Iran Cracks Down on Blogs; Iraqi Woman”s Blog Nominated for Award

Blogs are gaining more popularity in the middle east

It has been reported that Hossein Derakhsan, a Canadian-based blogger, was detained and interrogated because of the things he wrote in his blog – he was forced to sign an apology. Many bloggers in Iran are continually harassed and arrested by the oppressive government. Even with the threat of harassment and jail sentences, according to estimates, there are possibly 70,000 and 100,000 active weblogs in the country.

As the report of Iran cracking down on blogs, another more upbeat story arrives from Iraq. An anonymous Iraqi woman"s "Baghdad Burning" blog now has her in the running for a literary prize usually held for books. The woman, "Riverbend," explains how life in Baghdad, Iraq is for normal citizens. A partial entry from Baghdad Burning:

Spring should be about renewal and rebirth. For Iraqis, spring has been about reliving painful memories and preparing for future disasters. In many ways, this year is like 2003 prior to the war when we were stocking up on fuel, water, food and first aid supplies and medications. We"re doing it again this year but now we don"t discuss what we"re stocking up for. Bombs and B-52"s are so much easier to face than other possibilities.

To visit Riverbend"s blog, please click here.

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