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 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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