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Neda Agha Soltan's sacrifice
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-08-03 09:15:07
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Most of us have seen the video or the photos of the last moments of Neda Agha Soltan’s life, the 27-year-old woman who died on the street in Teheran. We naively imagine a heroic woman, demonstrating and fighting against a regime that has sentenced her country to pain for years - something similar to the women of the French revolution, waving flags and with their fists targeting the red sky. The reality is very different. Neda Agha Soltan was just standing on the pavement, watching the demonstrators when a bullet hit her and that is what makes her sacrifice even more dramatic.

neda01_400The reaction of the people is equally dramatic. In her eyes, as she lay dying in the street, Iranians saw the hundreds of people who lost their lives in the demonstrations. And and trust me, I know about dictatorships; when they announce a number of dead, the real number is ten times higher and it doesn’t include the tens, if not hundreds, of people who will die in the next weeks while in prison, in exile or mysteriously disappeared. Unfortunately for the Iranian puppet dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, people don’t forget.

And the regime has just pushed things further. Shia Muslims traditionally mark 40 days after a death with a ceremony called the "arbayeen".  Mr. Mousavi and another opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi, had asked the interior ministry for permission to hold a memorial service for Neda in the Grand Mossala. This according to an aide of Mr. Mousavi, but permission was denied. The gesture has become gigantic, since the very same people who supposedly defend religion, are now the very same ones who deny religion. The only argument was that she supposedly belonged to the opposition.

The opposition leaders said they would join Neda's family at her graveside at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. "Hundreds have gathered around Neda Agha Soltan's grave to mourn her death and other victims' deaths... police arrested some of them ... dozens of riot police also arrived and are trying to disperse the crowd," a witness said. Mr. Mousavi was surrounded by police shortly after he arrived, witnesses said. "Mousavi was not allowed to recite the Koran verses said on such occasions and he was immediately surrounded by anti-riot police who led him to his car." This is how a dictatorship fights. Obviously history hasn’t taught them anything: nobody can win over martyrs, and for the Iranian people Neda is the supreme martyr.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the rest of the Ayatollah gang is hiding, too scared to face the reality the people have showed them. The beginning of the end is here and people are determined to reach the end and regain their freedom, a freedom oddly promised to them by the same people who violated any sense of freedom they have today. The funny thing is that perhaps Mahmoud Ahmadinejad managed to win the election with a small majority, but he was greedy the same way all dictators and their puppets are. He wanted it all… and now he is losing it all.

Neda’s last moments will stay with us forever, not only because her face became a symbol of a martyr of the Iranian opposition, but also because it established a new information era. The internet era, in which a mobile telephone and YouTube became the communication tools between millions of people all around the world. If the bomb in the night sky of Baghdad from CNN became the beginning of a new era in the information world, the face of Neda is becoming the symbol of people making the information. It means a resistance not only to the Iranian dictators, but also to the media dictators that often manipulate and control information – as we found out much later regarding the events in Baghdad.

But to return to Neda’s sacrifice. Before the invasion in Iraq, and a lot of times after, I often wrote that people and democracy will find their way; slowly and sometimes bloody, but they will find their way. And they will have the dignity and the pride of doing so themselves, without armed help or invaders with false excuses. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his freak regime are no worse than Saddam, but what’s the measure when it comes to dictatorial regimes? The people in Iraq would have found their own way gradually, just like the people of Iran are finding their way today. What remains is to wish that the number of deaths will stop sometime, now or better yesterday, because one Neda is enough and the tears are too many!
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AP2009-08-04 01:02:51
Yes, they will find their way.
A regime has to be pretty stupid to suppose that it can beat martyrs - and still create new ones every day. Go figure...

Thanos2009-08-04 01:04:45
Amazing isn't it, that they repeat the same and the same mistakes again and again!

AP2009-08-04 01:13:51
It is self-destructive - it's amazing how disconnected from reality and simple social laws of cause and consequence they can be! But then, why would somebody who doesn't have a conscience show any signs of self-awareness?

Thanos2009-08-04 10:10:57
Somehow we should be thankful for their stupidity!

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