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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ahmadinejad the blogger

Yes, really. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a blog.
It's hard to believe in light of this Internet repression, but Iran's president is himself a blogger. "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Personal Memos" is the place where he goes to vent and stay in touch with the common folk. He says he allots himself 15 minutes a week to write on his blog, but admits that at times he exceeds this limit.

Ahmadinejad wrote of his blog that "The magnitude of the reception and acclamation from the viewers was beyond expectations." It is a half truth at best. The English version of the site is full of scathing critiques by readers. Nicholas from the United States writes "You're one of the most stupid president [sic] ever. I'm sure about half of the comments posted on this blog are just totally fake and used as propaganda." Gary from Great Britain adds "Why would anybody want to listen to you. You're suppressive." Jack opines: "I hope someone puts a bullet in your head very soon."

What sort of tyrant allows for open debate and harsh critique on the front-page of his own blog? Someone who has clearly studied the playbook of Yasser Arafat. The Palestinian leader mastered the art of offering platitudes about peace in English while simultaneously rallying his people to jihad in Arabic.

I asked one of Britain's leading Iranian bloggers to help me translate the Farsi version of Ahmadinejad's Memos. His homepage in Farsi contained not a single negative comment by readers. The closest one gets to criticism is "Homayan" who wrote prior to the June election: "Last night by seeing your supporters in the streets I realized that you will win. I wanted to say as someone who opposed you to congratulate you . . . I had a lot of criticism but I feel none of them are that important to stop me from voting for you. It's interesting to me how you turned your opponent into your supporter." One Canadian-Iranian student gushed: "I am proud to be the citizen of a country who has a brave President like Ahmadinejad."
I wonder if he blogs in his pajamas. Heh.

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