Sunday, February 13


On the strength of Betsy Newmark's considerable help in posting a link at her site to my post of yesterday on the plight of Iranian blogger-journalist Farouz Farzami, as published in the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle, among other MSN publications, I now join in Betsy's heartfelt appeal to bloggers in the blogosphere to rally in condemning Farzami's imprisonment as a dissident (she was subsequently released after 36 days of confinement and interrogation) and to urge officials in Iran not to go forward with her trial.

Without Betsy's generous assistance, neither I nor my "ACSOL" site has the juice to get enough traction within the blogosphere to encourage bloggers to consider ways in which they can help. Blog storms have proven efficacious time and again in humbling captains of goverment and the mainstream media, and exposing untruths and hurtful biases. Could such a blog storm now come to the defense of a female blogger-journalist (and those like her) who is awaiting trial in Iran for expressing her viewpoints over the Internet on issues of oppression in her homeland? I hope so; I pray that it can be so.

Mind you, I'm not the first blogger to even point to this journalist's plight. Others linked to the Los Angeles Times' story before I did. I confirmed that last night using Google and Technorati search engines. Nor is Farouz Farzami (her pseudonym) the first Iranian to experience this sort of government repression of bloggers and journalists, nor for that matter the first to enjoy support from American bloggers and journalists. As an example of this, I wrote an email to Rodger Morrow last evening, as his blog is in my blogroll, and mine in his, seeking his assistance or guidance (as I had that of Betsy Newmark earlier in the day and with success) in how a person such as I with a small (albeit loyal) readership could ignite some fervor around this issue. He was kind enough to point to one of his own posts, published back in late January, on these same kind of issues in Iran. In that post, Rodger Morrow was pleading for the release from jail of blogger Mojtaba Saminejad, who had gone to the defense of the so-called "Cyber Seven," who themselves had been jailed (and later released) in Iran for expressing opinions online. But Rodger didn't stop there. He also went to bat in that post for yet another jailed blogger, Arash Sigarchi.

As will become readily obvious in reading Rodger Morrow's post, he did a far better job than I in pointing to the growing oppression in Iran of blogger-journalists and for that he's to be commended. He also gave me some ideas, much as Betsy Newmark did, of how I might get the involvement of some bloggers with bigger readerships to wade in in helping Farouz Farzami and the many others who have experienced jail time, or remain confined, and/or face upcoming trials. For that I thank them both.

I want to be clear. I'm not doing this seeking "hits." I'm seeking help for Farzami and others deserving of support. If someone or a group out there in the blogosphere with far better writing skills than I, real journalistic talent, legions of readers, and, even better yet, connections within the MSN and government, wants to run with this, I'll be the first to applaud her, him or them! Absent additional support, my posts on this subject this weekend will get lost in the shuffle, be forgotten by Monday, and Farzami's plight, I fear, will as well.