A student of mine wrote a blogpost reflection upon his return from a family trip to his homeland of Iran. With permission from the author and his parents, I’ve reposted it below.
Imagine having a barrier around you, only allowing you to go forward a certain distance, but not expand. This, roughly, is describing a relatively new internet experience. A famous example, is the great firewall of China. Filters and Firewalls are political works, attempting to restrict a person of free internet surfing. I can talk with a little bit more experience on the matter, since I have felt the effects of this first hand. Now, my family and I recently went to Iran for a month to visit family. If you may have heard, Iran was recently suffering fights between the people and the government because of different reasons, and that’s why some things (such as internet censorship) have been strongly enforced. Of course, on a regular basis here at home, I take advantage of the internet to the fullest. This was not how it went in Iran. During a regular browsing, I noticed websites such as reddit.com, BBC, CNN, (and the list goes on) were restricted from access. What I assume is that anything that could give you access to foreign news was blocked. Now, looking through the government’s view, we may be able to find a couple of reasons for such actions, but by doing so, we’re forgetting the big picture. In our times, free internet access could be considered by some as a basic human right, therefore restricting internet access would be in some ways, a violation of this right. The ways that the internet is used by each person is different. I, for one, think of the internet as a beautiful tool, that allows you to expand. That may not be how everybody thinks about it. In the end though, I think the purpose of what I have told you, is to reduce how much a person like me could take our “basic human right” for granted.
By Amir Pseudonym