Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am Neda - The New Voice of Protest


Neda means “voice” in Persian.

The young woman who was shot and killed on June 20th this year during protests in Iran also has the same name.

The death of Neda Agha Soltan, 27, was captured in a mobile camera and the video has been viewed by millions through the internet and news channels.

Ironically after her voice has been silenced forever her name has become the voice of the pre-democracy movement in Teheran. She has become an iconic figure of the new protests that began after the elections held earlier this year, which detractors allege were rigged to keep Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in power.

Ever since the Islamic revolution in 1979 democracy has been bound and gagged in Iran. It is ironic that Ayatollah Khomeini, the first Supreme Leader, and now his successor Ali Khamenei proclaim themselves followers of Husayn Ibn Ali the grandson of Prophet Muhammed who lived in the seventh century and is revered by the Shiites as a martyr who fought tyranny. How paradoxical that the followers of one who proclaimed “I do not see death but as happiness, and living with tyrants but as sorrow” have tuned into tyrants themselves.

The Iranian Revolution was the first of its kind in the whole world that shocked the East and West alike. It laid down the foundations of the return of fundamentalism. But the people have now fed up of the Islamic rule although they are afraid to come out in the open about it. They believe the present administration is as corrupted as the old monarchy that preceded the Revolution. Indeed the Iranian people say about the revolution in so many words –“which promised us heaven, but... created a hell on earth”.

The younger generation, of people like Neda, find it "impossible to understand what their parents were so passionate about."

Shiites mourn the death of a person on the third, seventh and fortieth days. During the Islamic Revolution the commemoration of a protestor’s death on each of the mourning days sparked further protests and clashes with police, resulting in more deaths eventually whipping up a tornado of protests that finally resulted in the overthrowing of the US favoured monarchy under Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Everywhere around the world people are watching to see if this cycle will repeat itself resulting in the end of the Islamic rule in Iran.

Protesters supporting the Iranian opposition in cities around the world now use pictures of Neda and carry banners declaring: "I am Neda."

1 comment:

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