Living Bibliography


We Are Iran: The Persian blogs

Soft Skull Press
 — 2005

For me this book is the most insightful revelation of ANY society I have read. It’s not the view of one or two political analysts, politicians or academics. It really is a slice through all sections of society in Iran that keep a blog. Which is why, short of finding a 60 million page book with an interview on each page you will not get a better glimpse of Iran from any other source that I have seen.

But it is much more than that. It’s about people anywhere and how they experience life, but it just happens to be Iran. But because it is written by Iranians they are more revealing, more poetic and more moving than an average emotionally constipated teenager who has grown up in a more affluent environment. I don’t think I made it through many chapters with dry eyes.

To the critics who haven’t read this book, I would say read the book. You might be surprised to realise that your views are actually represented and at the same time find out what your neighbour is really thinking when he gets home from Friday prayers.

By Mohammed Mehdi:
I loved this book. But I half-heartedly bought it after an overenthusiastic recommendation by an Iranian friend. Yet I was so moved that I must have reread many passages again and again. But I have to warn you this is not a techi book about blogs and the internet and more about Iran in general. It’s rather an odd book in that the serious factual stuff is skilfully fused in with the poetic or funny posts by bloggers. We get to hear about the firsthand accounts of revolution, war, falling in love, relationships, and customs to passion for football or cinema. We get to hear from Islamic cleric bloggers to fans of David Beckam.

Above the unique insight it offers are the promises of hope. In a country were 70 per cent are under 30 and educated the future is bound to be promising. With informative societal historical cultural background on all things Iran, the narrative tries to highlight the views and aspirations of Iran’s highly educated post-war baby boom generation, and as we get to read: “Throughout the 20th Century baby boomers’ have had enormous impact on society during every stage of their collective lives, leading to the post-war transformation of the Western world. Baby-boomers are the drivers of change and Iran’s new up-and-coming youth may well prove as significant and influential.”

As a member of this baby boom generation, I have always felt that (if only by sheer numbers) we are Iran or will be the future of Iran anyway. I can’t think of a better tribute than this book to my generation and the youth of Iran, rich or poor, religious or secular and so on. And I can’t see any other way that you could truly see us the way you can in this book. It is amazing how though its diversity it captures the fundamental nature of my generation. We are all there in this moving yet at times very amusing and unflawed narrative.

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