Sounds Iranian

June 18, 2007

Khatami shaking hands? We were there but didn’t notice…

Filed under: Khatami Exit-2, YouTube video circulating on the internet — soundsiranian @ 7:37 pm

khatami in udine (may 12 2007)

Let me please introduce my self. I live in Udine, a small town in Northeastern Italy. It happens to be the place where Mr. Khatami made the famous handshakes, one month ago. But nobody here did notice. Not until that iranian newspaper, and the world press, did.

There were scores of eyes and cameras on Khatami that day. Reporters, politicians, anonymous citizens, even iranians. And four women. Since the CIA was not invited, don’t expect to find its name in the official list.

Everybody saw the gestures but did, and could not, realize. Not even me, a few centimetres from the nose of mr. Khatami. Filming Mr. Khatami.

When I saw my videos of mr. Khatami the first time and decided putting them on “YouTube”, I was aware I was taking some kind of risk. But not for this. This was truly unexpected.

I am now working hard putting all the materials I have collected on the Khatami’s visit and the aftwerwards. A sort of dossier is coming out, with newspaper articles from everywhere and, most of all, commentary by iranians living in Persia and everywhere else in the world. The small but sharp debate on the “YouTube” site of our most famous video, “Khatami Exit-2”, gives you a taste of of this interesting atmosphere.

Someone in effect thinks this is the real news, and I tend to agree. With plenty of blogs and forums discussing and flaming on handshakes, women rights and freedom under the photograms of my videos, and the link of “Khatami Exit” duplicating terribly fast, I could not have a different opinion.

I am offering to the friends of “Sounds Iranian” my first reflection on the event outside the borders of my blog “la casbah di Udine”. Please pardon me if it is a poor chronicle. I promise to offer you more and hope to receive all kind of comments and requests from you. I will be glad to shed some light on the european side of this strange scandal. A scandal born and grown up in the middle of somewhere between Italy, Iran and the Internet

I will not leave you whithout offering a sign of friendship. Videosigns. They won’t be the last.

Administrator of: “La casbah di udine”

Khatami shaking hands part II
Khatami shaking hands part III
La casbah di Udine web site

Former “Exit-2”, now “Shaking hands”



June 13, 2007

Global Voices goes Farsi: ‘South-to-South’ bridge building (?)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jordan @ 6:02 am

The other day, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Global Voices has launched a Farsi-language version of their blog.

So far, the content is humble, but poignant – Farsi translations of some prominent Egyptian bloggers’ posts on imprisonment, torture, religious discrimination and strikes in their country.

Reading over these first few translations got me thinking once again about blogging as bridge building. Even this very basic instance of Arabic-Farsi crossover is an example of how it can work between developing nations, crossing linguistic and sectarian barriers, just as much as it can serve to link the disconnect between north and south.


June 5, 2007

Iranian blogs as a part of the Public Sphere?

Filed under: crosscultural, research — soundsiranian @ 9:01 am


The photo is from a blog event where “The Frogomist Award” (Golden Frog) for the best Iranian blogs in various categories was given.

I have just finished my master’s thesis which focuses on the Iranian blogosphere. The purpose of the thesis is to examine how blogs become a part of the public sphere. When I talk about the public sphere in this context I primarily refer to the press. I had the chance to go to Iran in April for three weeks on a grant from the Danish Institute in Damascus, where the purpose is to encourage cultural and scholarly exchange between Denmark and the Muslim worlds.

Unfortunately I do not read Farsi but I have read a lot of examples from blogs that were translated, and have followed some of the Iranian blogs in English. My primary source of information was communication with Iranian bloggers who discussed the content of their blogs as well as their experiences and ideas about blogging. In Iran I met with ten different bloggers.
The bloggers I met had very different profiles regarding age and gender. Some of them focused on social and political matters, while others had blogs that were more personal. A lot of the bloggers I talked to were only writing in Farsi even though their English was extremely good. They said that they felt that the subjects they wrote about were mostly relevant for Farsi speaking readers inside or outside of Iran. A few even expressed that they did not want to add to the negative picture of Iran that Westerners seem to have. So they would rather keep their critique to themselves and their fellow countrymen.

On the other hand, I believe that blogs are a way of opposing prejudice. The blogosphere enables a pluralistic exchange of opinion and contributes to the eradication of prejudice. Most of the bloggers I talked to explained that they are participating in the blogosphere regardless of whether they agree or disagree with the blogs they read. This indicates that the blogosphere is not just a free-for-all for ideas, but at the same time promotes networking and allowing people to be better informed as well as more politically conscious citizens. Reading about everyday life in Iran and seeing pictures on a photo blog from Tehran might change a lot of Western idea about Iranian society. One of the Iranian bloggers I met developed a more nuanced view of the hejab after reading about women who actually wore it voluntarily.

The conclusions in my thesis have changed somewhat after my trip to Iran. Before my departure I was very optimistic about the possibility of mobilizing public opinion by means of internet and blogosphere. I am still optimistic, but perhaps a bit more realistic. Although the virtual and real worlds are interconnected, there are still important distinctions between the two. On the one hand, the internet can have a very positive effect on the people who communicate with each other, but from there to real life outside cyberspace is something else. The society-transforming potential of blogs depends on how the medium is utilized, since technological media are only instruments for social interactions. As with all other media, the social context determines how blogs function as a part of the public sphere.

I am very interested in knowing what other blog-specialists think of my conclusions? Are they too pessimistic – too optimistic?

– Caroline Nellemann

March 26, 2007

Medical Research Exchange with Iran

Filed under: crosscultural, exchange, medicalresearch, research — soundsiranian @ 2:10 am


This image is from the moment when I launched a new site called Iran Medical Research Connect.
Right now it is hosted on

Iran Medical Research Connect is a community building web portal that will connect medical professionals from Iran and around the world.

The intention is to help medical educators, professionals, and researchers to share papers, learn about projects and events, and to connect with Iranian and non-Iranian medical professionals from around the world.

It is a user-test, which i developed because a number of doctors and researchers that I know in the medical field are working with Iran, and were interested in having a place to come together, connect, and exchange information and ideas. I want to see how different tools can facilitate cross-cultural exchange projects. You can read more about my thoughts as i update them in my thesis site.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining, please email me at
and I will then send you an invitation. Once you join, you can add other members as well!

I am planning on making a site that could be for medical researchers, one for artists and filmmakers, but all dealing with getting people to connect on a grassroots level, with little or no government intervention.

Comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thanks,

February 19, 2007

Petrossian on Article XIX

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jordan @ 6:07 pm

Another quick update: fellow blog researcher Celine Petrossian has been interviewed by Article XIX about her qualitative research on Iranian blogging in the diaspora. Check out what she has to say here.

February 7, 2007

Survey results

Filed under: General — Jordan @ 5:14 pm

Hi all. Just wanted to let you know that a paper outlining the results of my 2006 survey of Iranian blog-readers is now available online.

Thanks to the U.K.-based free-speech organization ‘Article 19,’ who were kind enough to provide the hosting, you can view the paper here,
along with an interview giving the basic gist, here.

January 14, 2007

Iranian bloggers as pollsters (?)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jordan @ 4:02 pm

Last Friday, I met with the people at Angus Reid Global Monitor to discuss the possibility of conducting an online poll of Iranians, using the blogosphere as our point of access.

The original idea was to create an online poll for bloggers and blog-readers, a la the Iranian Weblog Research Project.

Dr. Reid himself, however, offered up a different idea: to ask Iranian bloggers to serve as individual pollsters, whereby the Global Monitor would supply, say, 100 bloggers with a short series of about 5 yes/no questions, and the bloggers would then go out into the street and ask, say, 10 different people (each from a different age group), about their opinions vis-a-vis the questions. The bloggers would then submit their findings to the Global Monitor via an online data-entry site, and the Monitor would publish the results.

The sorts of questions to be asked would be on typical western-interest stuff… i.e. respondents’ views on the nuclear issue, the holocaust, a possible US military strike, etc.

What do you think about this idea? Do you think bloggers in Iran would be willing to go out onto the street to ask people these sorts of questions?

I think the idea behind this sort of ‘on-the-street’ methodology is to use the blogosphere to provide a more accurate sampling of the (urban) Iranian population as a whole, rather than to procure a sample derived only from a very narrow blog-reading demographic.

Do you think this would be a safe and/or feasible approach? Can you think of a way to achieve a similarly ‘representative’ sample, without requiring bloggers to do any off-line legwork that could potentially reveal their identities?

Any input would be appreciated!

Google Map ‘mashups’ as political tools

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jordan @ 3:32 pm

Hi all… just before the new year, Hamid forwarded me this link. It’s an innovative protest blog run Tunisian dissident Sami Ben Gharbia, who has used a Google-map ‘mashup‘ to identify and describe all the major prisons in his country. He includes a number of interesting links to flash- and video-productions on Tunisian political prisoners. One of the most interesting things about the site is the form itself – it’s an almost wholly graphic interface, and therefore much more intuitive and engaging than the standard print blog. Worth a peek.

January 13, 2007

Networking Theory

Filed under: Uncategorized — calexander @ 7:05 pm

Does anyone have any good sources on networking theory, or know of research applying networking theory to the blogosphere? I’m sure there is tons. I read some a while ago but I can’t seem to remember where. I think that the Iranian blogosphere would be an especially interesting subject for this research, not least because of the implicitly politicized nature of blogging in Iran and because of the huge expat Iranian blogging community. Thanks.

January 10, 2007

The Feed

Filed under: Uncategorized — soundsiranian @ 3:21 am

Folks, Kamangir is speaking, the fancy icon has the feed address.

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