[My Gang] Bob Marley - Redemption Song : Reco of the Week 23 Jun 09


Jun 23 2009, 21h32

Track: Redemption Song
Artist: Bob Marley
Tags: , , ,
Video: Click the pic...

YouTube, acoustic version
How long shall they kill our prophets, While we stand aside and look?

Her name was Neda

Neda Salehi Agha Soltan, 1982 - 2009

If I was deeply upset when I realised the crisis in Iran was serious last week Monday, it was nothing compared to the moment I watched what happened to Neda on Saturday evening. It's three full days now and I am still weeping.

I am not alone. Despite Neda's story not reaching mainstream 'old' media until quite late, the internet was raging with anger and openly wept with me. People across the world were horrified. Grown men cried and cried and admitted it. Parents looked at their children anew, kissing them like newborns no matter what their age. But all these responses came later. For the first few hours, there was silence.

The footage of Neda's death isn't the only one on the streets of Iran we have seen. There are many, many more. So what makes Neda's so powerful? Watch this video, a clip from CNN:

Melody Moezzi on the meaning of Neda

The delivery is emotional but she wasn't the only newsreader or public speaker to break down. People are saying Neda's death is the defining moment in this crisis, that her death will make a significant impact on coming events, maybe turn things around and bring major change to the Middle East. To understand why, you need to watch Neda's death. There aren't enough warnings for this video. YouTube has reluctantly allowed it but given it an 18 rating.

The defining moment of this crisis doesn't stop at the death of an innocent bystander. The defining moment that brought the issue home to each and every one of us is the piercing eye contact she makes with us just before she slips away.

In that moment, we're not watching her on a screen, we're transfixed, stunned at the unexpected direct eye contact. We forget where we are and for that second, we are right there in the street beside her. The shocked voices we hear around us are our voices. The screams we hear when she passes are our screams. That's the defining moment. That second. And we continue to watch, not believing what we have seen, hoping for signs of recovery that never come.

This is why Neda is being called Iran's Marianne, Iran's Joan of Arc, The Angel of Iran, The Voice of Iran, the martyr. When she looked at us, she connected with us. We connected with her. We registered her shock before we registered our own.

That look stripped away anonymity and distance and brought us her humanity and her fragility. That look showed us the meaning of injustice. That look showed us the crime. Our grief for her is fuelled by the unfairness of what happened. We are repulsed by the senseless act of the Basiji militia, a troll with a gun, who hid on a nearby civilian rooftop and picked her out for no reason other than she was female and she was there.

Whilst Neda's death is acknowledged by world media, Obama saying in his speech today, "It's heartbreaking. Anybody who sees it knows there is something fundamentally unjust about that.", Iran's state television suggest her death was staged, saying Neda was not shot by a bullet used by Iranian security forces.

Neda was a pacifist. She wasn't going to participate in any violence, she had intended to show her support by her mere presence. She was a happy person who enjoyed life, who loved and was loved. She has been described as a shining light by friends and family. Her fiancé said, "She didn't believe that we always have to fight and quarrel and be violent and have death. There's only one thing (Iranians) must fight and that's ignorance. And you don't fight ignorance with a sword or a gun. You turn on a light."

Although her family had difficulty getting her body from the authorities to bury her, they were able to fairly quickly (I presume they didn't have to pay the $3,000 'bullet fee' beforehand) and buried her the following day. She was denied a proper funeral and all memorials were banned by authorities. People gathering to remember her on Monday were quickly dispersed. Iranian authorities know what they have done and do not want Neda to become a martyr, they want to stop this in its tracks. But it's too late. Thanks to social media, Neda is a martyr even in the eyes of those who aren't religious. Obama was right - it is enough to bear witness and to just watch. Her death has been seen by millions and everyone, from ordinary people to heads of state, is mourning her.

You might like to read about Neda, find out what sort of person she was:
CNN: Iran’s Neda: Slain woman an unlikely martyr
LA Times: Family, friends mourn 'Neda,' Iranian woman who died on video

There are many songs written for Neda already, this one is comforting, but I decided to choose Bob Marley's Redemption Song because I've always loved it and because it was written in 1979, the year of Iran's last revolution.

You'll be interested to know there were three million more votes than there were voters. And Neda wasn't even one of them; she didn't vote.

انا لله و انا اليه راجعون

inna lillah wa inna 'ilayhi raji'un
We belong to God, and to God we will return

R.I.P. Dear girl.

UPDATE: 24 June 09 Guardian Neda Soltan's family 'forced out of home' by Iranian authorities
Neighbours said that her family no longer lives in the four-floor apartment building on Meshkini Street, in eastern Tehran, having been forced to move since she was killed. The police did not hand the body back to her family, her funeral was cancelled, she was buried without letting her family know and the government banned mourning ceremonies at mosques, the neighbours said.
Worse Than We Thought?

UPDATE 25 Jun: BBC News, Iran doctor tells of Neda's death

Babs My Gang, Iran (The Green Revolution)

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Admin - Stats as of today:

Last.fm listeners of this track - 112,138
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 587,988
Position in Last 7 Days: 10 / 2,532
Position in Last 6 Months: 14 / 31,835

Date Added: 26 September 2007
Views: 1,117,812, Ratings: 1,892, Comments: 1,707, Favourited: 5,406 times

Stats after 7 days:

Last.fm listeners of this track - 112,908
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 592,616
Position in Last 7 Days: 10 / 2,532
Position in Last 6 Months: 14 / 31,835

Views: 1,165,243, Ratings: 1,982, Comments: 1,760, Favourited: 5,627 times

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