Saturday, April 23, 2011

interview with nooshin azadi

nooshin azadi , writing as "human being", was one of the first people i made contact with when i began blogging about two and a half years ago. it was quickly apparent that blogging was a different proposition for her than for me. she was posting from iran at the time of the elections, and the reaction against them, which were receiving so much coverage in the non-islamic world. much of the coverage focused on the supposed role of the internet on the protests, and the iranian governments efforts to suppress and counter the internet's influence.
i didn't have an e-mail address for her at that time, and communication was carried out through comments on our blog entries. contact was spasmodic, apparently due to the censorship. the political situation seemed (to me) to be always in the background. she would sometimes refer to it directly. i was more cryptic than she, being afraid of compromising her. from my cosy spot in america, it seemed like something out of a john le carre novel. (i don't mean to give the impression i was her only western contact - far from it. her own blog had a lot of followers, and they left a lot of comments and messages.)
the following interview includes some of the questions i never asked her directly then.

1) when you first started blogging - any particular reason? was it connected to your teaching job? 


one day i found myself speaking
but not talking
so i started writing

i was a child then
and still i am


2) do you find a very different attitude toward blogging in iran and the western countries?


geographical directions
happen on flat pages
our planet is a globe
spinning around the axis of love


3) just from looking at the list of followers on your blog - which can be misleading - and from the comments i get the impression you get most readers and response from the united states and other western countries. true? 

some people are less biased
and more tolerant
perhaps because they know 
what bias is 
and how intolerance feels


4) have you attempted to publish your poems and stories in print? i am pretty ignorant as to how publishing works in iran - it seems not to controlled outright by the government, but heavily overseen and censored? 


works like fishing

i love the serene sight of a calm angler 
but not the hideous scene of a hooked fish


5) your site includes work in both english and farsi, but more in english. is this because you have more readers in english?

my language (dec. 21, 2007)


to tell the truth
i talk in my mother tongue

to dwell the truth
i walk in my other tongue


6) the work that appears in english, do you just write it in english, or farsi first and then translate it?


words are unique
they happen just once
water is different from /aab/
and /aab/ is different from l'eau
i'm always thirsty
sometimes i drink water
sometimes /aab/
and at times a bit l'eau

translation is half of the truth
half of the truth is a lie
i rarely lie


7) are there any particular writers or groups of writers that influence you? 


i'm enslaved by words
they have chained my emotions
and fettered my thoughts

like all slaves 
i fight for freedom

8) about two years ago, at the time of the iranian elections, when iran was in the news every day in the united states, the american media constantly ran on about how the web was disturbing and distressing the iranian government. was this really true? how effective was the censorship? did it increase then or was it already in effect?


some people don't like webs spiders weave
they have never seen a dew-dropped cobweb
they wipe them constantly
to clean the house
but spiders are numerous
and so hungry


9) how effective and pervasive is the censorship now? my impression is that it works in a blanket manner, by slowing everything down, rather than by targeting individuals. is this true?


a good tailor always keeps his scissors sharp
but some fabrics are so tough, you know
a good tailor always measures every one of his customers
but some of them are are oversized or undersized, you know
a good tailor always makes you look different 


10) if there were no censorship, would you blog more? i mean, really a lot more? 

blog (jan 19, 2009)


a cozy corner
in the colossal cosmos

to cast skin
exhibiting the curious child within

to cage the tyrannical eagle for a while
and make love with prometheus unbound



kathleenmaher said...

Truly amazing, human being and rhoda. Two originals. human being, you seem like a genuine mystic to me. That's not just a compliment, although it is one. Very rarely I am awed.

Dan Leo said...


And thank you both...

rhoda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhoda said...

nooshin is having problems contacting the site directly. she asked me to forward this reply:

dear kathleen... your compliment was a complement to this interview... not that i take it personally but once again you reminded me of the fact that all is sharing!
i'm just a coward crow sitting in a tree... watching the vibrating souls of people dancing to the rhythms of life... praising them with my awkward caws!

dear Dan Leo... thank YOU for listening to crow...

dear timmy/rhoda... caw caaaw!