NEDA: TO DIE YOUNG FOR FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY
WARNING: Contains very graphic images you may find distressing
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NEDA SOLTANI: A YOUNG MARTYR FOR FREEDOM
Neda Salehi Agha Soltan (Persian: ندا آقا سلطان ; born 1982, died June 20, 2009; age 26–27) was an Iranian woman whose killing, during the 2009 Iranian election protests, was captured on video by bystanders. The graphic videos were posted on the Internet, and her name quickly became a rallying cry for the opposition. Neda means “voice” or “calling” in Persian, and she has been referred to as the “voice of Iran” and “a symbol of pro-democracy protesters battering the Islamic regime” in the world.
Circumstances of death
On June 20, 2009, Neda, along with her music teacher, was participating in a protest march on Kargar Avenue in the city of Tehran when she was shot. Undated amateur videos of Neda’s apparent death were uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, and spread across the internet virally. The videos were accompanied by a message from an anonymous individual who claimed to have been present when the video was recorded:
At 19:05 June 20th Place: Kargar 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.”
Discussions about Neda on Twitter, using a hashtag of #neda became one of the “‘trending topics'” by the end of the day on June 20, 2009. The authenticity of the videos, the location of the incident, and the identity of the alleged killer have not yet been independently confirmed by the mainstream media. Neda’s death was not reported by the state-controlled Iranian media, but was reported by international media. CNN has shown the video multiple times, both with and without censoring of the blood as it poured out of her mouth and nose.
There are two videos depicting Neda’s death; one shows Neda collapsing to the ground, apparently still conscious. The second shows Neda only after she appears to lose consciousness and begins to bleed heavily.
The first video appears to have been recorded using a mobile phone. The cameraman approaches a group of people huddled together in front of a parked car at the side of the street. As he moves closer, Neda can be seen collapsing to the pavement with a large bloodstain at her feet. Two men, one presumed to be her father, are seen trying to revive her; as seconds pass, her eyes roll to one side and she appears to lose consciousness. Blood begins to pour from her nose and mouth, and screams are heard.
At this point in time, the second video begins. The cameraman approaches Neda and the two men; the camera passes over them and centers on Neda’s face; her stare is blank and she is bleeding profusely from her nose and mouth. Loud screaming can be heard.
The man next to Neda can apparently be heard speaking in the first video, saying her name;
“Neda, don’t be afraid. Neda, don’t be afraid. [obscured by others yelling] Neda, stay with me. Neda stay with me!”
A third video appeared which purportedly shows Neda at the protest march, before her death.
- Iranian presidential election, 2009
- 2009 Iranian election protests
- Timeline of the 2009 Iranian election protests
- ^ In Iran, one woman – Neda – becomes a symbol
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- ^ http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/06/21/iran_news
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- ^ Chua-eoan, Howard (June 21, 2009). “What the World Didn’t See in Tehran“. Time. ISSN 0040-718X. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1906040,00.html. Retrieved on June 21, 2009.
- ^ “Iran TV says 10 died in protests“. BBC. June 21, 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8111352.stm. Retrieved on June 21, 2009. “Witness accounts on Saturday suggested police used live rounds, batons, tear gas and water cannon to break up demonstrations which went on late into the night. Among unconfirmed material posted on the internet after Saturday’s protests, a brief graphic video clip appearing to show a teenage girl dying from a wound, has fuelled anti-government feelings. The girl, who has been called Neda, had been protesting with her father in Tehran when she was shot.”
- ^ “Neda: The Voice of Iran” (in English). http://threatswatch.org/rapidrecon/2009/06/neda-the-voice-of-iran/. Retrieved on June 20, 2009.
- ^ “Iranian Womans Martyrdom Told on Facebook Spreads Protests”. Digital Journal (Newstex LLC). June 20, 2009.
- ^ *“Young girl being killed by plainclothes”. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0db_1245519048. Retrieved on June 22, 2009.
- ^ “Girl Shot by Police – Second Angle”. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fe5_1245534854. Retrieved on June 22, 2009.
- ^ “Neda befor she was shot”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWHT37pQmmE. Retrieved on June 21, 2009.
- “Author Paulo Coelho blogs about Neda, affirms he knows “the doctor” on the scene”. http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2009/06/22/iran-by-neda/. Retrieved on June 22, 2009.
- “Les images de la mort de Neda bouleverse le web – Metro”. http://www.metrofrance.com/infos/les-images-de-la-mort-de-neda-bouleverse-le-web/mifu!sog2irqCVnXgk/. Retrieved on June 21, 2009.
- “Neda, la ragazza uccisa a Teheran diventa il simbolo della rivolta – esteri – Repubblica.it”. http://www.repubblica.it/2009/06/sezioni/esteri/iran-5/iran-5/iran-5.html. Retrieved on June 21, 2009.
- “Deaths confirmed in Iran unrest“. Aljazeera.net. June 21, 2009. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/06/200962183455848331.html. Retrieved on June 21, 2009. “Reports on community-driven websites such as Twitter claim a number of protesters were killed by police in the clashes. One video uploaded to YouTube on Saturday alleged to show a teenage girl – being called Neda – dying on the street after being shot by police. Al Jazeera was unable to verify the authenticity of the video or other reports of violence due to an official ban on independent reporting in the capital. However, on blogs and social-networking websites, Neda was being held up as a symbol and a martyr for the protesters.”
- “Aufruhr im Iran : Neda, die Märtyrerin – Politik – STERN.DE”. http://www.stern.de/politik/ausland/:Aufruhr-Iran-Neda,-M%E4rtyrerin/704202.html. Retrieved on June 21, 2009.
- “Le Figaro – International : Neda, martyre de la contestation et icône du web”. http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2009/06/21/01003-20090621ARTFIG00119-neda-martyre-de-la-contestation-et-icone-du-web-.php. Retrieved on June 21, 2009.
- “Sterben in Iran: Neda, die Ikone des Protests – SPIEGEL ONLINE – Nachrichten – Politik”. http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,631670,00.html. Retrieved on June 21, 2009.
- “In Iran, One Woman’s Death May Have Many Consequences“. Time.com. June 21, 2009. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1906049,00.html. Retrieved on June 21, 2009.