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Friday, February 20, 2004

As Andrew Sullivan would say... 

...the revolution will be blogged! Read this article. The mullahs of Iran seem to have forgotten to control access to the Web, even as they have subjected every other form of media to state control. Of course, they didn't have the Web in the 18th century, so unlike more modern oppressors they may not have thought about it much until the bloggers were out from under the hajib, as it were.

Here's the heart of the article:

Thousands of Iranian blogs have cropped up since late 2001 when an Iranian emigre in Canada devised an easy way to use the free blogging service Blogger.com in Farsi. Though several English blogs outside Iran are read by Iranians, the most popular ones are in Farsi and operated inside the country.

Blogs offer a panorama of what's whispered in public and parleyed in private. People vent, flirt and tell jokes. They skewer the ruling clerics with satire and doctored photos — such as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei donning a Western business suit instead of his usual turban and robes.

The anonymity of e-mail addresses and use of pseudonyms strip away any timidity.

"We always wear masks in our society." said Lady Sun, who started her blog in November 2001 and later married one of its readers. "This is a place to take them off."

The masks, however, stay on offline, and like many other bloggers interviewed, Lady Sun spoke on condition of anonymity.

Bloggers can get quite feisty, as one commented in Farsi on the ruling clerics: "It's very pleasant to have to talk with 18th century people in 2004."


Blogging seems to attract disproportionately sarcastic people in Iran, as everywhere.

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