Monday, June 22, 2009

Who is Neda Sultani?

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Neda Sultani (or Soltan) was an Iranian student who was shot (some reports say she was hit in the heart) while watching a protest in Iran with her father (note: some reports say the man gray-haired man in the video is her professor, not her father).

The video of her death quickly went viral on Facebook and Twitter. You can watch it here, but please be aware that you are watching her die -- it's not pretty.

The New York Daily News reports, "An ABC reporter in Dubai said she was told the girl was rapidly buried to forestall a funeral rally."

That report has been confirmed. You can read more details from The Daily Dish's Andrew Sullivan, who has been tirelessly covering the protests.

The New York Times is reporting that protesters held a memorial service for Neda today, despite the presence of armed police.

Could Neda, whose name means "voice," be the protester's rallying cry that tips their cause into total reformation of the Iranian government? Some think so, including Time Magazine:

Although it is not yet clear who shot "Neda" (a soldier? pro-government militant? an accidental misfiring?), her death may have changed everything. For the cycles of mourning in Shiite Islam actually provide a schedule for political combat — a way to generate or revive momentum. Shiite Muslims mourn their dead on the third, seventh and 40th days after a death, and these commemorations are a pivotal part of Iran's rich history. During the revolution, the pattern of confrontations between the shah's security forces and the revolutionaries often played out in 40-day cycles.

Her name has become one of the hashtags Twitterers are using to spread news from Iran: #Neda.

Here's a tribute to Neda and the protesters in Iran:

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