Recently, Hossein Derakhshan blogged about his denial of entry into the United States. (“Goodbye to America.”) This is really too bad. Hoder’s an insightful fellow, and even if he happened to be one of the 15 or so million living in the United States without official permission, we profited from his visits. I believe that he was one of the fellows of whom Pericles spoke when he said “We throw open our city to the world, and never by alien acts exclude foreigners from any opportunity of learning or observing although the eyes of an enemy may occasionally profit by our liberality.”
Hoder was denied entry to the United States, in part based on things he wrote in his blog about where lives. (At least that’s the given reason.) Not six months ago, he and I shared beer in Nashville. He told me he frowned on the anonymous blogging project I was working on: That blogs need a touch of humanity for them to be credible, and that a name is part of that. I told him that nasty, repressive governments would harass bloggers who used their real names.
In two bits of closely related news, Curt Hopkins is hard at work building the guides for anonymous bloggers in a variety of countries. He could use help with technical review from people other than myself. (When we started the project, I expected it to be fairly technical; it turns out that writing and translation are more important, and I’m glad to see Curt on those aspects of things. We may build some technology later.) He also has a really good post “Why the Harassment of Bloggers by Repressive Governments Will Increase in the Coming Year.” I don’t think this is an instance of that; here the US was enforcing immigration policies, and using blogged information to help it make decisions.
There are more mundane reasons, like you might not want the HR department of a company you’re applying to to find your blog. A friend has just started the “ClueChick” blog to offer up advice for those seeking love via Craigslist (and other) personal ads. She’s decided to leave her name off the ads, and I applaud her privacy sense.
(The mask is by Aidan Campbell.)