Saturday, March 31, 2007

We are Iran

I stumbled across an interesting book in a book shop in Tunbridge Wells today.

It is called "We are Iran" and is a collection of writings from Iranian weblogs. What they show is the variety of thought and outlooks from this mainly young nation and how they are often at odds with their leaders who have such control over their society.

In many ways, the hope for Iran and for the world, has to be that the majority of its people will have a say in the direction it takes in the coming years.

Here are a few extracts from that book:

Taken from Iranian weblogs:

"My blog is an opportunity for me to be heard…a free microphone that doesn’t need speakers… a blank page…"

" I keep a weblog so that I can breathe in this suffocating air… In a society where one is taken to history’s abattoir for the mere crime of thinking, I write so as not to be lost in my despair… so that I feel that I am somewhere where my calls for justice can be uttered…. I write a weblog so that I can shout, cry and laugh, and do the same things that they have taken away from me in Iran today… "

"On the one hand the French say women should discard their veils and on the other hand, in Iran, they believe in forcing the veil on women throughout the world. They both batter us on the head with the stick of Islam. Do women ever tell you men what you can and cannot wear?"

"I can see a war on the horizon…In the depth of my heart I want the people of Iraq and Afghanistan to reach peace and freedom , but it might mean that America will find even stronger reasons to attack Iran… I am scared. I feel incredibly helpless."

"And now is our turn to die. Because we are to pay for the actions of our rulers, whom we despise. We the ordinary people will have to pay."

" I hate war. I hate the liberating soldiers that trample our soil, home, young and old with their boots. Believe me I love freedom. But I believe that you have to make yourself free. No one else can free you."

"God invented war so that the Americans can learn geography!"

"As a nation we all have dual personalities… At home we are as free as can be… we have fun, drink, have parties… and pay no attention to the religious dictates of the Supreme Leader. But in public we are forced to act devout and show support for the regime… This has destroyed our culture and has turned us in to the worst kind of hypocrites… and as a society we are rotting from the inside."

Here are a few links to sites I have read today. While there are certainly grounds for disagreement, these sites and others like them show that ordinary Iranians are currently both willing and able to speak out and that they value freedom of speech. I have no doubt that they take more risks in their writing than bloggers in much of the world.

The hope has to be that the current crisises over Iraq, nuclear development and now the British sailors can be overcome and things will change when the "blogging generation" of Iranians comes to power.

For all our tomorrows, this is my hope...............


Anonymous said...

hi there, it is Azadeh: Iranian journalist. thank you for intoducing me, is there my name in that book?
yes, blogging is a good way to talk, to show that the truth is not what always BBc shows!

Luis said...

Hi Azedeh. Thank you for your comment.

I didn't see your name in the book which is described here.

However, I followed a link from one of the blogs featured to the blogsbyiranians page which lead me to your blog.

I am very pleased to have found your blog as it gives a first hand impression of life in Iran beyond that presented both by the BBC (!)and also the official Iranian image.

I admire you for your free expression and I look forward to reading future posts.

It is good that citizens of opposing countries can communicate directly. I am reminded of the stories from the First World War when British and German soldiers stopped shooting to play football with each other.

Let's hope for a peaceful resolution of all differences and that the network of global blogs can play some part in that- or at least lead to greater mutual understanding.

At least this is one small channel of communication between London and Tehran !