We Are Iran is a seamlessly edited multi-voiced portrait of contemporary Iran, translated from Farsi, using that nation’s weblogs as its primary source. Iran has more web diarists than most countries, and in cyberspace many Iranians find a freedom to express opinions that is not available to them in print. Theirs is not the Iran of bearded ayatollahs and thuggish militias, but a country that has educated itself to the point where it finds the Islamist fundamentalists antiquated and laughable, where adult literacy (and computer literacy) is higher than in many European states, and where 70 per cent of the population is under thirty and keen to usher in a new Iran. Their voices – infused with Persian lyricism – are refreshing, utterly at odds with the grim vision of the country peddled by Western governments. They talk of their conflicts with the law, the condition of women, of repression and its subversion, the police and media, of singing and dancing, of snatched romance and nostalgia for lost heroes.
Taken from We Are Iran:
‘I keep a weblog so that I can breathe in this suffocating air… In a society where one is taken to history’s abattoir for the mere crime of thinking, I write so as not to be lost in my despair… so that I feel that I am somewhere where my calls for justice can be uttered…. I write a weblog so that I can shout, cry and laugh, and do the same things that they have taken away from me in Iran today… ‘
‘On the one hand the French say women should discard their veils and on the other hand, in Iran, they believe in forcing the veil on women throughout the world. They both batter us on the head with the stick of Islam. Do women ever tell you men what you can and cannot wear?’
‘God invented war so that the Americans can learn geography!’
‘I hate war. I hate the liberating soldiers that trample our soil, home, young and old with their boots. Believe me I love freedom. But I believe that you have to make yourself free. No one else can free you.’