All About Neda Agha-Soltan

Yesterday, we showed you the extremely disturbing video of an Iranian woman, Neda, being shot at a protest in Tehran. At the time, not much was known about her—who she was, why she was at the protest, or even if her name was really Neda. But today, the details are emerging. We now know that Neda’s last name was Agha-Soltan, and that she was only 26 years old. She majored in philosophy, but even though women in Iran aren’t allowed to sing in public, she secretly took lessons and wanted to be a pop singer. In fact, she was with her voice coach when she died. The two had gone to the protest, but as it started to turn violent, headed back to their car. When Neda stepped out to get a breath of fresh air (the car had been roasting in the sun all day) she was shot, most likely by a sniper on top of a building. [NY Times] Neda’s fiance, Caspian Makan, has spoken out about her death, talking to Arab news network Al Jazeera about Neda’s last moments. Here’s what he had to say about her views, her death’s meaning, and why he thinks she was killed:

As if the death itself is not tragic enough, the Iranian military has restricted Neda’s family from holding a memorial service, and ordered them to bury her immediately. Traditionally there is a 7-day mourning period, followed by a large memorial service 40 days later. But Neda will never get that chance—all mosques have been ordered not to hold funerals to any of the people killed in the protests. Neda’s family did hold a private memorial service on Monday in her honor.

My thoughts continue to be with Neda’s family and friends. But I do find a small part of me wishing that we were also hearing these kinds of details about all the other protesters who died over the weekend—the ones who weren’t necessarily young, female, and beautiful.