A Student’s Reflections on the Internet in Iran

the internet speed I was getting in Iran
the internet speed I was getting in Iran
I couldn't get to the BBC's website
I couldn’t get to the BBC’s website
I couldn't even get to our class blog!
I couldn’t even get to our class blog!

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



  1. Royan – thanks so much, as always, for a powerful post. What an amazing experience for your student, and how great that you could allow him the opportunity to find a larger audience. I love his thoughts about the Internet as a “beautiful tool, that allows you to expand”. One of my rules when I’m “purging” stuff in the house, borrowed from Simple Abundance author Sarah Ban Breathnach, is that I must ask the questions: “is it useful?”, and “is it beautiful?”. If it is neither, it should probably be pitched. I, like the writer, think that the Internet is both, and thus, worth keeping.

      1. I thought, upon further reflection, how cool it was that he took screen shots of all his frustration. He was thinking about his thinking!

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