Thursday, November 15, 2007
Tough Times for Iranian Blogger posted by leninHossein Derakshan is an Iranian ex-pat blogger based in London, widely credited with having been a pioneer for Iranian bloggers - 'free speech' community, that sort of thing. He's currently studying at SOAS where he says he is 'unlearning' colonial habits of thought. The place seems to be improving a little bit, which may be why they've got Gilbert Achcar there now. He's going through some hard times with his friends and comrades in the exile community, and is being sued by a pro-Washington commentator who has misrepresented his writings and so on but has now taken umbrage at some of Derakshan's blog-posts. Khalaji, who has previously threatened Derakshan's internet providers with the result that they discontinued his service, has now dragged Derakshan into a $2m law suit over the latter's blog. Khalaji evidently has the cash to handle such a suit, but Derakshan hasn't, and is appealing for help.
It's intriguing that one of the reasons he is being cut out by former allies is that he has decided that, because of the hysterical demonisation of Iran, he will cease all criticism of the regime in the English-language section of his blog. As he sees it, he isn't going to corroborate the war-mongers. Having arrived in Canada in 2002, ready to experience the much-vaunted Western freedoms, he came to understand something else: the vital importance of Karl Marx:
"I never understood or had any kind of interest in Marxist theories. As soon as I arrived in Canada, after maybe six months and maybe three months of working full time in a company, I realized what he was saying."
As his critiques of western society have become more pointed, he has been heartened by supportive messages from some non-political ex-pats that echo his own journey. "They left Iran with the same hopes and dreams that when they came to Canada or the U.S., everything would be perfect there," he says. "You would have such a happy life.
"When they see the nuances and realities of things in the West, they realize it's not like what they were thinking. They start to question many of these presumptions and presuppositions."
I think it would be a pity if some neocon theologian was able to silence Derakshan's blog. There is a huge wealth of background information on it that Western leftists would do well to get acquainted with.