Saturday, March 03, 2007

Perspective: When going out is too dangerous, dating happens online

BAGHDAD — For Ali and Noura, love blossomed in an Internet chat room.

Both were young, educated, devout Sunni Muslims who shared a passion for Jim Carrey movies and Arabic love tunes. For months, they chatted online obsessively. As the friendship deepened, she shyly agreed to a webcam meeting.

But their relationship was doomed from the start: He lives in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood of east Baghdad; she is across the Tigris River in the city's war-torn west. It was out of the question that they should ever meet.

"It seemed like a pointless relationship," says Ali, who now refers to Noura as "my ex-Internet girlfriend." He stopped responding to her messages and she eventually stopped sending them.

"She must be angry," he says, looking slightly embarrassed as he leans forward to stub out a cigarette. "Maybe if we could have been alone together, it would have been different."

Read the rest at the LA Times