Iranians on the Internet: Part 2, Iranian.com

Change of schedule – Iranian.com will be part 2 of the day, not Balatarin. Nazy Kaviani is going to read a statement by Persis Karim, who couldn’t make it today. Karim’s letter talks about Jahanshah Javid’s role in the making of the Iranian diaspora via his foresight regarding the role of the Internet.

Kaviani is now reading her own letter about her “life-changing experience” of writing for Iranian.com. She highlights Jahanshah’s characteristic of not censoring or changing content, even when it’s profane or comes from “shameless or killjoy Iranians.” He was one of the first to realize that English was fast becoming the shared language of Iranians outside Iran.

Now it’s Bruce Bahmani’s turn, who is one of the first Iranian.com writers. The site allows him to express his observations. The question that stays is: when will all this talk translate to change? He’s reading this article about bowling that he wrote for the site in 2002.

Ari Siletz remarks on Call Me Anything You Want, Javid’s piece about his various names. He talks of names as larger signifiers. Words and names are powerful agents of creation. Iranian.com has given the term “Iranian” a physical presence of sorts. “What breathes life into this piece of silicon are the divine words, ‘Nothing is Sacred’” (Iranian.com’s tagline).

Elahe Enssani talks about realizing the power of Iranian.com when she announced a citizenship workshop she was running. She introduces Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco politician (who, apropos of absolutely nothing, has the deepest, most booming voice I’ve ever heard). Mirkarimi says he has never written for Iranian.com but when he decided to run, the site was very instrumental to him because it helped rally the Iranian community in the Bay Area. Mirkarimi had 21 opponents for his seat when he first ran for his seat. When he was elected and inaugurated, there was a large group of Iranians in city hall to support him. As a first generation Iranian-American, Mirkarimi learned his own activism, doubled with learning his own identity. And he’s presenting Jahanshah with an award from San Francisco’s board of supervisors.

Finally, JJ is up: He’s thankful for this award and very humble – he says he doesn’t feel like the person everyone just talked about. He says, “All I have done is be a mediocre journalist who was very lucky to have Iranian.com in the beginning… 99% of what Iranian.com is, is what you all have contributed… thank you for your participation.”

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