The Middle East Channel

Misreading Tehran

In June 2009, Iranians took to the streets to protest what they saw as their country's stolen presidential election. It was a story that seemed to write itself. But it was also a story that the West -- and the American media in particular -- was destined to get wrong in ways both large and small. A year later, Foreign Policy asked seven leading Iranian-American writers to reflect on the events. Here's what they told us.


"What the West Isn't Hearing About," By Azadeh Moaveni
To understand the big stories of the last year in Iran, we need better access to the little stories.

"What We Got Wrong," By Reza Aslan
How the media both overestimated and underestimated the Green movement.

"Iran's Hidden Cyberjihad," By Abbas Milani
Taking a cue from the Soviets, the regime is creating a new Iron Curtain - online.

"A Forgotten Civil Society," Azar Nafisi, Interview by Britt Peterson
Reading Lolita in Tehran's Azar Nafisi discusses Iran's cultural crisis - and how the West got it wrong.

"What We Got Right," By Nazila Fathi
Against terrible odds, the foreign media did a remarkable job covering the past year's turmoil in Iran.

"The Real Impact of the Elections," By Haleh Esfandiari
Far from being a wipeout, the Green Movement was a historic success. Too bad no one was watching.

"The Twitter Devolution," By Golnaz Esfandiari
Far from being a tool of revolution in Iran over the last year, the Internet, in many ways, just complicated the picture.

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The Middle East Channel

The nights' tale

Last month, a group of Egyptian lawyers accused Gamal al-Ghitany, a famous Egyptian novelist and the editor of the country's most influential literary magazine, of printing obscene materials. The two-volume set that Ghitany had just published in his capacity as editor of a government-sponsored literary series had proved wildly popular, reportedly selling out its first printing in 48 hours. But according to his accusers, it was full of "shameless sexual terms" and "sarcasm towards the divine essence."

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