Tuesday, June 23, 2009
If you live in a cave like me this week then you have not heard of Neda Soltani's story. I caught the headline along with flashes of bloody images in the gym this morning as I was practically committing suicide on the stairmaster. Seeing the Middle Eastern name in print and the gruesome amateur footage the first thing that came to my mind was that an honor crime was caught on camera.
I plugged in the headphone to the TV portal and realized that no that wasn't the case. On June 20th at a protest in Tehran Neda Soltani got out of the car to walk and was shot fatally in the chest by an alleged militia member. Cell phone cameras caught her last dying moments which were disturbing to watch.
I don't have any original thoughts and I feel I don't understand enough of the dynamics of Irani society to comment. This post is more of an acknowledgement of the tragic loss of an innocent young life at the hands of an individual who most likely abused his power. However I wanted to point out one thing. I noticed in numerous report that Neda is being compared to civilian symbols of heroism during times of conflict such as Tiananmen Square's Tank Man, the unarmed protester who stood in front of a Chinese tank in 1989.
The most obvious and appropriate comparison that sticks out in my mind is the story of 12 year old Palestinian Muhammad Al-Durrah. Both Neda and Muhammad were unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally) caught in the line of fire coming from figures of authority (soldier, militiaman). They were not there to fight, nor were they even activists. It's reported Neda didn't even vote in the recent Irani elections whose alleged outcome resulted in the uproar on the streets. Now both are being hailed as martyrs and great symbols of resistance. As fitting as it may be, we won't be seeing any such comparisons in the media in this part of the world.
May your soul rest in peace Neda Agha Soltani.