January 24, 2006

Hossein Derakhshan to Israel

Hossein Derakhshan is an Iranian blogger who has been urging the west to "help Iran become democratic."

He runs both an English-language and a Persian-language blog, and he has a daily Iranian readership of about 20,000. Today he is putting his money where his mouth is: he is going to Tel Aviv to write about Israel directly. He does this even though "this might mean that I won’t be able to go back to Iran for a long time, since Iran doesn't recognize Israel, has no diplomatic relations with it, and apparently considers traveling there illegal."

Follow Hoder on his journey here. While we wait for his plane to land, here's a bit of Ebrahim Nabavi's nuclear satire.

Update 1/28: Hoder writes an op-ed today for the New York Times where he talks about the insanity of the pro-western voters' boycott of the 2005 Iranian elections: "It's true that Iranian elections are not quite democratic, because the unelected Guardian Council reserves the right to bar candidates. But the real problem here is that boycotting semi-democratic elections ultimately will not make such a system more democratic."

I agree. When we see something we despise, our emotional reaction will be to walk away in disgust, out of principle, hate, or fear. But in the end, engagement is almost always better than disengagement.

Update 1/29: Hoder explains that he has been blogging about Israel mostly in Persian; since English is a second language, it takes him much more effort to update his English blog. But he points us to his host Lisa Goldman's blog for a bit of English-language information on his trip.

Update 2/2: The Jerusalem Post has a good article about Hoder and his journey, and his role as an early Iranian blogger.

Posted by David at January 24, 2006 03:59 AM
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