THE YOUNG WOMAN WHOSE DEATH HAS BECOME A SYMBOL OF THE IRANIAN
26 year old young woman, was killed by a
gunshot on June 19, 2009
Near a protest organized by supporters of
opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
A video of Neda's death found its way out of
Iran, where it was uploaded to the websites of
various media organizations, Facebook and
YouTube. The dramatic 40-second tape stirred
outrage and attracted tens of thousands of
By some accounts of her life, Neda was not
deeply involved in politics. At the time of her
death, she was with her singing instructor. The
two of them had ventured out to witness the
protests, but after being caught in a clash with
club-wielding forces, they chose to head home.
When they stepped out of a car, the fatal shot
Neda, whose name means "the voice" or "the
call" in Farsi, studied philosophy and took
"underground" singing lessons. (In Iran, women
are not permitted to sing in public.) She was
engaged to be married. Several photographs that
supposedly show her have circulated on the
Internet, but not all of them have been correct.
This photo was published by the Los
Angeles Times with a notation that it was
provided by a family friend.
Mehdi Karroubi, an opposition candidate in the
election, called Neda a martyr on his website: "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." In this photo,
Iranian women in Dubai light candles in front of
a memorial for Neda. The identity of the woman
in the memorial's photo (which has been used by
media around the world) is disputed; many say it
is not the woman who was killed.
One of Neda's relatives said the government
ordered the family to bury her immediately.
Family members were barred from holding a
memorial service, an additional wound in a
society where a week of mourning is customary.
This photo, purporting to show Neda's grave, is
said to have been taken by her boyfriend.
Neda has not been the only person to die during
the anti-government protests. Iranian state
television has reported 10 deaths, while the
radio has reported 19. Many believe the true
total is much higher. Because Neda's death was
so horrible to witness and so easily seen, she
rapidly became a rallying point for the anti-