Iran | News

Neda: An Iranian Woman's Death Touches Millions


A 27-year-old woman named Neda who was killed indiscriminately by a Basij member over the weekend has become a martyr and a symbol for the opposition uprising in Iran. Footage of Neda's death posted to YouTube has been broadcast internationally. It is profoundly disturbing, but its existence and mode of distribution via the internet is perhaps the most potent example of the way new media has proven its power throughout this conflict.


Andrew Sullivan, who continues his unflagging coverage of the events in Tehran, received this email:

"At 19:05 June 20th Place: Karekar Ave., at the corner crossing Khosravi St. and Salehi st. A young woman who was standing aside with her father watching the protests was shot by a basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart.

I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim's chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes. The protests were going on about 1 kilometers away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gass used among them, towards Salehi St.

The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me. Please let the world know."

A later report said she was shot by a Basij riding by on a motorcycle.

More: "The girl in the video below is called Neda Agha Soltan. born 1982, she was a philosophy student. Neda's body has been given back to her family by the police under the condition that there is a quick and disrete / secret / low profile funeral. The Mosques in Tehran are under pressure not to accept the funeral proceedings for Neda. Already the original ceremony at Masjed Al-Reza Mosque located on Niloufar Square was cancelled. It was scheduled for 4.30pm tomorrow. The man with the striped shirt is her father."

TIME writes about the death of Neda: "'Neda' is already being hailed as a martyr, a second important concept in Shiism. With the reported deaths of 19 people Saturday, martyrdom also provides a potent force that could further deepen public anger at Iran's regime. The belief in martyrdom is central to modern politics as well as Shiite tradition dating back centuries in Iran. It too helped propel the 1979 revolution. It sustained Iran during the eight-year war with Iraq, when over 120,000 Iranians died in the bloodiest modern Middle East conflict. Most major Iranian cities have a Martyrs' Museum or a Martyrs' cemetery."


Here's the uncensored footage. Be warned. It's extremely graphic and disturbing.

CNN coverage:

Footage of Neda before her murder:

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    you are the face to this movement.

    Posted by: Tony | Jun 22, 2009 10:46:59 AM

  2. The fight for freedom and equality is universal.

    Posted by: ChristopherM | Jun 22, 2009 11:00:59 AM

  3. Thank you for posting this: fighting against theocracy and fascism is a noble effort.

    Posted by: elcamino | Jun 22, 2009 11:08:53 AM

  4. Rest in peace Neda. I hope that your death will not be in vain.

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Jun 22, 2009 11:14:20 AM

  5. Of course NEDA is not her real name - but it is one that we should remember.

    Every day we wake and enter this violent world is a day of bravery.

    Posted by: Willie | Jun 22, 2009 11:50:10 AM

  6. I couldn't make myself watch the videos. It's very sad, but as Soulbrotha said, let's hope her death isn't in vain.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Jun 22, 2009 12:06:35 PM

  7. Elcamino makes the point! From what I understand, Iran is run by Religious leaders. Please don't let America be run by Religious Fanatics. Freedom and Justice are not the ideals of Religious Radical Fanatics like Mormons and Muslims in Iran and similar entities. I have no problem labeling them as such and I won't apologize. Look at what they do, NOT what they say.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Jun 22, 2009 12:17:01 PM

  8. It's a shame she died but Iran routinely kills gay people and no one seems to care. Why should I care about this?

    Posted by: James | Jun 22, 2009 12:38:00 PM

  9. may she rest in peace

    Posted by: pekemo | Jun 22, 2009 12:53:39 PM

  10. Neda, Neda, Neda...your name is louder than bullest, your name if freedom to the Iranian people...YOU are the messenger to the world. Prayers with her family.

    Posted by: Bosie | Jun 22, 2009 12:56:37 PM

  11. Don't know why someone would say "Neda is not her real name". It's a classic name, WTF? Not all people are given religiously rooted names at birth. Most in fact use classic Iranian names rather than Arabic Koran-ic names.

    (Neda is phonetically pronounced NayDAH)

    There were earlier reports (the day of the shooting) that stated Neda was 14 years old and her name: Neda Duric.

    What is truly disturbing in all of this, is the fact that Mousavi is not the nice guy that Iran would benefit from any more than Ahmadinejad.

    Mousavi was the radical that instigated the US Hostage drama, instigated the nuclear program and in the early days of the Islamic Republic of Iran's coup/take over of the young democracy elected to was Mousavi who prompted the nation to go nuclear via the black market.

    It's possible the nation sees Mousavi as having evolved from his early Islamic radical mindset but I've not seen it to know.

    Also, ex-President Rafsanjani's sister has been arrested and three more of his women relatives along with her.

    What people here don't realize, Rafsanjani is considered what we'd call more moderate/liberal than his radical/fanatic cleric brethren . . . his more 'modern' take on social and cultural mores and his link to supporting Mousavi can give impetus to thinking maybe, just maybe...Mousavi has evolved away from his younger years as a rabid radical violent POS.

    Posted by: Sahar Pishgar | Jun 22, 2009 1:03:13 PM

  12. FYI: Rafsanjani has some seriously hostile opposition within his own tribe (the Afshars) and family relatives.

    His mother and father were known as "dehoti" ...what here in US would be "poor white trash" (his name is actually Hashemian via his father), the Rafsanjani of his name is from his hometown roots, village of Rafsanjan; an agricultural area in the State of Kerman at the edge of the Dasht de Lut salt flats.

    The Hashemian family were very poor, his only avenue for higher education was via religious academies. Once ordained his religious moniker became "Hashemian Rafsanjani"

    As in all revolutions through out history, it is the poorest among the population who rise to the highest levels of hatred, violence and hostility towards those who oppress and impoverished the people. Rafsanjani's earliest hostilities were based against the class system and his family poverty

    Once he and his clerics created the coup that ousted the original democracy after the Shah, he obtained vast wealth (many in the family attest that he was the key beneficiary of black market sales of museums that were pillaged)

    It was his amassing wealth in a suspicious manner (and not sharing like Robin Hood) that created a thrum of 'opposition' against him.

    Another issue that plagued him: his own mother was a well know opium addict yet opium addicts (previously legal to be so) were being executed under his governing while his mother's addiction was allowed.

    Posted by: Sahar Pishgar | Jun 22, 2009 1:15:35 PM

  13. sahar

    - Iran nuke program started under the SHAH with US backing, tools, equipment, expertise, and blessing. Congress tried to pass a bill outlawing US sharing of nuke tech with other countries specificaly citing the shah and Iran, but repub FORD vetoed it

    - The nuke program never ended. It did suffer a bit of decline during the revolution and wasn't started back up, just dusted off as in what thay already had under the SHAH with full US backing was simply dusted off

    - Mousavi is NOT ahmadine-crazy. Mousavi has publicly stated that he wishes to be more open to the west. That denying the halocaust is foolish. That Iran should have freedom of religion giving more freedoms to Persian Jews...Persian Ba-hai (spl chk) etc. Has publicly up[ to just a few days ago stated that he is more than willing to abide by the nuke non proliferation treaty and be fully open to UN investigators. He does not call for the destruction of Isreal. Has publicly stated that the Iranian gov should NOT!!!!!!!! finance and or train Hezbollah or Hamas anymore. yes, it is mostly because he thinks the money should be spent on the Iranian people but that is far different than the current regime.

    -Unconfirmed rumors!!! Rafsanjani is supposedly trying to get the council in Qom to remove the whole idea of a single supreme leader all together and replace it with the council in Qom of 86 religious clerics sort of along the lines our senate but more religious with executive power centered on the president with ahmadine crazy out.

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Jun 22, 2009 2:51:57 PM

  14. PS

    I would say Rafsanjani is more of a centrist. mousavi a conservative reformist. The most liberal being Karoubi

    They are all united against ahmadine-crazy (especialy rafsanjani who has always hated him)

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Jun 22, 2009 2:56:20 PM

  15. What did the Tamils achieve by protesting against the atrocities in Srilanka for 73 days in Westminster? The whole world turned a blind eye or did a weak protest to the abuses and genocide in Srilanka. It would be hypocritical for the West, its media and USA to think anything better would come out of the Iranian protest. Human rights abuses and freedom should not be condoned only when it suits world powers.

    Posted by: Hussain A. | Jun 22, 2009 3:49:17 PM

  16. well, back to the subject.

    It is very obvious that today Iran's old faction Political and Religious combined government style could no long work for their society.
    It is also very obvious that the Iranian need a second revolution to separate those religious Ayatollahs from the government to form a true democratic regime.

    Posted by: Hussain A. | Jun 22, 2009 3:52:07 PM

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