:45 AM

Great stuff so far. Keep it up.

Posted by: Carlos at December 28, 2005 02:07 PM

Thanks for opening up the comments. I hope the experiment works.

..and thanks for posting the photos of Istanbul. We're planning a trip to Turkey in a year or two. Can't wait!

Posted by: mary at December 28, 2005 02:49 PM

Hey Michael!

Good stuff. If there is other American writing going on that puts such a human face on the ME, I haven't seen it. Keep it up!

Posted by: jdwill at December 28, 2005 05:40 PM

Yes, it's great to have comments back. I always enjoy reading your blog, and even moreso since you have temporarily relocated to Beruit. It gives me a great internal view of that part of the world.

Posted by: BeckyJ at December 28, 2005 07:19 PM

Having a nice vacation there?

Posted by: Graham at December 28, 2005 09:38 PM

Last spring, having never been in the Middle East, I spent a few weeks in Riyadh. And found it quite different from what I had expected. If I'd found this blog before I went, I'd have been less surprised -- because this is by far the most accurate picture of the Middle East I have ever found. Thank you!

Posted by: wj at December 29, 2005 10:21 AM

Just read your Libian Essay. I was thrilled to find it. You were mentioned at Instapundit, glad you were. I was in Libya in 1955-1957, before the idiot took power away from King Idris. Tripoli and the surrounding area was actually quite nice. The Italians were very prominent in the city, with great shops and restaurants. And you could have wine with your pasta. The Hotels were great, with Casino's and bars. Yes, another time. Travel was free and open, and a lot of fun. The people were, in the most part, were very nice. I was in the Military, and fraternizing with the Italian ladies was a NO NO. But at least we got smiles from there balconies. We had to go to Malta or Greece for the Ladies. But to me it was a wonderful experience. I thought after things opened up it might be fun to go back, but after your writings, I don't think so. When I was there Tripoli was a quiet, small city. It had a quaintness about it. In 1956 the Russian Embassy opened, and that was the begining of the end for Libya as we knew it. Thanks Mike, you made my day. Best Wishes, Bob

Posted by: Bob Rubel at December 29, 2005 11:18 AM

Michael, I have NO idea how you can afford to do what you do - the pay you get from the occasional LA Weekly publication couldn't pay for much more than breakfast for a week. But I can't describe how thankful that I am that you're doing it. It sounds absurd, I know, but you're a service to civilization.

Thank you.

Posted by: Richard R at December 29, 2005 12:54 PM

Oh, I hope the trolls stay away, I have wanted to comment many times.
Thank you so much for this loving look at my adopted country. It has been 38 years since I was there but I recognize the spirit and views that I miss so much.
When you had the delay on your apartment I could just imagine them saying "Bukhara bil mish-mish". The mountains, the sea, the food, the attitude seems to have changed very little. It sounds like the nightlife is still fun, too!

Thanks again, I enjoy your blog so much.

Posted by: LibraryLady at December 29, 2005 05:44 PM

I have thoroughly enjoyed your postings and articles on your travels through the Middle East (and lebanon.profile's postings too). Keep up the good work, enjoy, and have a wonderful new year.

Posted by: markytom at December 30, 2005 07:57 AM

Richard R.,

The LA Weekly pays a LOT of money, actually. You would be amazed if I told you how much.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 30, 2005 09:42 PM
Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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