Neda’s very public death has resonated all over the world and as a result it has galvanized the support of millions of people for the Iranian protesters and their fight against their government’s repression and tyranny. If you haven’t seen the video of Neda right after she was shot and lay dying on the street, it is an important, albeit extremely difficult, video to see as it shows that a tyrannical government will not hesitate, even for a moment, to snuff out its country’s most vibrant, promising young lives in order to maintain control of its citizens. But the thug who shot her didn’t see Neda’s vibrancy or promise. He didn’t even see her humanity. He just saw in her a threat to the government’s power that had to be destroyed.
A point that has been repeated a number of times is that she, just like her name, which means “voice” in Farsi, is giving voice to the uprising. The LA Times has information about who she was and the impact she had on those who knew her:
“She was a person full of joy,” said her music teacher and close friend Hamid Panahi, who was among the mourners at her family home on Sunday, awaiting word of her burial. “She was a beam of light. I’m so sorry. I was so hopeful for this woman.”
Security forces urged Neda’s friends and family not to hold memorial services for her at a mosque and asked them not to speak publicly about her, associates of the family said. Authorities even asked the family to take down the black mourning banners in front of their house, aware of the potent symbol she has become.
But some insisted on speaking out anyway, hoping to make sure the world would not forget her. Neda Agha-Soltan was born in Tehran, they said, to a father who worked for the government and a mother who was a housewife. They were a family of modest means, part of the country’s emerging middle class who built their lives in rapidly developing neighborhoods on the eastern and western outskirts of the city.
Like many in her neighborhood, Neda was loyal to the country’s Islamic roots and traditional values, friends say, but also curious about the outside world, which is easily accessed through satellite television, the Internet and occasional trips abroad.
The second of three children, she studied Islamic philosophy at a branch of Tehran’s Azad University, until deciding to pursue a career in the tourism industry. She took private classes to become a tour guide, including Turkish language courses, friends said, hoping to some day lead groups of Iranians on trips abroad.
Travel was her passion, and with her friends she saved up enough money for package tours to Dubai, Turkey and Thailand. Two months ago, on a trip to Turkey, she relaxed along the beaches of Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast.
She loved music, especially Persian pop, and was taking piano classes, according to Panahi, who is in his 50s, and other friends. She was also an accomplished singer, they said.
But she was never an activist, they added, and she began attending the mass protests only because of a personal sense of outrage over the election results.
Today John McCain spoke about the resistance in the streets of Iran and Neda’s death and the impact it has had on that resistance:
Update: This is obscene. The White House is still inviting Iranian diplomats to the White House to celebrate, get this, Independence Day. Can you imagine the scene on the Fourth? Iranian diplomats, representing the current Iranian government that killed Neda and many others in cold blood for assembling and protesting the apparently fraudulent election, hanging out and laughing it up with Obama and company over barbecue. Ace has more on the White House’s shocking incompetence and, in many ways, cruelty.
Should be an interesting Fourth of July. The Norks will be lobbing a missile at Obama’s home state of Hawaii while at the same time some morons from the State Depeartment will be breaking bread with Iranian diplomats.
What the hell is going on here?
Excellent question. I don’t think even Obama knows. Are you retching yet?
If not, then maybe this will help. Are you a Siemens or Nokia customer? You may want to reconsider patronizing those companies. It seems they sold the Iranian government the technology to spy on their citizens’ cell phone calls and text messages.