Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

When I’m not blogging (when I’m not breathing) I read blogs, and when I’m not doing that, I’m rushing somewhere, late.

But sometimes, when I’m not doing that, I read books, and I was recently given “We Are Iran” by Monique. The book has turned out to be way more interesting that I thought it would be.

Because, let’s face it, I’m not really an “modern Iranian politics” kind of guy.  Or so I thought.  But I started reading these extracts of daily life there, and it turns out, it’s pretty darn interesting.

The book is a series of extracts and commentary from some of the 64,000 blogs that have flourished despite the oppressive, regressive and at times aggressive repression of the Iranian government. Did I forget suppressive?

There’s the writings of a 50 year-old woman whose son just moved back in with her. He ribs her about being a blogger, and they argue about who gets the computer.  She talks about how it feels to have your child return.

There’s a post by a female student talking about the changes she’s seen in the town where her new college was placed, how to locals have gone from suspicious to supportive of the kids.

Here’s another quote:

“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?”

(It’s from saba.eparizi.com which appears to now be defunct.)
The whole book’s like that.  Individual voices, speaking about issues that are at once remote and yet universal.

The whole book is well explained; it’s like sitting down to watch a television drama that you’ve never seen before, but your friend is there explaining all that’s going on to you. Nasrin Alavi is the collator, and is a great tour guide to modern Iran.

Anyway, the disclaimer part is that yes, Monique works for Raincoast and yes, I got the book for free.  But if you are interested in learning why personal blogs are so darn important, this is the book to pick up.

ps: The Tyee just wrote about it, too.



 
 

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Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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