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The World Cannot Avoid Neda's Eyes

5 years ago
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Her dark eyes are haunting. They reveal the intimate agony of a brutal death, but Neda Soltan died publicly -- for the world to see.
I am deeply stirred by the screenshot from a YouTube video showing Neda's eyes as she lay dying Saturday on a Tehran street. A highly connected world allows us to experience things as they happen and that, believe it or not, makes us accountable for those events. They are no longer foreign news items posted on a ticker that does not force us to engage. What is happening in Iran binds us as humans. What is happening does not allow us to be dislocated and remote. It demands our very human recognition.
It has not been independently confirmed who killed Neda, who was 26 years old. But Iranians who posted the video say the Basij, the pro-government paramilitary force, shot her, The Associated Press reports. Nico Pitney of The Huffington Post quotes a BBC Persia interview that apparently features Neda's fiance, Kasamin Makan. He says that Neda was not even a part of the protests when it happened. He also is quoted as saying:
"Neda's goal was not Mousavi or Ahmadinejad -- it was her country and was important for her to fight for this goal. She had said many times that if she had lost her life or been shot in the heart, which indeed (is) what happened, it was important for her to continue in this path," he said.
Whatever her political views actually were, Neda's face now is emblematic of a revolution. Memorial pages have been created for her on Facebook. Twitter is flooded with posts about her and the YouTube video depicting her death is a graphic, heart-wrenching recording.
This open display of anger and pain and protest coursing through social networking platforms connects us to the human cost of upholding the core values of Iran and any country. Every person has the right to judge a government freely and civilly. Elections should be free and without the terror of reprisal. Protesters should be respected, not disabled by tear gas or felled by bullets.
On Monday, the AP reported that a family member says Neda's family was prevented from having a funeral for her. However, an Iranian blogger, according to The New York Times, has identified Neda's grave. A photo on TwitPic shows flowers strewn across a mound of dirt.
But I won't forget Neda's eyes.


Filed Under: Woman Up

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