Sunday, June 21, 2009

In memory of Neda Salehi

As much as I hate to admit it, I have become, like a large portion of the US, inured to violence and pictures/videos of violence posted on the news or online. As a result, when I saw the video of Neda's shooting and death at an Iranian protest she attended with her father on HuffPo, I clicked it knowing it would be terribly sad but not thinking twice about how it would make me feel. You can imagine my surprise when I found myself having to fight back sobs while I watched the young woman's life bleed from her mouth and watched the life leave her eyes. Yes, the video is that graphic and perhaps that is why it's affect on me was so strong. Now I have watched people die before. I've sat at the bedside of dying people and held their hands as they breathed their last but for some reason this struck me heavily. I don't know if it emotion left over from old grieving left unfinished, if it was because she was a woman and hence it seemed more personal or if it was simply the violence perpetrated against her by the Basij but suffice it to say, it got my attention.

I don't pretend to understand everything about Iran and it's politics. What I do know is that the violence against the people being that we see being tweeted/blogged/video'd is wrong and a violation of basic human rights. While I have no illusions about my ability to effect a change there I do know, thanks to years of work with Amnesty International, is that governments don't like it when their injustices are seen and marked by the world and making sure that Iran and Ahmadinejad know we are watching is important.

Neda paid for her convictions with her life. We are hardly being called upon to sacrifice anything so valuable.

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