Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Neda

The LA Times on Neda Agha-Soltan:

Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, was shot dead Saturday evening near the scene of clashes between pro-government militias and demonstrators who allege rampant vote fraud in the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The jittery cellphone footage of her bleeding on the street has turned "Neda" into an international symbol of the protest movement that erupted after the June 12 balloting. Images of her final moments have spread virally on social networks, been beamed across the world on cable and held aloft on placards on the streets of Tehran.[...]

The second of three children, she studied Islamic philosophy at a branch of Tehran's Azad 6-22-uncovered University until deciding to pursue a career in tourism. She took private classes to become a tour  guide, including Turkish-language courses, friends said, hoping to someday lead groups of Iranians on trips abroad.

Travel was her passion, and with her friends she saved up enough money for package tours to Dubai, Turkey and Thailand. Two months ago, on a trip to Turkey, she relaxed along the beaches of Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast. She also loved music, especially Persian pop, and was taking piano lessons, according to Panahi and other friends. She was also an accomplished singer, they said.

But she was never an activist, they added, and she began attending the mass protests only because she was outraged by the election results. [...]