Sunday, September 10, 2006

Why I blog

Tagged as:
The editors at Reconstruction have asked several bloggers to comment on why they blog. Here is my response:

I often get letters from researchers who are doing studies of Iranian blogs. They want to know many things, including why I started blogging. Here is the simple answer: my husband and I started this blog in order to keep in touch with family and friends.

It has proven an effective way to do that. Once we got started, it became fun to be part of the blogosphere’s conversation about Iran. Yes “fun.”

The blog is a way to have a conversation that would be difficult to have any other way.

People ask a lot of questions: “What effect do Iranian blogs have on internal Iranian politics?” The accurate answer is: “I don’t know.” The empirical answer is: “None.” There is no evidence that Iranian blogs do anything more than provide an outlet for a nation of natural storytellers.

So, you may ask, is there a point beyond fun? Well…yes. The blog is a form or memory. I record every day life, every day conversations, and I post many of them. These every day things fade so easily.

The blog also records the process of being a complete foreigner to being a bit more (although not total) of an insider. I came to Iran with a few sentences of Persian and very little concept of tarof or anything else Iranian. I will leave with decent conversational skills, a fairly comprehensive understanding of tarof, and a bit more facility with Iranian culture as it is experienced in Iran.

The best thing I will leave Iran with is a distinctly Iranian sense of the absurd, which is just something that cannot be translated into English.


Hank said...

From the outside, it just let us know that there are still people wired there and that they haven't pulled the plug on the Internet!

As long as we keep hearing from you and I keep in touch with my other friend there, we know there is hope!

Also, I'd like to add that there are people in Iran who are some of the nicest people I've communicated with. keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

You mentioned what you'll take with you when you leave Iran. But what will you do after you leave? Will you work? Will you find a job that makes use of your understanding of Iran? (if such job thing exists) I think plenty of people in the States could use someone to help them better understand Iran.

ET said...

Hey anonymous, If you know of just such a job, let me know.


VSpencer said...

As Hank said above, it is nice to hear that people's civil rights haven't been restricted to the point that they cannot have "fun" blogging. I like your nonchalance in the face of so many cultural and legal restrictions, and I look forward to hearing what your opinion is on the controversial nature of Iran.

Good to hear they haven't shut down the internet there yet,