Sunday, November 12, 2006

Of all of the places I expected to steal a stray internet signal, my grandmother’s bedroom in Tehran was not one of them. But here I am, at Maman Joon’s Internet Café, accessing the Net from some unknown neighbor to whom I owe many thanks.

Thanks also to those who left comments, critiques, and suggestions on my last post. If I haven’t responded directly, it is just because I have been short on time and energy. I’ll try and make up for it soon.

I didn’t leave the house for the entire day yesterday, I was too exhausted from running around the country and just wanted to take it easy. I decided to catch up on emails and have a look around at the websites and blogs that I usually visit. This in itself was a curious and question-raising experience. Why is it, for example, that Sibil Tala’s blog, which extremists in the U.S. often accuse of being a site supporting the Iranian government, blocked by government censors in Iran? (Incidentally, Raed’s site is filtered as well, which totally caught me off guard). I had to use filter breakers to be able to read both of their pages.

But you know whose site is as easily accessible as can be? The website and personal blog of one Mr. Amir Abbas Fakhravar! (Yes it is true, the Fakhravar Watch project takes no breaks). This man who rubs elbows with well-connected war mongers like Michael Ledeen and Richard Perle and is regularly featured on “opposition” media such as VOA and the likes, is not exactly low-profile.

And yet his site has been accessible from every single ISP I have tried in a handful of cities all around Iran. Don’t you find this surprising?

But I guess it makes sense in the scheme of things: when he was supposedly a political prisoner, he had cell phone and media access from within the walls of Evin prison; when he claims to have had a shoot-to-kill order out on his life, he was out about town, eventually stepping on a plane and freely leaving the country; and now, when he presents himself as the foremost leader of a movement against the Iranian government, his interviews, writings, and pictures are just a click away for the average internet user in Iran.

I wont weave any theories for you, I wouldn’t even know where to start, but I sure do wonder…