Bridge blogging

Here is Hossein Derakhshan’s BBC account of his visit to Israel as an Iranian blogger.

Having been born and raised in a religious, pro-revolution atmosphere in Tehran, like many others from my generation, I knew nothing about Israel except that they were “a declining group of Jews who constantly conspire to kill Muslim and forcefully capture their lands”.

That’s why for us Israel never existed except when Friday prayers would finish their “death to” chants with Israel. Everywhere else, even on maps, Tel Aviv was the capital of the “Zionist Regime” or “Occupied Palestine”….

The reaction from Iranians was surprisingly positive. Of the several hundred comments I received from my readers inside or outside Iran, most of them were quite supportive, saying they believed it was a good step towards peace and understanding…. However, only a few known bloggers dared linking to the material on my blog, which was already filtered by the Iranian government, or mentioning the visit….