There is currently an Iranian of the Day up about Hoder (Hossein Derakhshan, aka the Iranian ‘Blogfather’). It is the third one in five months, and the second since it was announced in June that his trial had begun after 19 months in prison.
I didn’t really know much about Hoder. I remembered him as writing numerous articles here during the first year, the majority in Persian, and not really participating much on threads. I remember him incurring the wrath of many people, being called worse than the worst ‘apologist’ (at a time when pretty much no one here spoke well of Ahmadinejad at all). I remember him being accused of being a turncoat and generating a lot of controversy, mostly being villified. But I didn’t follow him and that’s about all I remembered.
After my returning in early 2009 he was longer writing and I vaguely remembered and I vaguely wondered why.
Coincidentally, a few weeks ago I was reading about Jahanbegloo, and, through my surfing travels, that brought me to Mehdi Khalaji, and that brought me to the Khalaji lawsuit against Hoder three years ago. I did recall having seen that one of the earliest blogs onsite, by Jahanshah, was on this topic. So I read a whole bunch of things about the lawsuit but I didn’t even realize Hoder was in prison until a news submission popped up out of nowhere a couple of weeks later on his upcoming trial.
Since then I’ve tried to get to know him a little better. And now I can say I know him somewhat. I can also say that, believe it or not, for all you cognoscent, there actually are people here who never heard of Hoder, or at least not until just recently. Then there are many who know far, far more than I probably ever will.
However, the case of Hoder is maybe one of those disturbing things where the more one knows the less one knows, or at least the more questions one has. Or anyway, that’s what I’ve seen to have been among the reactions here.
What appear to be facts-granting me a margin of error, if you will–are: that he is now 35, that he was a prominent Reformist voice who left Tehran in 2000 and became known as ‘the Blogfather’ of Persian blogging (and podcasts), that he moved to Canada in 2000; that his blog was called Sardabir:khodam (Editor: Myself), and at the end of a visit to Tehran he was briefly detained and forced to sign an apology which after he left he publicly denounced. Loudly. And that he went to Israel on his Canadian passport in 2006 as self-appointed good-will ambassador and was warmly received; that at some point his political views altered to such point that for many they were draconian, that his behavior became progressively more belligerent, finally incurring the wrath of Mehdi Khalaji with his defamation lawsuit .And most importantly, tht he went back to visit Tehran yet again in October 2008 and that on November 2, he was arrested, and his whereabouts remained unknown until exactly one year later. Evin. And that now a trial has begun.
But behind the facts there seem to be so many questions. Why did his political views and behavior change so much? How much was real change and how much just progression? Even after having spoken more favorably about Ahmadinejad for the last year plus, how could he have been naive enough to think that, with his profile overall, despite having two months before been interviewed by Press TV, that he–the person who had called Ahmadinejad ‘a joke’ on Israeli TV–would be guaranteed safety in Iran? Had he just become reckless, megalomaniacal? Did he simply want to make a statement, face the challenge, tempt fate, go through the real deal? Or was there something else going on in the background that he couldn’tpublicly say? And now, of course, the big question: what will happen to him?
I think it would be a good idea to share thoughts, ideas, information, questions and feelings about Hoder. I think many people who know little would like to know more. I think among the people who know a lot. there are some conflicting feelings, of alarming distress combined with residues of anger to the point of at times repressed vengefulness, this last with its concomitant enormous guilt . And I think that must be very hard for some of you. So hard perhaps that you don’t even want to face it. But I think that would be a lot harder for you in the long run. And anyone who didn’t care deeply, I don’t really understand why they’d be here at all.
Hoder’s 35. He overlaps two generations here. He has lived in Toronto, London, and Paris. He has been a naive–or hypocritical–Reformist, however you may want to put it, an Ahmadinejadist traitor, however you others over there want to put it. Hey, hell, he’s even been a lackey of the Zionist masters. He has a little piece of each of you, doesn’t he? Or at least according to the way you perceive each other and constantly insist that the others are, in such dulcet tones. And then explain it all to me. Again. And again. Just in case I’ve missed something.
He is a regular member of the iranian.com community. His last article was posted here a couple of weeks before his arrest. He is one of you. But he has one thing most of you don’t have. He has over a year and a half in Evin.
But that changes nothing . It only makes it more true. He is one of you and you are one. You are Hoder and he is you.
And this is your conversation, not mine.
(I’ve compiled a list of some links while trying to get to know Hoder better.I’ve begun with his wikipedia entry, which itself has many excellent links, but which for some reason, while updated July 1, doesn’t seem to mention the trial. I’ve included a couple of the wiki links in the list, and also several from this website, and more. My favorite is the full-length Israeli TV documentary in three languages).
FROM HIS ARREST TO THE PRESENT
VIDEOS, ARTICLES AND PICTURES 2008
It is in google list serve format and is the only active link I could find for his old blog. The last entries are the beginnngs of a Tehran journal.
Press TV Interview September 2008 Discusses Ahmadinejad
with link to previous submissions beginning 2001
Hoder’s Washingon Post blog archive 2007-2008
He appeared in various publicaions during that time.
MEHDI KHALAJI LAWSUIT
Times Are Hard For Iran’s Online Free Speech Pioneer Nov 2007 article, The Ottowa Citizen
Jahanshah’s blog on the Khalaji lawsuit August 2007 with Hoder’s participation on thread
TRIP TO ISRAEL 2006-2007
Loving Tehran in Tel Aviv***** full-length Israeli tv documentary on Iran as seen through Hoder,
in English, Hebrew and Persian, 2007 (‘Ahmadinejad is a joke’…)
AN EARLY IRANIAN.COM ARTICLE 2003
When he was young and fresh
TWO FREE HODER SITES
They do not appear to be up-to-date though.