Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Neda: A martyr for freedom (everywhere)

A natural reaction to the sad and shocking of Neda Soltani is to try and give her a purpose far bigger than she would have had if she had lived and far bigger than all of us who are currently still living.

That seems to be an attempt to bring a shred of moral justice to a situation that is so wrong, so at least those who have died young and violent deaths can be elevated above the rest of us who live on in this troubled world.

One thing that is worth noting about her death is she was not a hard core activist but a hesitant participant, little more than an observer who when getting out of a car for fresh air paid the ultimate price that can be paid in the pursuit of freedom.

There is much talk about the harm that meddling can do the cause of freedom in Iran so as someone from a country with a less than perfect past in the region I will not comment this time on the specifics of the election and the key players. At its heart, this crisis is about a people who want freedom that has been denied to them for so long. The regime seems set on retaining power by cheating, lying and ultimately by killing those who appear to pose a threat to them.

Neda was in the wrong place at the wrong time but she is only dead because of the brutality of the regime she lived under.

Without burdening her memory with a host of meanings she would never have intended, let her be remembered for a very long time as someone who paid with their life in the pursuit of freedom. She was someone not very different from most people; not a street fighter but a nervous supporter of freedom.

May she be a symbol of the price that sometimes must be paid for freedom whether in Iran or in any country of the world. Sometimes these struggles end in greater freedom as in Eastern Europe in the 1980s, but sometimes they end in further repression as in China in 1989.

Even in countries that think of themselves as free such as Britain can still experience moments of repression where the innocent get killed at the the hands of rogue elements of the state such as the victims of police brutality in London.

Neda, in her death has transcended the borders of her country and is a face recognised around the world. May she be a symbol of freedom everywhere in the same league as the man who disappeared after standing in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989. More specifically may she advance the cause of freedom in her own country.

1 comment:

Rositta said...

The Iranian Ambassador to Mexico said in an interview with CNN last night, that the CIA killed her. I don't think we'll get much more real news out of Iran. My one blogger source is very quiet recently. Very sad situation...ciao