: Pedram replies to my post below replying to his post about Iran, Iraq, Israel, and America. See also the spirited comments in both places.

I won’t respond to Pedram’s response; it’s late and after a heated charity trustees meeting, my brain is done to a crisp.

But I will make one important point and note it well:

Here is a discussion about the hottest hotbed of issues on earth: the Middle East. It comes from an Iranian and an American — two peoples who have not, let’s be honest, trusted each other for decades. The discussion is passionate and pointed and honest.

Yet the discussion is also almost entirely respectful and civilized.

That beats what you’d hear on the street here or there, or on editorial pages across the world, or in the seats of power, or in the U.N. And — pardon me for turning this into another damned self-referential blog about blogging — but I think this is to the credit of weblogs as an medium. Weblogs are interactive — moreso by far than print or broadcast — but in a more civilized way than, say, forums and that’s because we all own and care for our little corners of this world. I have my little plot of media land and I ask you to respect it as you ask me to respect yours. And so what could turn into a flame war — or, in the real world, a real war — instead becomes an effort to find some understanding or at least education.

No, weblogs are not going to bring us world peace and harmony. You can put away your tapes of It’s a Small, Small World and the Coke song.

But weblogs across the world can create bridges and in this world, that’s something.

And that — to continue my neverending plug — is why I want to see weblogs in Iraq, so they, too, can build bridges.