The violent death of Neda Agha-Soltan is perhaps the most watched in history. The astonishing video which depicts her murder shocked the world when it emerged during the protests following Iran’s 2009 presidential elections. Neda, and thousands more like her, believed that the published result which indicated a clear and unprecedented victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a consequence of flagrant electoral fraud. She was shot dead at point blank range by a Basiji, a member of the Iranian regime’s voluntary militia, on a crowded street during a peaceful protest. The Basiji’s tactic on that day was to scatter clusters of demonstrators by shooting one individual in each cluster. Arash Hejazi is the man who can be seen in that video wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. He is fruitlessly attempting to prevent the transfusion of Neda’s blood from inside her chest onto the Tehran pavement. Continue reading →
THIS BOOK IS a story of failure—the failure of the Islamic Republic, despite thirty years of propaganda and political education, to inculcate in a new generation of Iranians faith in the ideology of the regime. The children of the revolution of 1979 have turned their backs on its values; and this was nowhere more evident than in the mass protests against the manipulated presidential elections of 2009. The young joined the protests in hordes; and the regime’s harsh suppression of these protests, along with the widespread arrests, torture and deaths in prison that followed, were the final steps in delegitimizing the Islamic Republic and its barren ideology.
The generation of Arash Hejazi’s parents embraced the revolution; and their children volunteered to defend it when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980. But when, as young adults, they took to the streets two years ago to ask, “Where is my vote?” they were mowed down by the regime’s goons and security forces. These young men and women were not afraid. They had fought every effort by the regime to isolate them from the West, and now they used their cell phones and their blogs, their videos and the Internet to broadcast to the world the violence taking place on the streets of Tehran. As Hejazi writes, “We were also a generation that, for lack of anything else to do, spent its time learning. We were the true witnesses of our nation.”
An article published in Washington Post on June 16 2011, called ‘In Iran, ‘couch rebels’ prefer Facebook’, claims — based on its interview with three or four Iranians, whose identity (except for Abbas Abdi) is not known — that the Iranian people have given up on their protests that started in 2009, because they prefer ‘playing Internet games such as FarmVille, peeking at remarkably candid photographs posted online by friends and confining their political debates to social media sites such as Facebook, where dissent has proved less risky’.
To someone who knows about the undercurrents of the Iranian society, this simple explanation shows how ignorant the Western media, and probably politicians, are in interpreting what’s really going on in the Middle East and the socio-politico-cultural differences in each country. I have seen more that one ‘political’ analysis or opinion pieces in the media that try in vain to compare the successful rebels or ‘revolutions’ in Egypt and Tunisia to Iran and Syria and Libya, while these comparisons cannot be more relevant than comparing the 1917 Revolution of Russia to the Independence wars of America.
(1 June 2011) Interference by security and plainclothes agents in the funeral of prominent Iranian political activist Ezatollah Sahabi, including beatings of mourners, led to the death of Sahabi’s daughter Haleh, who suffered a fatal heart attack at the event today.
In his book, The Gaze of the Gazelle (Negli Occhi della Gazzella)… [Arash Hejazi’s] the autobiography becomes a story of a generation that grew up under the Orwellian eye of the Islamic Revolution. Hejazi says that he has written these pages ‘to heal’. Neda is the beginning and end of the story.
“Non posso vivere nel silenzio, gli occhi di Neda mi perseguitano”
Dal suo rifugio a Londra parla ilmedico che cercò di salvare la studentessa-simbolo della rivolta iraniana. E che trovò il coraggio graziea Paolo Coelho
di Emanuela Zuccalà
UNA RAGAZZA A TERRA, il volto percorso da rivoli di sangue scuro. Due uomini tentanodi rianimarla. Uno urla: “Resta con me!”. Le grida della folla crescono tragiche e confuse. Era il 20 giugno 2009: a Teheran milioni di persone manifestavano contro i brogli elettorali, che avevano portato alla vittoria del presidente Mahmud Ahmadinejad sull’avversario riformista Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Neda Soltani, 26 anni, studentessa di Filosofia freddata da un miliziano, diventava il simbolo dei giovani iraniani affamati di libertà. La sua morte in diretta, ripresa da un telefonino, si diffondeva per il globo attraverso YouTube: un documento eccezionale, che rivelava senza filtri la brutalità del regime iraniano. A metterlo online era stato lo stesso uomo in camicia bianca che nel video cerca di salvare Neda. E che adesso siede di fronte a me in un appartamento di Londra.
“On 26 December 2009, the London Times chose Neda Agha-Soltan as ‘person of the year’. The article stated: ‘Neda Soltan […], a young beautiful woman who had studied philosophy, was now an aspiring singer, […] found hersel abruptly catapulted from the crowds of Tehran to become the face of protest against Iran’s repressive rulers; a symbol of rebelion against the fraudulent election that had just returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power’. Neda is included in a list of recent heroes and victims whose suffering became a beacon of protest against repressive injustice and brutal violations of human rights (Times 1 2009).
The most dangerous attitude of Ahmadinejad’s administration, and at the same time the most satirical one, was the allegations on his relationship with the idea of the emergence of the Hidden Imam. There were rumors that he was part of a messianic Shiite sect, led by the clecic Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi.
…. The roster of hallucinated claims in Secrets 4 is long. Aside from its previously mentioned targets, the series assails the Brazilian pop-mystic novelist Paulo Coelho, whose novels were suppressed in Iran in January. To the rest of the world Tehran‘s action against Coelho was inexplicable, though Coelho reported that his Iranian editor, Arash Hejazi, had been videotaped, during the climactic anti-regime demonstrations of 2009, trying to save the life of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman killed while participating in an anti-Ahmadinejad protest in Tehran. Agha-Soltan’s death became a global symbol of the Iranian democracy movement.
Coelho responded to the Iranian ban by placing the Farsi editions of his books online as free downloads, and most of the Western reading public saw the Iranian prohibition on such innocuous works as yet another example of the arbitrary actions of the clerical dictatorship. Episode 25 of Secrets 4 provided, however, a detailed explanation for the abrupt action against the Latin American author. Coelho is one of more than 160 members of the International Board of Governors of the Peres Foundation for Peace, established by Israel’s former president Shimon Peres in 1996. In addition, according to the Iranian program, Peres praised Coelho in a session of the Davos World Economic Forum a decade ago, which to a public of Ahmadinejad fanatics, is sufficient condemnation in itself. For Iranian conspiracy theorists, such “connections” are gold….