Real-time blog reporter is net sensation

AN IT consultant who hoped for a quiet life in a summer resort town in Pakistan has become an internet sensation as the first to report the attack on the world’s most wanted man.

Sohaib Athar was just another witty voice on micro-blogging site Twitter until he heard the sound of helicopters near his home in a Abbottabad, 50 kilometres north of Islamabad early Monday.

But Athar is now world famous with almost 90,000 Twitter “followers” — users who keep track of his messages — as the first person to record the attack on Osama bin Laden’s secret hideaway.

He was swamped with emails and interview requests from media around the globe and his blog was even attacked by internet hackers.

“Bin Laden is dead. I didn’t kill him. Please let me sleep now,” he wrote on Twitter after the story went around the world.

It began with a tweet in the early hours of Monday morning.

“Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event),” followed by another; “Go away helicopter before I take out my giant swatter.”

As he explained on his Twitter feed, he was simply an IT consultant looking for a quiet life.

Little did he know it, but he was the only real-time reporter to the US military finally getting their man.

“A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. Ihope its not the start of something nasty,” he tweeted under his Twitter name “ReallyVirtual” during the attack by US special forces.

“All silent after the blast... the helicopter is gone too,” he wrote later.

Athar later realised he had been the first with news of the attack.

“Osama Bin Laden killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan.: ISI has confirmed it << Uh oh, there goes the neighborhood,” he joked.

“Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”


The long-tailed tit’s nest is an architectural marvel.Richard Collins: Altruism of the long-tailed tits or not

The flight that brought us home to Ireland after our seven months sojourn in the Canary Islands (half our stay intended, half not) was the most comfortable I’ve experienced in years. With a large plane almost entirely to yourself, you could again pretend you were somebody.Damien Enright: Wonderful to see the green, green grass of home

IRISH folklore is replete with stories of priests praying for fine weather to help farmers save their crops in wet summers. However, the opposite could soon be happening when divine powers may have to be invoked to provide rain. And not just for farmers.Donal Hickey: Praying for rain — in Ireland

Geography is often the defining factor for the destiny of an island. Those islands that lie close to the shore have often been snapped up by interests on the mainland and their morphology changed to something completely different.The Islands of Ireland: Tarbert morphed onto the mainland

More From The Irish Examiner