Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Remembering Neda Agha-Soltan

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." - Elie Wiesel, Nobel Lecture 1986

 Neda Agha-Soltan January 23, 1983 –  June 20, 2009
 Three years ago today in Tehran, in the midst of the Green Revolution an agents of the Iranian regime shot and murdered Neda Agha-Soltan. She was just 26 years old and aspiring singer.  Her death was captured on video and went viral across the internet providing a brutal image that brought home the reality of the violent crackdown visited on the nonviolent Green movement.

In Iran, the contested June 2009 election sparked an unprecedented wave of state-sponsored violence and repression. Thousands of peaceful protesters were beaten, arrested, tortured, and killed. One of them Neda Agha-Soltan, age 27, was shot and killed on June 20, 2009 during the protests denouncing election fraud. Her fiancé, Caspian Makan, is with us here today, and will address the Summit tomorrow. Neda’s death was captured on video and in those terrible moments reflected the great crime committed by the Iranian government against the people of Iran. Official numbers place the number of killed at 36 during the protests but the opposition places the dead at 72. In 2009 at least 270 people were hanged and in 2010 at least 12 so far. 4,000 have been arrested including journalists and reformist politicians.

Three years later those responsible for this crime have yet to be brought to justice and the regime that carried out this brutal crime along with many others remains in power.  It is precisely for these reasons that we must remember and continue to protest wherever and whenever possible to demand justice.  

Help spread the word to those who may not know what happened and let memory and truth continue to empower the protest against this injustice. Speak out on behalf of those silenced in Iran.



  1. Neda Soltan’s Stone

    Bullet scared
    Your stone bears your purity
    Your stone bears their hate
    And I have been accused of idolatry
    Praying at your martyr’s grave.

    Basiji’s Bullet
    Piercing so many hearts
    Tearing through your flesh
    Striping away the veil
    Your soul’s innocents.

    The bullet
    Opened the wounds of my corruption
    Now my soul bears the acid of their hate
    So, I kneel at your martyr’s grave
    Gasping at your beauty
    Here is Karbala.

    End 2012

    Neda Soltan’s Vultures

    Oh Neda,
    We have gathered here for you
    It is not a proper burial
    It is not what you deserve
    But we have this great honor.

    Circling far above the fray
    Our harsh cries go unheard
    Long after your murderers departed
    We stand your vigil
    We have this great honor.

    Your people do not know
    Where they left you
    So they visit the desert
    It is our place
    We have this honor.

    We have seen …
    This is our service
    And we feed with hunger
    On the blood of your sacrifice
    Our honor.

    We were at Karbala
    And we are here for you
    Hungry for your sacrifice
    It is our service for you
    Allah Akbar!

    End 2011

    Neda Soltan’s Coup D'oeil

    To the cheek
    a vast narrowing
    a focusing
    a smaller centering
    stroke of [the] eye
    Coup d'oeil.

    For each a notch
    The heroes of Persia
    The Strategos of Anatolia
    The charismatic of Alexandria's polis
    Each dies in the valley of one breath.

    An instrument
    Without adornment
    Reduced to its function
    The man becomes something less
    And another decides his purpose.

    Now on the sands of Karbala,
    The warrior cries for the child he has murdered.
    "Oh Allah, I did not want to kill her!"
    Neda, the girl in blue jeans, dies…
    On the streets of Tehran.

    End 2010


    She fell
    Into the arms
    of those who loved her.

    Their hands covered
    Her bleeding heart
    To stop the martyr's blood.

    The girl in blue jeans
    Died at Karbala
    In the streets of Tehran.

    End 2009

  2. Thank you for the powerful poem. We shall remember her and continue to demand justice on her behalf.

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