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Caspian Makan

Caspian and Neda

In Memorium: Remembering The Iranian Women Neda Agha-Soltan Shot In The Streets of Iran in 2009

by Caspian Makan, January 23, 2012


The following was writtenby the fiance of  Neda Agha Soltan for what would have been her 27th birthday on Monday January 23.

To those whose hearts still beat for freedom and peace:

Neda came to this world like a ray of light on Monday, January 23. Before her 27th birthday, On June 20th 2009, with a spirit filled with joy for freedom and pride in her country, she joined an opposition rally during which she was shot in the heart and killed by the Islamic Regime.

This is only one of thousands of crimes committed by Islamists in the past three decades. This time, however, Neda’s murder took place in front of thousands of protesters’ eyes. A few brave people used their mobile phone to document Neda’s last minutes and her horrific death. Soon after, the whole world saw the video and photos of her brutal death, which were broadcasted by the international news agencies.

The following day, after the receipt of her body and her burial, I witnessed the pressure that the Islamic Regime agents were putting her family under. They forced her family to provide a signed document in which they agreed to hide and deny Neda’s death. Keeping her family’s safety into consideration, I began to tell Neda’s story to the international media. Since I was a reporter myself and had connections with and was a member of various internal and international news agencies, and with the help of a few brave female colleagues, I managed to prevent the Islamic Regimes’ dirty scheme to deny Neda’s death and its unrealistic stories about her. At the time, however, I was unable to clearly explain the reason behind Neda’s participation in the protests due to safety concerns over her family. Regardless, through various important channels, I managed to publish about the Islamists’ attempt to hide Neda’s story and uncover the brutal means used by the regime during the crackdowns. As a result, the government did not succeed to justify their inhumane behavior towards the protesters.

Without fear, I persisted to be Neda’s voice to the extent that after 3 days, IRNA and Seda and Sima (Iran’s the central news agency) controlled directly by the Islamic Republic’s News and Intelligence organization, saw no option but broadcasting the news about Neda’s death. They knew me as a writer, film maker, reporter and were familiar with my work which included books, movies, and reports that up until then were more focused on history, nature, and in some occasions on political issues related to my opposition to the government and Islam. Soon after, two groups from both news agencies approached me on different times and requested interviews. I accepted on the condition that I would be allowed to talk with no restriction. They agreed; and in the presence of my lawyer, I was interviewed in my office and home. In two sessions that each took one hour, I first spoke of Neda’s murder by the Islamic Regime and the regime’s brutal crackdown. Later on, during the second interview, I directly spoke against the regime and addressed Khamenei and Ahmadinejad and hold them directly responsible for the crimes committed against the Iranian people. I knew that these interviews would never be broadcasted, but I was sure that they would be brought to the attention of regime’s high officials. As explained before, they were forced to publish some parts of my interview with major revisions.

Neda and I knew each other more than 2 months; but as she always said, for thousands of reasons, our bond was very deep. She had become everything I had in life. She was gone, and I was left with nothing. I was alone; but there were reasons that gave me the power to voice my opinion fearlessly; reasons that I whole-heartedly shared with her; reasons that were nurtured by Neda’s captivating words and messages and her desire to see the freedom of Iranians and the end to the Islamic Regime.

Now, facing the war that I had started with the Islamic Regime, I could not see any future for myself but being executed by the regime. My future was no longer of any importance to me. Before my arrest, I had some peace of mind that the regime would not be able to accuse me of anything since I did not belong to any political groups inside and outside of Iran; and that I was professionally well regarded and always worked independently. As a result, my efforts were more focused on staying strong and becoming Neda’s voice.

Neda never participated in any elections and never voted. She always said: my birth certificate is clean and will remain clean. She believed that we would be cheating ourselves if we participated in elections that were not even rigged because the regime will always nominate those that are from within the infrastructure of the Islamic Regime. She always said: the very basis of the regime is the main reason for our misfortune! Changing a few players within the government is nothing but an effort to maintain and to prolong the Islamic Regime’s existence and enhancing the pressure and the destruction this government has brought upon our people and country.

I am addressing those who support the Islamic Republic under the umbrella of reform: Neda was weary of your so-called “Islamic Revolution”. She always criticized her parents and told them: “You and people like you who followed the criminal Khomeini, brought destruction upon Iran”. After her death, her parents talked about Neda’s opinion to the media as well.

I could not let Neda’s voice go silent just like the voice of many of my countrymen who became silent under pressure and threat. On the other hand, I also had to stop the reformists or better said the opportunists from owning Neda’s name and using her image to benefit the Islamic Regime. Therefore, before my arrest, I single-handedly stood against such trickeries and l did all I could so that the world remembers Neda’s vision and message just like it will always remember her innocent face.

It did not take long for Neda’s voice to be heard from millions all over the world. Her voice had turned into a loud scream that shook the pillars of the Islamic Regime; and soon after thousands of Nedas emerged. It was then that we saw people’s quest for freedom around the world took a new shape. Neda’s message was freedom, equality, and peace for all; and this is what made her immortal. Senator John McCain once said: Neda departed with her eyes open. Shame on us who live with our eyes closed.

In celebration of this day, with a message of unity, once again, let’s rise against the sadistic Islamic Regime.

I salute all those who will be remembered for losing their lives for freedom and for planting the seed of awareness in our society.

Freedom to Iran and Iranians

Caspian Makan

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