'Her name was Neda'

Rick Moran
You have all probably seen the dramatic video of the young Iranian female protestor who died bloodily on camera. If you haven't seen the graphic and disturbing slice of life from Iran on Saturday, it can be found here.

We now have a name to go with that bleeding, lifeless face. Allahpundit at Hot Air fills in some details:

Word on the street via one Iranian tweeter is that her name was Neda Agha Soltan. That's also the name circulating on a few websites and now being attributed to her in a hastily arranged Wikipedia bio. The rumor - and it's all rumor until some newspaper tracks down her family - is that she was 27 years old and a philosophy student. I hope to god this isn't really her photo because the thought of her being so beautiful and dignified makes the murder somehow that much more obscene.

[...]

Update: A Farsi speaker tells HuffPo that this blogger is claiming that Neda was at the protest with her professor and several other students and that the fatal shot was fired by a Basij driving by on a motorcycle. No rhyme or reason; I wonder if he even aimed. The burial, reportedly, was today - and her memorial service was ordered canceled by the regime.

Robin Wright in Time Magazine (whose writings on the unrest have surpassed brilliance) fills us in on why Neda's death may be a catalyst that will bring the regime down:

For the cycles of mourning in Shiite Islam actually provide a schedule for political combat - a way to generate or revive momentum. Shiite Muslims mourn their dead on the third, seventh and 40th days after a death, and these commemorations are a pivotal part of Iran's rich history. During the revolution, the pattern of confrontations between the shah's security forces and the revolutionaries often played out in 40-day cycles.

The first clashes in January 1978 produced two deaths that were then commemorated on the 40th day in mass gatherings, which in turn produced new confrontations with security forces - and new deaths. Those deaths then generated another 40-day period of mourning, new clashes, and further deaths. The cycle continued throughout most of the year until the shah's ouster in January 1979.

The same cycle has already become an undercurrent in Iran's current crisis. The largest demonstration, on Thursday of last week, was called by opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi to commemorate the deaths of protesters three days after they were killed.

Shiite mourning is not simply a time to react with sadness. Particularly in times of conflict, it is also an opportunity for renewal. The commemorations for "Neda" and the others killed this weekend are still to come. And the 40th day events are usually the largest and most important.

The way this woman's death has galvanized the Iranian protestors (and will no doubt get big play in the rest of Iran as well) means that even if they arrest all the opposition leaders, reformers, as well as break the heads of demonstrators in the streets - this revolution is not over. Not by a long shot.

The question is will other clerics with influence recognize this and, in order to save something of the Islamic state, throw Khamenei and Ahmadinejad to the wolves?

Nazila Fathi and Michael Slackman in the New York Times write about the powerful former president Hashemi Rafsanjani and his efforts to form a coalition of clerics in the holy city of Qom to force Khamenei's resignation and revamp the office of Supreme Leader:

But he remains a major establishment figure, and the detention of his daughter, albeit briefly, was a surprise. In Ayatollah Khamenei's sermon on Friday, in which he backed Mr. Ahmadinejad and threatened a crackdown on further protests, he praised Mr. Rafsanjani as a pillar of the revolution while acknowledging that the two have had "many differences of opinion."

Last week, state television showed images of Ms. Hashemi, 46, speaking to hundreds of people to rally support for Mr. Moussavi. After her appearance, state radio said, students who support Mr. Ahmadinejad gathered outside the Tehran prosecutor's office and demanded that she be arrested for treason.

Mr. Rafsanjani, 75, heads two powerful institutions. One, the Assembly of Experts, is a body of clerics that has the authority to oversee and theoretically replace the country's supreme leader. He also runs the Expediency Council, empowered to settle disagreements between the elected Parliament and the unelected Guardian Council.

The Assembly of Experts has never publicly exercised its power over Ayatollah Khamenei since he succeeded the Islamic Revolution's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in 1989. But the increasingly bitter confrontation between Ayatollah Khamenei and Mr. Rafsanjani has raised the prospect of a contest of political wills between the two revolutionary veterans.

Such a move by Rafsanjani would be unprecedented. But these are unusual times in Iran and the day may arrive when many long time critics of the regime among the clerical establishment will finally band together in order to save something of the old order - save something from what Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have apparently tried to bring down themselves by way of vote fraud.

More protests were called for today to honor the dead from Saturday. There ares still tens of thousands of security personnel deployed throughout Tehran to prevent it. We will have to see if the demonstrators - using modern tools of communication - can outsmart the authorities and gather in some strength to demonstrate that they are not finished - not by a long shot.












You have all probably seen the dramatic video of the young Iranian female protestor who died bloodily on camera. If you haven't seen the graphic and disturbing slice of life from Iran on Saturday, it can be found here.

We now have a name to go with that bleeding, lifeless face. Allahpundit at Hot Air fills in some details:

Word on the street via one Iranian tweeter is that her name was Neda Agha Soltan. That's also the name circulating on a few websites and now being attributed to her in a hastily arranged Wikipedia bio. The rumor - and it's all rumor until some newspaper tracks down her family - is that she was 27 years old and a philosophy student. I hope to god this isn't really her photo because the thought of her being so beautiful and dignified makes the murder somehow that much more obscene.

[...]

Update: A Farsi speaker tells HuffPo that this blogger is claiming that Neda was at the protest with her professor and several other students and that the fatal shot was fired by a Basij driving by on a motorcycle. No rhyme or reason; I wonder if he even aimed. The burial, reportedly, was today - and her memorial service was ordered canceled by the regime.

Robin Wright in Time Magazine (whose writings on the unrest have surpassed brilliance) fills us in on why Neda's death may be a catalyst that will bring the regime down:

For the cycles of mourning in Shiite Islam actually provide a schedule for political combat - a way to generate or revive momentum. Shiite Muslims mourn their dead on the third, seventh and 40th days after a death, and these commemorations are a pivotal part of Iran's rich history. During the revolution, the pattern of confrontations between the shah's security forces and the revolutionaries often played out in 40-day cycles.

The first clashes in January 1978 produced two deaths that were then commemorated on the 40th day in mass gatherings, which in turn produced new confrontations with security forces - and new deaths. Those deaths then generated another 40-day period of mourning, new clashes, and further deaths. The cycle continued throughout most of the year until the shah's ouster in January 1979.

The same cycle has already become an undercurrent in Iran's current crisis. The largest demonstration, on Thursday of last week, was called by opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi to commemorate the deaths of protesters three days after they were killed.

Shiite mourning is not simply a time to react with sadness. Particularly in times of conflict, it is also an opportunity for renewal. The commemorations for "Neda" and the others killed this weekend are still to come. And the 40th day events are usually the largest and most important.

The way this woman's death has galvanized the Iranian protestors (and will no doubt get big play in the rest of Iran as well) means that even if they arrest all the opposition leaders, reformers, as well as break the heads of demonstrators in the streets - this revolution is not over. Not by a long shot.

The question is will other clerics with influence recognize this and, in order to save something of the Islamic state, throw Khamenei and Ahmadinejad to the wolves?

Nazila Fathi and Michael Slackman in the New York Times write about the powerful former president Hashemi Rafsanjani and his efforts to form a coalition of clerics in the holy city of Qom to force Khamenei's resignation and revamp the office of Supreme Leader:

But he remains a major establishment figure, and the detention of his daughter, albeit briefly, was a surprise. In Ayatollah Khamenei's sermon on Friday, in which he backed Mr. Ahmadinejad and threatened a crackdown on further protests, he praised Mr. Rafsanjani as a pillar of the revolution while acknowledging that the two have had "many differences of opinion."

Last week, state television showed images of Ms. Hashemi, 46, speaking to hundreds of people to rally support for Mr. Moussavi. After her appearance, state radio said, students who support Mr. Ahmadinejad gathered outside the Tehran prosecutor's office and demanded that she be arrested for treason.

Mr. Rafsanjani, 75, heads two powerful institutions. One, the Assembly of Experts, is a body of clerics that has the authority to oversee and theoretically replace the country's supreme leader. He also runs the Expediency Council, empowered to settle disagreements between the elected Parliament and the unelected Guardian Council.

The Assembly of Experts has never publicly exercised its power over Ayatollah Khamenei since he succeeded the Islamic Revolution's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in 1989. But the increasingly bitter confrontation between Ayatollah Khamenei and Mr. Rafsanjani has raised the prospect of a contest of political wills between the two revolutionary veterans.

Such a move by Rafsanjani would be unprecedented. But these are unusual times in Iran and the day may arrive when many long time critics of the regime among the clerical establishment will finally band together in order to save something of the old order - save something from what Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have apparently tried to bring down themselves by way of vote fraud.

More protests were called for today to honor the dead from Saturday. There ares still tens of thousands of security personnel deployed throughout Tehran to prevent it. We will have to see if the demonstrators - using modern tools of communication - can outsmart the authorities and gather in some strength to demonstrate that they are not finished - not by a long shot.