Thursday, February 11, 2010

Update on Iran

Because of the internet, I have a friend in Iran. I never expected to have a friend in Iran. My whole life, I just assumed, as so many in the West do, that Iranians are people entirely unlike us, who hate us and there's nothing we can do about that.

And then the internet intervened and I met Sara, who is not entirely unlike us at all. She is like any intelligent, warm, kind person you might be lucky enough to meet. I found, in talking to her, that Iranians are like anyone else. I found a friend, and I hope she did, too.

Which is why I was yelling DAMNIT!!! when I saw this:

Iranians have reported widespread service disruptions to Internet and text
messaging services, though mobile phones appeared to be operating normally

Iran's telecommunications agency announced what it described as a
permanent suspension of Google Inc.'s email services, saying instead that a
national email service for Iranian citizens would soon be rolled out. It wasn't
clear late Wednesday what effect the order had on Google's email services in

This latest move by the Iranian government is simple: make sure people like Sara never talk to people like me. That way, Sara and all her fellow Iranians will never learn how much they have in common with everyone else, will never desire to join us in peace, will never gain allies in making their world a better place. And we in the West will lose just as much. We will lose our opportunity to learn, to understand, to work for the better of us all.



  1. Typical cowardly move by a bunch of power-hungry assholes who hate the idea of the common people actually reaching out and getting in touch with the world outside their borders. Troubling and infuriating, but sadly, not entirely unexpected.

    However, hope is not lost; I’d recommend to Sarah that she try some proxies and other such trail-erasing, identity-hiding services (assuming she can reach any of those). There are always ways to communicate, though they can get rather cumbersome and tedious when primary lines of communications are cut. After all, this is exactly what Chinese “dissidents” do to access YouTube and blogs and so on, which are all blocked by the Great Chinese Firewall.

    Hope all goes well – or, at least, as best as one can hope – for both you and your Sarah. (I’d read her blog, but alas, I’m not exactly fluent in Arabic … (if that’s what it is. I honestly can’t even tell).)

  2. Dammit!

    (Not much to add to that, really.)

  3. The American media sadly has not done a very good job of covering Iran protests for the last 7 months. This has furthered the idea among Americans that all of Iran is like Ahmadinejad when in reality he rigged the election and of many of his people want him brought down. Of the protests they have covered, the don't often mention the murdering, beating and raping (to the point of genital disfugurement) that the government is comitting against its own people.

    We've been following the protesters since June on apcheck and goodsensepolitics after we attended protests last summer to hopefully get more attention from Obama and the UN who have done very little about these atrocities.

    Of the internet walls, they actually brought people in from China to assist in the blackout and have jailed many journalists. I hope your friend remains safe as she strives for democracy.

  4. Sarah's blog seems to be running ok. She made a post in English.


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