Weblogistan

Ben MacIntyre has an outstanding column in the UK Times Online edition, on the astonishing growth of the free Iranian blogosphere. Persian—language blogs now number more than 100,000, neck and neck with French—language blogs as the second biggest language on the Internet. Iranian bloggers call it "Weblogistan." Freedom lives!

The Mullahs are freaking out, of course.

"The Iranian State has done its utmost to smother the nascent Iranian blogosphere. ... One blogger was sentenced to 14 years in prison for "spying and aiding foreign counter—revolutionaries"; in October, Omid Sheikhan was sentenced to a year?s jail and 124 lashes for a weblog featuring satirical political cartoons.

We wonder how many people in Angloblogistan would be willing to risk 124 lashes for speaking their minds?

With looney tunes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in control, the Tehran regime has begun to purge any opposition in classic Stalinist fashion. They will continue to try to beat down Iran's talented and restless people. In the long run the people will win, just as they did in the Soviet prison state. But that could take a long time. There is now an ongoing race between the fanatics in power and the free citizens of Weblogistan.

The single biggest question in world affairs today is whether the Mullahs will obtain and use nuclear weapons before the Iranian people take power. If Iraq's democracy survives next door, Iran may well see the first blog—fuelled revolution in history.

The sooner it comes, the better it will be for the whole world.

Ben MacIntyre has an outstanding column in the UK Times Online edition, on the astonishing growth of the free Iranian blogosphere. Persian—language blogs now number more than 100,000, neck and neck with French—language blogs as the second biggest language on the Internet. Iranian bloggers call it "Weblogistan." Freedom lives!

The Mullahs are freaking out, of course.

"The Iranian State has done its utmost to smother the nascent Iranian blogosphere. ... One blogger was sentenced to 14 years in prison for "spying and aiding foreign counter—revolutionaries"; in October, Omid Sheikhan was sentenced to a year?s jail and 124 lashes for a weblog featuring satirical political cartoons.

We wonder how many people in Angloblogistan would be willing to risk 124 lashes for speaking their minds?

With looney tunes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in control, the Tehran regime has begun to purge any opposition in classic Stalinist fashion. They will continue to try to beat down Iran's talented and restless people. In the long run the people will win, just as they did in the Soviet prison state. But that could take a long time. There is now an ongoing race between the fanatics in power and the free citizens of Weblogistan.

The single biggest question in world affairs today is whether the Mullahs will obtain and use nuclear weapons before the Iranian people take power. If Iraq's democracy survives next door, Iran may well see the first blog—fuelled revolution in history.

The sooner it comes, the better it will be for the whole world.