Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Bloggers of Iran!

Bloggers of Iran”. That’s the title of a short piece about Iranian bloggers and the Islamic Republic’s upcoming presidential election show, published two days ago by The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel in that journal’s “Editor’s Cut” Blog. Reading it the Iranian reader wonders, as he does reading countless other articles in the “liberal” press, whether by assuming ignorance on the part of the author once more, as it has been his habit for 26 years, he is being overly dismissive, too generous or is simply deceiving himself.

Simply put, Heuvel’s article is a reinforcement of an idea which one of the Islamic Republic’s main Internet savvy mouthpieces abroad has been working full time to spread: Calling Hossein Derakhshan who has been comfortably living in Toronto for some years “one of Iran’s leading bloggers”, Heuvel agrees that the coming elections will be “one of the most open and transparent elections Iran has ever seen.” Other open and transparent elections under the anti-Iranian Islamo-gangster regime aside, the point is that it is under the Islamic Republic that such elections will be held. Not a word about how elections were conducted prior to the coming of the Islamists, and very much in keeping with the principle that readers should not question the legitimacy of the Islamist regime in the first place.

“The Internet is playing a major role,” writes Heuvel, adding, “This is the first time, for example, that most of the major candidates have their own websites.” No doubt the Internet is playing a major role, but why credit blogs, and by implication people, such as the Hizbollahi Mustafa Moin and Mullah Mohammad Abtahi with “opening up Iranian society and culture”? If Heuvel realizes that the Islamic regime does censor and imprison some journalists, is it difficult to realize why it doesn’t censor or imprison others? Now, Heuvel provides a list of ten blogs “that offer an unprecedented window on Iran's political culture, while helping to open up and make that society more accountable.” Haj Agha Hossein Derakhshan’s Hoder.com, of course, tops the list. Hossein’s view on how blogs are opening up Iranian society? They have enabled candidates committed to the preservation of the Islamic Republic to reach out to a wider audience! Other blogs in Heuvel’s list are of the same type, supportive of this or that candidate. Moin, who is a candidate, is also included in the list. How blogs written in Persian made it to Heuvel’s top ten list is not difficult imagine, considering the purpose of her article, but even a quick perusal of each can be instructive.

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