The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


New Media

Obama in Farsi, on Twitter and

By Scott Wilson
President Obama today stepped up his condemnation of the Iranian government's violent suppression of demonstrations -- and the White House wanted to make sure the Iranians themselves took note.

Obama began his mid-day news conference with a prepared statement in which he said "the United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments of the last few days." Soon after, the White House posted the statement on its website -- in English and Farsi.

In addition, White House staff provided a tweet of the news conference in Farsi and subtitled the web video of Obama delivering the statement in that language.

The multilingual outreach is of a piece with this White House's extraordinary effort to ensure that as many Muslims as possible heard Obama's June 4 speech in Cairo, his outreach to the Islamic world. Transcripts of that speech were posted in 13 languages on the White House website, and the State Department provided a real-time SMS service in four languages (including Farsi).

But the posting today also marks a shift, and perhaps a step closer to what the ruling clerics of Iran might call meddling. The White House posted Obama's more mild Saturday statement on the Iranian violence only in English, and there were no Farsi tweets to be heard.

A White House official said the translation was provided so the "Iranian people could read it in their own language." The official noted that Obama criticized the Iranian government today for mistranslating some of his statements in recent days to make it seem as if he is fomenting the unrest.

His statement today was also translated into Arabic. Will the democracy advocates of Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia (where women lobbying for the right to drive, among others, might take note of Obama's praise for the bravery of Iranian women) be inspired, as well?

Posted at 6:06 PM ET on Jun 23, 2009  | Category:  New Media
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I don't understand the complaints about calling Farsi "Farsi", rather than by the older English rendering, "Persian".

Either term is adequate, but 'Farsi' is probably better... its just about as widely understood here as 'Persian' would be... after all, the country isn't even called "Persia" anymore, but "Iran"... just as the place we once called "Siam" is now called "Thailand", and the former "Ceylon" goes by "Sri Lanka".

Sometimes, as with "Myanamar"/"Burma" the name we once knew the country by was a corruption of the indigenous name by foreigners... makes sense to me to rely on the actual name used by the country's own people...or to a language's own name for itself... if we know it.

Posted by: Observer44 | June 25, 2009 1:11 PM

Farsi is Persian for Persian, so it would be like saying, "The translation will be in Francais." It doesn't make sense.

Posted by: twilightsing | June 24, 2009 3:04 PM

I was interested to see that called the language Persian, not Farsi. I think that even now, the word Persian is more familiar and thus more positive for Americans. Does the word choice have any political significance beyond that, in Iranian affairs?

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | June 24, 2009 1:42 PM

Twitter this, and make it viral...


• Civilian volunteers fronted by federally-funded programs such as Citizen Corps, Infragard and USA on Watch stalk, harass, vandalize, terrorize unjustly "targeted" persons and families with covertly implanted GPS tracking devices -- an unconstitutional extrajudicial targeting and punishment "matrix."

• Reports of torture, disabling injury from silent microwave radiation "directed energy weapons" widely deployed to local law enforcement under various federal programs from agencies that include the Justice Department.

• Feds, locals refuse to investigate victim complaints in nationwide cover-up of alleged atrocities, enabled by co-opted and complicit local police -- an American social genocide/politicide.


OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 24, 2009 9:25 AM


It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

Progressive democrats and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and demand that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

God Bless You


Posted by: JackSmith1 | June 23, 2009 9:33 PM

too little, too late, barry. where were you last week?

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | June 23, 2009 8:16 PM

The people and goverments of the free world, did beg the USA to keep hands off of Iraq, and because of our action Millions of Iraqs people died.
A few people in Iran has die, and we are in not the country to speak out.
This could have happened in Florida in 2000, and i am sure, heads would be busted PDQ, when the people rise up agan the goverment, be it any country the gov has the right to defend it self, you must remember WACO, RUBY RIDGE, KENT STATE. Obama was right to keep his mouth shut.

Posted by: dv1236 | June 23, 2009 7:58 PM

On one hand Obama is right not to interfere in Iran's elections, if they were done by the democratic rules. On the other hand he is criticizing beatings and tratments of protesters, but no word on election fraud. This triggers whole line of questions about USA governement involment in these protests, EU involvment and of course Israel involvment. Iranian government already claims arresting few people that worked for USA, Israel and EU countries. They have them on video tape stating who they are and who they worked for and why. I HAVE A FEELING THAT THESE PROTEST WERE URGED AND INFLUENCED BY SOME OTHER COUNTRIES INVOLVING USA AND ISRAEL. AND ALL JUST FOR THE STAGING OF ATTACK ON IRAN AND CREATING COALITION FOR IT. BOTTOM LINE IS; GET READY FOR MORE SPENDING ON OUR MILITARY AND WARS.

Posted by: BOBSTERII | June 23, 2009 6:49 PM

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