Looky Loos: In a Death Seen Around the World, a Symbol of Iranian Protests

TEHRAN — It was hot in the car, so the young woman and her singing instructor got out for a breath of fresh air on a quiet side street not far from the antigovernment protests they had ventured out to attend. A gunshot rang out, and the woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, fell to the ground. “It burned me,” she said before she died.
The bloody video of her death on, circulated in Iran and around the world, has made Ms. Agha- Soltan, a 26-year-old who relatives said was not political, an instant symbol of the antigovernment movement. Her death is stirring wide outrage in a society that is infused with the culture of martyrdom — although the word itself has become discredited because the government has pointed to the martyrs’ deaths of Iranian soldiers in the Iran-Iraq war to justify repressive measures.1

Neda Agha-Soltan’s death triggered reverberations of shock around the world. There was a video taken of her death: showing the ubiquity of camera phones and we are adopting the role of spectator.

1 New York Times 2009


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