Foiling%20Exile - Foiling Exile via t he I nternet York to...

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Foiling Exile via the Internet From Page 1 est and bloodies~ protests since the 1979 revolu - tion; I wanted to tell the st01)l, to cdntinue being part of Iran's fate. I was desolate at the thought of being cast out, with my friends dispersed, my contacts unreachable. More than anything, I feared falling into what - Iranian journalists call "the exile syndrome" - my understanding of Iran would be frozen in the. moment of leaving, and I'd be unable to keep up with events on the ground. No doubt the govern- ment expected the same for me and others. As thingi;l worked out, we could not have been more wrong. Protest was not about to die in Iran. Neither was news about it, nor our part in telling the story. Three things have made alI the difference: the global reach of the Internet; the networking skills of exiled journalistS and our sources; and the resourcefulness of Iran's dis - sidents in sendirig information and images out. When I reached Toronto (I had acquired dual citizenship there while a student), I did' feel alone and overwhelmed at first. I realized, for the first time~the toll that the stresses of work - ing in Tehtan had been taking on me. I felt a bit like an abused child who had not dared speak about the abuse while it was occurring. In my mind, I went over the times when sources who had been released from prison told me that interrogators had shown them pictures of people outside my home - a signal of how closely my life was being monitored. It had made me fear anything odd happening in public, like the time a sloppily dressed man on a scooter cut me off, flashing a pistol and handcuffs under the back of his shirt as I drove near my home. He dismounted to yell at me. I locked myself in the car. Then he disappeared. After that, I never again took my two toddlers to a public park in Tehran, fearing they would learn too much about the dangers their mother faced. SOOn after reaching Toronto, I went to New York to cover a hunger strike in support of the Iranian opposition. I was stunned to see more than a dozen former sources of mine - onetime members of Parliament, activists' and bloggers - who had gone into exile a few years before. Some were so well informed that they seemed to have just come from a meeting in Tehran. For me, that was like a new dawn: rather than . being cut off, I had made contact with another Iran - a virtual one on the Internet, linking re - formers abroad to bloggers and demonstrators still inside the country, and to reporters and sources outside. In fact, by following blogs and
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  • Spring '11
  • STAFF
  • Ruhollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, quiet Tehran street, reformist Grand Ayatollah, Ayatollah Ali Khame­

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