High profile cases like those of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant sort of make the papers and the mainstream media in the country. Others, less famous, more like the usual blogger, don't often see the light of publicity. No one is actually going to execute a blogger in Canada with state sanction. Rather, the state uses its formidable resources to destroy individuals most people don't know and wouldn't care about if they did. Unfortunately, that usual nobody could be any one of us. Here's what we're moving toward as the Left becomes further unhinged and as the Muslim intelligentsia leads the way to the paths of glory.
THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC VERSUS THE INTERNET
Iranian bloggers under fire
Internet usage is about to become even riskier in Iran. Iran's parliament, the majles, is reportedly <http://technology.iafrica.
The legislative effort is part of an expanding offensive by Iran's government. Since taking office in 2005, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched what some experts term a "cultural revolution," clamping down on Iran's already-endangered free media and expanding governmental interference in social and cultural matters. The Internet has been a major casualty of the effort. Through a series of new regulations, pressure on Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and monthly official bans on scores of new websites, the Islamic Republic has systematically set out to constrict its population's access to the digital world.
All of which provides a telling glimpse of what Iran's leaders really fear. With more than 10 percent of its population of 70 million now using the Internet, Iran is one of the most wired nations in the greater Middle East. And its online community is growing at an exponential rate, expanding 2,900 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to the authoritative OpenNet Initiative <http://opennet.net/research/ profiles/iran>.
So is the number of Iranian weblogs. In 2005, the online Blog Herald estimated that some 700,000 Farsi-language "blogs" existed worldwide, with between 40,000 and 110,000 active blogs within the Islamic Republic itself. Today – bolstered by popular discontent over Iran's internal economic situation and fears of the consequences of the regime's nuclear quest – that number is undoubtedly higher.
Iran's regime has reason to worry. With its growing scope and reach, the Iranian "blogosphere" can give the international community a unique window into the nature of the Islamic Republic, a damning chronicle of its repressive human rights practices, and – perhaps most importantly – insights into its intrinsic social, economic and political vulnerabilities.
A local Vancouver blog has covered the on-going stories of Bill Simpson and Rachel Davis for well over a year, stories of official abuse of human rights that would have the average fair-minded person in a fit of outrage had the media continued to look into this official abuse of citizens and their rights. No, it's not Iranian in its intensity. It is the face of the future for Canadians, though. One person at a time hounded and banned from public facilities, set upon by City lawyers, pushed and bullied by the state in the name of conformity to the Left agenda of general infantalistion. We can't fight every battle. We can support some, though, and we can do perhaps as much as a lot by supporting the struggle for democracy at the local level by adding our voices to the growing crowd condemning the City of Vancouver's campaign of abuse against Bill Simpson and Rachel Davis. Next it could be me. But it could be you. Or it could be the whole nation under a pall of fear, one just short of Iranian.
Every story is local at some point. We don't have to go to Iran to find ours.