Poetry From Iran, One Tweet At A Time
Persians are known for their poetry. So it is not surprising that as recent dramatic events have unfolded in Iran, so many Iranians who have been alerting the world have written poetically — even in their tweets. Meet 26-year-old Parham Baghestani. I reached Baghestani in the fabled Iranian city of Isfahan, where he lives. Isfahan is known for its exquisite turquoise domes and rich history in poetry and philosophy.
These past two weeks, Isfahan was also the scene of dissent as protesters took to the streets following Iran’s disputed elections. Baghestani tweeted frequently, sometimes several times an hour; he even tweeted from the voting line on June 12. But what’s striking about Baghestani is not his politics — it’s his prose. His tweets range from the mundane to the spiritual, and offer a window into the psyche and everyday life of an Iranian. Baghestani is an engineering student and Web developer specializing in e-learning and user-interface engineering. Here’s a translation from his twitterverse — or better yet, his Persianverse.
It took the legendary 10th century Persian poet Ferdowsi 35 years to write his epic, the Shahnameh (Book of Kings). I asked Baghestani what Ferdowsi would have thought about Twitter.
Listen to the story on npr.org
Simin Behbahani’s poem for Neda
June 26, 2009 - Simin Behbahani, Iran’s national poet, spoke with NPR’s Davar Iran Ardalan from Tehran on Friday June 26th. She recites two poems inspired by the protests—one dedicated to the people of Iran and the other dedicated to Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman mourned around the world because her death during last Saturday’s protests was viewed by millions on the Web and TV…Watch the YouTube interview
Email from Iran: We are in a “terrible” situation - female University of Tehran Student
June 17, 2009 - NPR’s Davar Iran Ardalan has received another e-mail from a contact in Iran—a student who attends Tehran University. It describes a desperate situation for some of those who are protesting last Friday’s election results, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner in a landslide:
“We lost everything on the Internet; they’ve blocked Yahoo mail and Yahoo messenger and g-mail to us. ... I can hardly come and check Facebook. ... I can’t upload my videos that I’ve been taking for the last 4 days. ... We have very low-speed Internet. ...
“We are in a terrible situation ... you have to help us more than just writing and posting pictures! People are being killed every single day. ...
“Every night HIS (supporters of Ahmadinejad) people go in different parts of the cities and break all the glasses and traffic lights and windows and shops and yell and beat people with metal sticks. ...
“They’ve attacked students in their dorm rooms and killed and beaten many. ... About 300 are missing! (Note from The Two-Way: Tehran University tells Reuters there have been no deaths.)
“Last night they set fire in a gas station. ... I was watching ... and shivering and didn’t know what to do. ... People helped and put it out ... but death seemed so close!”