Well, this sucks. Hossein Derakhshan, one of the great pioneers of international blogging and freedom of speech online — a friend of democracy and, one should assume, America — has been barred from re-entering the country for six months. He tells the tale on his blog. The long and short of it is that on a quick trip between the U.S. and Canada, the border officials — being Homeland Security, after all — Googled his name, found his blog, and tried to find incriminating evidence that he was living and working in the U.S. without proper paperwork. A copy of Newsweek with his name and a New York address finally did him in.
How do we help him? Global Voices, which Hossein helped create, is at the Harvard Law School. I hope they know some experts in immigration law.
I will write a testimonial for Hossein telling how he is advancing the causes of freedom and democracy in Iran and elsewhere on earth.
I will write to my senators.
And isn’t it sadly ironic that Iran — whose dictatorial regeime he challenged starting the weblog revolution there — also questioned him and let him in and out. But America will not let him in.
That is our loss. And we need to fix it.
: Also see today’s NY Times story about the bloggers of China exercising their freedom where they can in spite of companies, including American companies, helping to censor them by building their firewalls and handing dissidents over to authorities.
We have to get our authorities to see that these bloggers are the peaceful freeÃ¥dom fighters of our age, using the internet and free speech as the best weapons possible against tyranny. Isn’t that our fight as well? Shouldn’t we be helping them however we can?