Cablegate Chronicles: The Internet Habits of Young Shepherds in Iran

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Two sources describe the condition of the Kashgai people, a semi-nomadic Turkic minority in Iran.

FROM: BAKU, AZERBAIJAN
TO: STATE DEPARTMENT
DATE: SEPTEMBER 18, 2009
CLASSIFICATION: CONFIDENTIAL
SEE FULL CABLE

¶9. (C) Both sources noted that pursuit of education beyond age twelve is becoming more common, though this often requires abandonment of the transhumant lifestyle, and is still resisted by some adults as a source of alienation. Defying clan elders runs the risk of becoming an outcast. xxxxxxxxxxxx who ran away at sixteen, to avoid a forced marriage and obtain further education, said that it took many years for him to reforge links to the community. Both said that many young Kashgai males now seek work as unskilled labor in the cities, providing remittances and returning periodically to help out the family. Many of these end up in Turkey, where employment opportunities are better and their native language is understood. Others try to make it to Europe or North America, legally or not. He noted that most young Kashgai are internet-literate, and are utilizing the internet to create and follow Kashgai websites promoting information on Kashgai traditions and culture, connecting to the diaspora, and assisting with job searches and other economic issues. He said that Kashgai young also use the internet to tap into international mass (mainly youth) culture sites xxxxxxxxxxxx claimed that many young herders "follow the NBA... and listen to rap."

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