Building a community by blogging
June 16, 2005
Almost two years ago, Pedram Moallemian wrote, what I consider,
a very influential piece on blogging for the Iranian.com ["Blogs
shall set you free"]. At that time, blogging had emerged
in Iran as a powerful engine
views, and was spread to an even greater scale by Hossein Derkhastan,
a.k.a. Hoder. However, it had not gained an English voice, at
least not from the perspective of Iranians
or the Diaspora.
After Pedram's post, there was a marketable change. English
weblogs by Iranians
proliferated, many inspired by Pedram's article. For us, the blog represents
more then a forum for thoughts and ideas. It represents a solution to the
problems facing Iran. More importantly, it creates a solution
for the problems facing
particularly those concerning identity.
The Iranian-American's role in assisting Iran toward greater enjoyment
of political and social freedoms is to proliferate concepts of human rights and
freedoms, while actively engaging both Iranians and Americans in order to better
promote the truth and well-being of both. It is to construct a dialogue of voices.
To develop an understanding through speaking and sharing ideas. Most importantly,
it is to cut down all the barriers that we have created that inhibit our ability
to speak freely of our political affiliations and
The blog has done all of that. It has created a community of Iranians that write
daily or weekly about their personal problems. It has also created a community,
which engages political topics. There has been no greater forum concerning the
current military gestures toward Iran by the US than the blog. And there has
been no greater promoter of human rights and
filter of information than the blog.
Directly after the Bam disaster it was bloggers who proliferated information
concerning the tragedy, assisted in setting up relief aid, and drew almost daily
attention to what was needed.
Every time a political dissident is condemned or sentenced to death, it is the
blogger who has set up petitions to condemn human rights abuses and push the
regime to become more accountable.
It is a blogger who established a website, Stop Censoring Us, in order to inform
the public of Iran's
campaign to stop free speech. It is bloggers who are now the target of arbitrary
arrests and torture in Iran.
Bloggers who are looked upon as the most reliable
source of news inside of Iran.
After Akbar Ganji was briefly released by jail,
Iranian bloggers were the one's who interviewed him in order to share his
Mostafa Moin, a reform candidate in Iran's presidential elections, reached
out to bloggers and
began his own blog.
As a blogger I have been repeatedly confronted by media moguls as large as CNN
and as small as local radio stations to express my political points of view.
strength of a blog is its simplicity. Any person can start a blog in 10 minutes
by simply going to Blogger.com and follow
their very simply instructions. All you have to do is create a screen name, password,
and title for your blog
and you can begin sharing your opinion with the rest of the community. Once your
blog is set draw attention to
yourself by taking the following steps
1. link to others. Many bloggers frequently check who is linking to them and
return the courtesy by linking to you. Your first step should be to get your
cited on the Iranian blogging directory:
2. comment on other people's blogs. Many blogs like freethoughts.org and
IranScan.net have a vibrant community of individuals who constantly exchange
spurred by posts.
3. be YOURSELF and do not be afraid to express YOUR point of view on whatever
topic concerns you. Even the most political bloggers often go on tangents relating
to their favorite foods or home life. A blog contains your thoughts, on whatever
topic you feel is
4. do not lose hope and keep writing, even if you think no one is listening to
you. If you continue
writing people will notice you.
We need more Iranian bloggers who can translate their experience and the political
affairs in Iran into English for the world to share. The more Iranians blog,
the closer we can get to a truer understanding
of our community and ourself.
Nema Milaninia is a law student in Southern California and
owner of the weblog Iranian