Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back to tales of resilience: Navid Mojahed

Half of the glass is always full, such is the nature of nature!

Today, after a week of intentional break, I opened my news page to more stories of rape, more confessions to false confessions and despicable acts by thugs running Iran. But I also came across the sad news of the death of an enchanted young man, Navid Mojahed. I never knew anything about this man. On a friend of his was drawing attention to the death of this 22 year old "genius", the founder of forum enabling the Iranian disabled to blog, to exchange ideas and to push for awareness of social challenges faced by their neglected community in Iran. Navid suffered a muscular disorder that had fully paralyzed him starting the age of 10. Hence, more triumphant is his tale of resilience. I wrote to his friend, and asked for some information on Navid (Navid in Persian means good news.) but why wait when I have already found an interview conducted by another Persian weblog: Mojhdeh (Mojhdeh, too, means good news.)

Below, a translation of what Navid Mojahed had to say about himself:

First, tell us about your age, education and interests:

I am Navid Mohajed, 22, and a resident of Yazd. Because I suffer from Duchenne Dystrophy, with total reliance on my father's efforts, I could study until grade 5. However, due to advanced symptoms, my father decided to home-school me. I wasn't satisfied with school materials only, therefore I study other books that my father provided me. First I studied novels and then was drawn to history, astronomy and science fiction. Then, after learning about computers, my interest shifted to programming. Presently, blogging, web design and programming are my major interests. Recently, I have started working from home, programming for an established computer programming company.

I think our readers are curious to know about your physical condition:
I have Duchenne Dystrophy, a genetic disorder that leads to gradual loss of muscles. I could walk until 12 years ago but I slowly lost my ability to walk. I use wheelchair now, but my arms are getting weak too. As you know, the physically impaired individuals are a huge burden to themselves and to their family; and here I wish to express my gratitude to my family. I owe my success to my father.

How come you were drawn to computers and Internet?
Ten years ago, my father bought me a computer and encouraged me to learn it. At the beginning it was difficult to understand computer books, because I only had elementary education. But, with help from my father I began learning English, and QBasic. Because of my physical disability I was enthralled by creating virtual programs. After gaining some basic knowledge, my father brought me a tutor to teach me advanced topics. And then I started programing in PASCAL. Around two years ago, I started html design and programming. My first project was to design a site with ASP to allow university students access their records via Internet. [This may look trivial to you, but in a Yazd University, electronic education is not commonplace!] After this web site, the Free University of Yazd adopted this program as well. Presently I am working on I could not use any courses to learn about programming and all I know is owed to numerous books that my father has provided me. I have to think him for that here.

How many years have you worked in this field?

Four years, approximately.

You have dedicated most of your weblog's attention to transferring knowledge to your readers. Why did you choose this path?

I want my weblog to benefit its readers, so they won't leave it empty-handed. If we write about our own specialties in our weblogs we elevate public knowledge. This is why I am dedicating attention to educational matters. Of course, I don't oppose personal weblogs. Those weblogs also share their experiences with their readers.

What is the special topic you write on?

Mostly, I write educational material on Movable Type system administration. This is one of the most powerful weblog management systems in the world and is very popular among Iranian bloggers. This system is so wide spread that the need for education about it is tangible. I hope my posts have been useful for readers.

Apparently, you have been encouraging those with physical disabilities to join the web, tell us about that.

Those with physical disability are limited in communicating their opinions and their problems to the outside. Therefore, people are ill informed about the ideas, problems and ... of the disabled. In my view, a web log is the best place for a disabled person to express his problems. In this domain, I have not denied any assistance. So far, I have made two blogs for the disabled:

Getting to Know a Spinal Cord Disabled and
I and MS

How many visitors have you had and what has been the response to your blogs. What do you think of blogging in general? And whom do you recommend it for?

Weblogs have generated a great change in the Persian content of the internet. Presently, if you search a [Persian] word in search engines, you will find the results in the Persian weblogs. In the past, a lot of web sites were built but updating them was was not trivial. Weblogs increase the speed of new-content generation.The greatest impact of weblogs for me has been to get to know different people. Before, in the chat-time, you could not learn about beliefs and knowledge of different individuals. This is more problematic in case of the disabled. The disabled who cannot get out of the house have very limited contact with the society; but blogging allows them to communicate with the outside world. I particularly recommend blogging to the disabled.

Navid has indeed set up an elegant forum for the disabled to communicate on a range of topics! Apparently, the Iranian bloggers feel a great debt to his generosity in sharing knowledge and advancing the infrastructure of Iran's [Green] E-revolution.
May he rest in peace.

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