ORIGINAL POST 26.1.07: Persian bloggers. They are our new neighbors. Maybe its time to meet them. PersianBlog.com is a large portal and a good place to start . . . if you speak Persian and Blogs by Iranians if you dont.
I dont speak it, but I have a personal connection to the Persian language. A distant relative of mine, W.A. Clouston, was a well-known translator of Persian fables and the perhaps the guy who introduced much of the poetry of Saadi to the English speaking world back in the 1800's . One of his books is called "Flowers from a Persian Garden". I cant afford a copy of the actual book, but an online version at Gutenburg.org lets me see some of what he wrote and why he loved the Persian language. Its a language I would consider learning if I had the time. And if i was a bit younger and had more time. But in the meantime, I give out a big HELLO to the Persian bloggers.
The country of Iran and the scattered Persian speakers around the globe are on the map at the moment. In the political world, there are threats and potential conflicts. An email this morning seemed to raise the paranoia level to a new height. I think America craves a daily dose of terror just like I need my tea in the morning.
On the radar of Christian missions, there is much interest in the huge number of Persian speakers globally who are returning to their roots as either Zoroastrian or Christian. In fact, the amount of Iranians, in Iran and in the global diaspora, who are turning to Jesus as a result of dreams and miraculous intervention is quite staggering, but not something the MSN want to talk about. There was a meeting in London yesterday for Persian Christian leaders to discuss what to do with all the very recent church growth among them. Apparently, about half of the new Persian Christians are opting for house churches and the other half are plugging into existing church models. I have heard that this kind of distribution is also happening globally. In Iran, believers in Jesus are still persecuted and threatened with the death sentence, as reported last month on WorldNetDaily, but the movement seems to be unstoppable.
But there is another reason why i am very interested in Persian speakers at the moment - The Persian Blogestan
The first Persian blog was born on my birthday - Sep 7, 2001. By 2004, The Times said that Persian was the fourth most widely used language on web logs. Iran now has the 9th rank in the world for the number of blogs. [Source: Persian Weblog, quoted in "Experiments on Persian Weblogs" [PDF]. Add to that the number of English language blogs written by Iranians living abroad and its a LOT of blogs. At least 700,000 although the number of active blogs is much lower - perhaps 40,000 to 110,000 according to Wikipedia
Technorati claims Persian (Farsi) is among the top 10 languages of the blogosphere, as illustrated by this graph. It doesnt show the non-blogging internet, where Persian is a larger contributor than people realize. Iranians are very much at home on the internet and even studying religion involves uploading large quantities of writing online.
BTW - I say "Persian" and not "Farsi". This is the advice given by Persian speaking bloggers.
Arabic doesnt make the Technorati's chart, despite the large Arabic speaking population. I spoke to an Iman last year at a mosque in Gloucester about the absence of Moslems in the blogsphere. He told me the Moslems are very wary of the internet and its close connection to pornography, which is why he warns his young people to keep away from blogging and internet exploration. Thats not to say there are not Moslem bloggers -because there are many. 5 years ago, I used to keep in touch with Adnan, a Moslem blogger who mentored many young Moslem bloggers. Adnan was a great blogger, and i took the some ideas from him on graphics.
Anyway, all very interesting, innit?
Also, Persian doesnt make it on many graphs because, although there is a huge amount of blogs and internet content, the amount of posts seems to be greater in other languages, especially Japanese which ranks highest due to mobile phones. Either that, or Technorati have only just started to recognize Persian blogging in the last six months.