Tuesday, January 23, 2007

We are Iran

We are Iran By Nasrin Alavi
Reviewed By Sean Badal

It’s a bit weird seeing blogs in print format. I’ve never really liked it. They always remind of those faux blogs that get published in the Financial Times cos they look so trendy.

What’s the point, you might well ask.

Well, there’s the language barrier for one thing. Most of the blogs published here were written in Farsi, a language of which my knowledge is limited to about five words (and that’s excluding all the Persian words that have crossed over into Urdu and Hindi).

Another is a sense of cohesion in the manner in which the information is presented (indeed the book is so judiciously edited that sometimes it feels like one voicespeaking. Not a good thing when you’re presenting disparity). Even if you did speak Farsi, you be hard-pressed to wade through the sheer volume presented here. Iran apparently has more bloggers than most other countries. There are approximately 64 000 bloggers online in Iran and Farsi is the fourth most popular language for blogging.

The author’s purpose is of course overtly political. Iran has a repressive regime and one that is getting worse, certainly from a media point of view, so the voices that come through are unfiltered and raw.

And what voices they are!

Poignant, ghoulish, miserable, poetry and politics – all mixed up to provide an extraordinary glimpse into the life of ordinary Iranians (okay, they might not be so ordinary as they have access to computers and most come across as middle class) but this book is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iranians.

Published by Portobello Books – 2006

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