We Are Iran Book Review

We Are Iran. A book about blogging in Iran.

We Are Iran
by Nasrin Alavi
364pp, Portobello Books, £12.99

In September 2001, an Iranian journalist Hossein Derakhshan created one of the first blogs online in Farsi. He created a ‘how to guide’ for other Iranians to do the same. He consequently created a new wave of virtual Internet users in Iran. There are now approximately 700,000 blogs and Farsi is the fourth most popular language for blogging. Iranian writers from all different backgrounds are still writing about the country and the regime. Nasrin Alavi has made an impressive collection of some of these blogs in her book, We Are Iran.

Alavi takes us through significant points through recent Iranian history, from the Iranian Revolution (of course) to the saddening earthquake in Bam. We Are Iran is like a long essay with extracts from carefully selected blogs accompanying the factual information. She blends history and what Iranian people are talking about extremely well. There are other aspects which are discussed in depth too, including Iranian culture, women, art and football. It’s not just politics that Iranians want to express their dislike for, it’s even David Beckham’s previous move to the Real Madrid football team.

At the time of publication of We Are Iran in 2005, up to 100 publications, including 41 daily papers had been closed down in the preceding 10 years in Iran for attempting to overturn the self-image of the regime. Action has been taken against the online community, but this still doesn’t seem to stop Iranians from seeking the means to express their opposition to the rulers of their country online. Blogging is a huge part of the everyday lives for many Iranians. There are even blogging courses and workshops in Iran now.

We Are Iran is thoroughly detailed in all aspects and presents an interesting portrait of the majority of a very young generation. From writing about Saint Valentine’s Day, Marilyn Manson and wearing lipstick in Iran, bloggers are covering all areas to get their voices heard online. We Are Iran is a fascinating and insightful book and is a real eye-opener to the undeniable presence of the online community of the country. A must read for any blogger.

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