On the death of Neda Agha-Soltan

Written by Henry Adams, Randy Talbot, Hank Berger, and Bill Bridges
Wednesday, 24 June 2009

On Tuesday, the New York Times devoted two front-page stories and an Op-Ed to the death of Neda Agha-Soltan in Tehran on Sat., Jun. 20. -- "Her death is stirring wide outrage in a society that is infused with the culture of martyrdom," Nazila Fatih wrote.[1] -- On his website, Mehdi Karroubi, one of the defeated candidates in the Jun. 12 Iranian presidential election, called Neda a martyr: “A young girl, who did not have a weapon in her soft hands, or a grenade in her pocket, became a victim of thugs who are supported by a horrifying intelligence apparatus.” -- Little is known about her: "Her friends and relatives were mostly afraid to speak, and the government broke up public attempts to mourn her. She studied philosophy and took underground singing lessons — women are barred from singing publicly in Iran. Her name means voice in Persian, and many are now calling her the voice of Iran." -- The government is reported to have "ordered the family to bury Ms. Agha-Soltan immediately and barred family members from holding a memorial service." -- "[T]he very public adulation of Ms. Agha-Soltan could create a religious symbol for the opposition and sap support for the government among the faithful who believe Islam abhors killing innocent civilians," Nazila Fatih said. -- A second front-page story in the Times focused on the media angle of the story and the government of Iran's efforts to control it. -- The information wars in the aftermath of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan are an example of "the new arena of censorship in the 21st century, a world where cellphone cameras, Twitter accounts, and all the trappings of the World Wide Web have changed the ancient calculus of how much power governments actually have to sequester their nations from the eyes of the world and make it difficult for their own people to gather, dissent, and rebel," Brian Stelter and Brad Stone said.[2] -- The Iran crisis is "a laboratory for what can and cannot be done in this new media age — and providing lessons to other governments, watching with calculated interest from afar, about what they may be able to get away with should their own citizens take to the streets," they said. -- Government agents are now "[t]hreatening people who have cameras," and this is "only the latest in a series of steps by the authorities." -- "Even before the election, the country was known to operate one of the world’s most sophisticated Web filtering systems, with widespread blockades on specific Web sites," said Stelter and Stone. "According to a spate of news reports in April, including one in the Washington Times, some of the monitoring technology was provided by Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture of Nokia, the Finnish cellphone maker, and Siemens, the German technology giant." -- In an Op-Ed, Roger Cohen reported seeing a prayer after her death broken up when "the regular city police joined in. This was too much for the Basij militia, the regime’s plainclothes shock troops, who arrived on motorbikes and, wielding sticks, broke up the gathering of about 60 people."[3] -- Cohen described the Basijis as "[t]eenagers, brainwashed from early childhood, scarcely able to grow a feeble beard, they have been ferried into the capital in large numbers, given a club and a shield and a helmet and told to go to work." -- He pointed out that "Martyrdom is a powerful force in the world of Shia Islam. Mourning on the third and seventh and 40th days after a death form a galvanizing cycle. Hers is already another name for the anger smoldering here, whose expression, in my experience, has been bravest and most vivid among women." -- A link to the video (warning: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC) showing Neda Agha-Soltan's death is also posted below.[4] -- In 36 hours, hundreds of people have contributed to the Wikipedia article about her death.[5] ...


Informant: jensenmk

From ufpj-news


Iranians Mourn Slain Woman as Power Struggle Continues

Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers: "Defying an official ban, hundreds of people held a graveside tribute Thursday for the woman who's become a symbol of the Iranian opposition after she was killed while protesting the country's disputed election. Witnesses said the crowd gathered around 5 p.m. Thursday at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, an hour's drive south of Tehran, for a memorial service for Neda Agha-Soltan."



Iran: Military charges family of dead son “bullet fee”

Raw Story


The family of Kaveh Alipour, a 19-year-old Iranian killed amidst protests in Tehran, was allegedly charged a ‘bullet fee’ by Iranian security forces, according to a report Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal. ‘Upon learning of his son’s death, the elder Mr. Alipour was told the family had to pay an equivalent of $3,000 as a ‘bullet fee’ (a fee for the bullet used by security forces) before taking the body back,’ relatives purportedly told the Journal. Details of Alipour’s death remain unclear — he was apparently not part of the protests and may have been killed in crossfire...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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