Proliferating Iranian Weblogs Give Voice to Taboo Topics

Article excerpt

In a recent entry, LadySun - the handle used by a feisty online diarist - takes aim at the strict dress code for women, grumbling about a guard who wouldn't let her into a hotel, "cuz I wasn't wearing socks!!"

It is easy to see why she is celebrated by her fans as the "emotional voice of Iran's Generation X." Whether the subject is partying or politics, football or feminism, she writes with feeling, and often humor.

A proliferating form of alternative expression in the Islamic Republic, such online journals are a fascinating insight into a closed society, airing issues that may be taboo in public and revealing the underground lives of many young Iranians.

For some, they are an opportunity to write about boyfriends or girlfriends, to discuss film and music, or dwell on fears and aspirations. LadySun, a 20 something professor of English (ladysun.blogspot.com) calls her digital jottings "my naked observations from this crazy world of words and worries and wishes."

Unsurprisingly, however, in recent days many Iranian bloggers are writing about the student-led demonstrations and street violence that has rocked Tehran.

LadySun tells of a raid on a student dormitory by Islamic vigilantes who struck like a "thunderstorm" in the night.

"Dormitories are evacuated and in ruins. Examinations are suspended. Students are wounded, not only physically, but very much emotionally and mentally."

She hates the "pressure groups" (Islamic vigilantes) that use violence to suppress the protests and is fed up with the reformist camp she sees as powerless to tackle "all this chaos."

Her entry reflects the widespread feelings of frustration over the political deadlock holding back change in Iran.

And no-one is spared LadySun's criticism. She lambastes "this stupid Bush" who has "no idea what kind of people Iranians are" yet releases statements in support of the students. …

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