Kathy Riordan

Kathy Riordan
Florida, United States
April 27
One woman's view of life and the universe. Follow @katriord on Twitter.


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Editor’s Pick
JUNE 20, 2009 11:45PM

Her Name was 'Neda'

Rate: 19 Flag



Her name was Neda.

Earlier this afternoon, doing the same thing I've done every day this week, scanning thousands and thousands of tweets coming out of Iran for those I thought needed to be tossed back out into the universe for wider viewing, a particular message caught my eye.

Someone was trying to get the attention of CNN with a video, a video of violence in Iran, not so unusual the last few days, but noteworthy because this one contained images of the last moments of a young girl's life, and people rushing  to help her.

She'd been shot in the street in Tehran.  19:05 June 20th.  Karekar Avenue, at the corner crossing Khosravi Street and Salehi Street. 

She was there with her father, standing next to him, watching the protests, when she was shot directly in the heart by someone hiding on the rooftop of a nearby home, a Basij.  The bullet shattered her heart and took her life almost instantly, despite the efforts of a friend of the person who'd posted the video, a doctor who had rushed to her side. 

I contacted the person who was trying to get the video wider viewing, hoping to get the attention of CNN, the BBC, and anyone else who had eyes to see, ears to hear, and a voice loud enough to convince the world.   I gave him the names of people to contact at CNN, and sent the word out to as many other outlets as I could hoping someone would pick it up, show it more widely to the world.  He worked feverishly to do the same.  

I wondered how this horror could be happening, how a life could be extinguished so casually, even though I've been remotely part of it, witnessing it in the retweeting all week.  Tweeting, and retweeting. Watching the civil unrest, protest and violence unfold, despite attempts by the Iranian government to suppress coverage of it.

It is hard to watch.  But in the comfort of my home it is a world away from the fight for a voice, and now, for life itself, on the streets of Iran.

I went on with my own life today, after reading thousands of tweets on the #iranelection stream, and came back this evening to see that CNN was featuring the video.  It had gone around the world.

Her name was Neda.  A voice, a call.  We know that now.  Not a nameless face, lost in a senseless shooting in a street torn halfway around the world.  She was an innocent, and she will be forever mourned.  She will become the face of a revolution.

May the God of all of us take you to his rest.  



Not all of us will lay down our arms, as long as they can reach a keyboard.  


For an index to all my articles on Iran and Neda, see:  On the One-Year Anniversary:  A Year of Iran and Neda 


Author's note:  We later learned the man in the video with Neda Agha-Soltan was her music teacher, not her father.  I have left the article as it was originally written for historical purposes, but that information is incorrect. 

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a grisly, evil atrocity
To say that the video finally found an audience would be an understatement of the highest order. It is a long journey from yesterday when the person who'd posted the video, who'd been sent it by his friend in Iran who is the doctor in the video, was practically doing handstands to get the media to look at it. He has now been so inundated with messages from the press and the public that he has been forced to retreat to reclaim his own life. I applaud him so bravely playing the important role of making sure the video got seen. We did not know her name until someone asked him for identifying information, and he replied, "I know her name is 'Neda.'
I do not see this mentioned above, or in comments, but Neda was only 16 years old.
Thanks, Sharon. I've edited the article to reflect that.
Saghar ~ Here name is spoken by her father in the video. I didn't catch it but talked w/a woman on YouTube who was translating the Farsi in the clip - I asked her if the name Neda is in the clip, she watched it again specifically to check for that and said yes, her name is spoken by her father on the clip
I received these comments from a reader in India, Firoze Shakir:
"Hi Kathy I have posted your link to my poem but did not want to register at Salon to comment on your masterpiece of a post on Neda. . .so I thank you here on Hamed's page. . .for your efforts in documenting the anguish of a nation in the jaws of spiritual dictatorship.

I have received the following updated information regarding Neda and have removed the age information from the article accordingly:

(translated from Farsi)
"Neda Aqa Soltan"
she was born on 1982
she was a student of Philosophy
at the 20th of June, she were along with her philosophy master and some of
her classmates in the protest.
She has been shot on heart by 2 Basijies on a motor cycle while she was behind of others and speaking on her mobile phone.

It seems the old man next to her is her master and she died on his hands.
People have stopped the Basijies and it seems the shooter is killed.

At june 21st, her body has given to her family with this condition that
they must bury her as soon as possible and secretly.

It has done under high security situation.
her memory will celebrate in june 22nd in Niloufar Mosque.
Thanks so much, Kathy, for getting this and seeing that it whirled around the world.
The masses will remember Neda forever. Let's hope her tragic death will continue to fan the winds of change.

Thank you for posting this.
Thank you Kathy for your role in getting this publicized. Your words are stirring: "[S]he will be forever mourned. She will become the face of a revolution."

I have posted at my blog a report from World to Win plus photos that help to analyze what's going on.
This is a great post Kathy. A few hours ago I saw the video of Neda's last moments and immediately made a post of it on my blog. I see now that you've preceded me, so thanks for being on the ball and getting this out there.
Thanks for all the kind words, everyone. Dennis, it's especially gratifying to see you comment, since you had the most widely watched article today ahead of this one. I continue to be in contact with the person who was entrusted with the task of bringing the video to the world, and I am honored to have participated in helping.
This is so heartbreaking and such a terrible waste. It is necessary to see however.
Note: I have been informed by a source that the 'passport photo' currently circulating of 'Neda Soldani' is not the same Neda as the one who was killed, and have removed the photo accordingly.
Thanks for posting this Kathy; I had seen references to the clip but hadn't seen it til today.
This blog entry shows the incredible propaganda power of the media. 'Kathy Riodan' is either a paid propagandist or a fool. Let's start with the obvious. The woman in the video's name is not 'Neda', we don't know what her name is. Why not?

Let's take the video at face value. Some woman in a street demonstration was shot. By whom? We do not know.

Then there is the immediate context. We don't really know a thing about what is going on in Iran. We know that the US government has spent millions to destabilize the government, see the article by Paul Craig Roberts, "Are the Iranian Protests another US Orchestrated Color Revolution" for a list of the known US provocations in Iran. Then, by the same author, "The US Regime Change Recipe for Iran".

Then the larger context - how many people died in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, on the same day, killed by US drones, F-14, or bombs? No videos for them. Their deaths will not become the 'face of a revolution' as the idiot author of the blog thinks that Neda's will.
Matthew Weaver of The Guardian has conducted a telephone interview with Hamed Rad, the Iranian living in the Netherlands who received the video initially from his friend in Iran who was filmed it, audio clip here:


The interview helps explain the proper provenance of the Neda video, how it came to be taken in the first place, and how it came to be posted on the Internet and distributed to a wider audience.
"Their deaths will not become the 'face of a revolution' as the idiot author of the blog thinks that Neda's will."

@ narcissus, Let me guess, you're an angry white guy. We're on to you and your time has past...
I can't stop crying. I put off watching this video for as long as I could. I knew what it would do to me. The sheer impact of watching a life leaving the body right there, right now in full view of the world. Have we come to far?
Terribly sad. A pointless murder.
I hear the anger…but many of you are romanticizing this way beyond what makes sense. As one person pointed out…we Americans kill and maim young women like that day after day in our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The best thing America can do is to keep our noses out of what is an internal Iranian struggle for control. And make no mistake about it…for the most part this is not a protest for democracy or freedom from Islamic domination…it is a protest about who will lead the America bashing, control, and Islamic domination.

Cool down! We have to come to terms…and try, by whatever means, to get along in some way with whichever group comes out of this on top. Taking sides against what seems to be the odds on favorite to win makes no sense whatever! There is no good or bad in this issue…there is just side “a” and side “b.”
Thank you for sharing and for your hard work. Maybe getting this info out will save other lives.
Frank, the story is my own personal account of trying to help the original poster of the video get wider viewing in the media. It is my story, and I thought it worth telling.
Any story is worth telling, Kathy...and I commend you for telling this one.

My remarks were primarily aimed at the reactions to your blog...rather than the blog itself.

If there was something I said in the response that I made...by all means, mention it...and I will respond to you.
Evil, evil, evil.
Let's try to put this in a little perspective, shall we. How many people did the US military kill on June 20? Hard to say, you answer? Well, here is a data point ... on June 15, the last day for which data is available on the Air Force Magazine, google it if interested, daily summaries page, the US air force flew 99 attack sorties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But, as Obama has pointed out, the US, with its military budget greater than that of the rest of the world combined, with its 1000 foreign military bases in 150 countries, and its warships in all the oceans of the world, is 'threatened' by a bunch of nomads wandering in a desert halfway around the world.

Wake up. You are being played like a Stradivarius.
I saw pictures earlier, but the video...my goodness...how quickly she is gone... There are some visions we never forget. This horrifying video will be one for me.
Hi Kathy,
I just wanted to say hi and thank you for your work.
It was (and is still) such an emotional moment.
After Hamed posted his video of Neda, he decided to quit his account...
This is so depressing...
Take care.
This to proven how wonderful the democracy, in the Middle east!! if we disagree with Government either to be killed or jailed no other solution!!
God bless her soul, she was a lady that tried to say something!
I'm belatedly adding the documentation of first mention of her name here: Her Name was Neda

I continue to be in touch with Hamed, the first person to post the video online, who was brave to do so. Facebook took that video down shortly after he posted it. Fortunately, others were willing to show it. And the rest is history.
amazing and impact video.....r.i.p.
quite a strong story, hope she rests in Peace
Breaks my heart to see how much evil there is in this world. :(
Hotel Cluj
Breaks my heart to see how much evil there is in this world. :(
Hotel Cluj