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We are Iran Paperback – 8 Jun 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd; New edition edition (8 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846270030
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846270031
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 645,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Dump your presumptions and enjoy this enlightening selection from Iran's fearless bloggers. -- Arts and Books Review, The Independent

Funny, savvy, thougtful, Iran's online network emerges as an axis of good, and hope... -- Arts and Books Review, The Independent

About the Author

Nasreen Alavi is a British Iranian who gave up a career in the City of London to work for an NGO in Tehran. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I’ve just read a review of this book by an Iranian blogger Shokrolahi (on a Persian website) who has just about issued a religious fatwa against it, even though he admits that he hasn’t read it. There have also been hysterical calls to leave negative comments on the Amazon site. What is the point of damming a book you haven’t even read? And from some of these reviews it’s obvious that these people have not read it. The thing is that they will only force people like me who wouldn’t ordinarily bother to do reviews to write about it.
The book is about everything and anything Iranian. There are examples of people who voted for Ahamdianjad and their reason behind it, in their own words. There are Islamists and ayatollahs and their toil for a fairer Iran, to humanist poets and their fight against censorship before and after the revolution. The young and educated youth of Iran, who are 70% of the population. They are the future of Iran. A few years ago I had the honour of working with underprivileged youth in Iran. The way they think, their aspirations and hopes are no different to my own nephews and nieces, and we get a flavour of the aspiration of Iran’s educated youth in this book and their designs for a Iran of their own.
This book to me was ultimately about the freedom of expression. But I would have liked to see the author expand on some of the issues especially in chapter 4, in that it may leave non-Iranians with unanswered questions. I think my best compliment to this book is that as an Iranian I was consciously trying to gauge the author’s political leanings and bias and in the end I just couldn’t.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book. But I half-heartedly bought it after an overenthusiastic recommendation by an Iranian friend. Yet I was so moved that I must have reread many passages again and again. But I have to warn you this is not a techi book about blogs and the internet and more about Iran in general. It's rather an odd book in that the serious factual stuff is skilfully fused in with the poetic or funny posts by bloggers. We get to hear about the firsthand accounts of revolution, war, falling in love, relationships, and customs to passion for football or cinema. We get to hear from Islamic cleric bloggers to fans of David Beckam.

Above the unique insight it offers are the promises of hope. In a country were 70 per cent are under 30 and educated the future is bound to be promising. With informative societal historical cultural background on all things Iran, the narrative tries to highlight the views and aspirations of Iran's highly educated post-war baby boom generation, and as we get to read: "Throughout the 20th Century baby boomers' have had enormous impact on society during every stage of their collective lives, leading to the post-war transformation of the Western world. Baby-boomers are the drivers of change and Iran's new up-and-coming youth may well prove as significant and influential."

As a member of this baby boom generation, I have always felt that (if only by sheer numbers) we are Iran or will be the future of Iran anyway. I can't think of a better tribute than this book to my generation and the youth of Iran, rich or poor, religious or secular and so on. And I can't see any other way that you could truly see us the way you can in this book. It is amazing how though its diversity it captures the fundamental nature of my generation. We are all there in this moving yet at times very amusing and unflawed narrative.
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Format: Paperback
The only negative ‘reviews’ seem to be from people in Iran, where the book hasn’t been published and Amazon doesn’t deliver to! What’s that all about?
I have just finished reading this book, and the critics of this book are factually correct…the author did not interview 60 million Iranians, and our friend from Tabriz is indeed correct, in that unmarried Afghan building workers are very underrepresented in this book. I can also reveal, having actually read the book, that there are no blogs from blessed cheesemakers explaining the joys and difficulties of making cheese in today’s Iran. But I don’t think the book is the poorer for it.
If our Tabrizi friend is really worried about this, he could publish a periodical to reveal his in depth insight in to the feelings of young unmarried Afghan building workers. But newspaper publishers don’t seem to have a long shelf life in Iran lately. Maybe as he has a computer, it might be safer to start a blog and address this imbalance in the blogesphere?
Yes, by selecting blogs as a source, the book can not be 100% proportionally representative of every Iranian thought. People who can’t read, don’t have a computer, cheesemakers etc.
But that doesn’t make the book less insightful or less unique. What is the next best thing to really reflecting the thoughts of Iranians then? Friday prayer speeches? Deluded CIA funded royalist satellite stations?
For me this book is the most insightful revelation of ANY society I have read. It’s not the view of one or two political analysts, politicians or academics. It really is a slice through all sections of society in Iran that keep a blog.
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