Precinct 333

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Crime Of Blogging in Iran

So, you think the United States is descending towards fascism and that freedom of speech is gone? You think that Bush is a warmonger who wants to attack other countries under the pretext of promoting freedom? Why don’t you read this story about one blogger’s plight in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

After three days in prison without being informed of the charges against her, she finally faced an interrogator.

The next day, I was taken to a room down a long corridor and told to sit down. A fat hand with an agate stone ring set an interrogation form in front of me. Then he began asking about my Web log, which has hyperlinks on it to Western feminist groups.

"Do you accept the charges?" the interrogator asked.

"What charges?"

"That you have written things in your Web log that go against the Islamic system and that encourage people to topple the system," he said. "You are inviting corrupt American liberalism to rule Iran."

"I've tried to write my ideas and opinions in my Web log and to communicate with others in Farsi all over the world," I said.

He was displeased.

"These answers will lead us nowhere, and you will stay here for years. Tell us the truth. How much have you received to write these offenses against the Islamic state? How are you and your fellow Web loggers organized?"

How should I respond? I knew my mother must be terribly worried about me. What could I say to make sure I got out?

"We are not organized against the state," I said. "I write because I want to criticize the system. There are some things in our state that should be corrected." "Why don't you write an e-mail directly to the supreme leader's office?" he asked. "The supreme leader considers all criticisms and takes corrective actions."

"I hadn't thought about that," I said. This was nonsense, of course, but I saw an opening. "From now on, I will write directly to the supreme leader and stop writing in my Web log."

"It is too late for that," he said.

So the next time you read Kos, Atrios, Oliver Willis, John Aravosis or some other liberal blogger going on about the oppressive nature of the “BusHitler Regime”, point them to this article and suggest that their wild fantasies of tyranny and oppression are nothing next to the reality faced by those who are critical of a truly oppressive government.


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