Iran is now saying that Neda was killed because she was mistaken for the sister of an Iranian "terrorist." A photograph of Neda Agha-Soltan on CNN.com shows a beautiful young woman with shining hair and a winsome smile unfettered by the traditional Islamic garb worn by women in the Middle East. I've seen many women who look like Neda since February, 2007 when I met my first Persian.
I was at the office of the New York Sun when I kept getting a call from a mysterious man who insisted on meeting me in person. He told me he was referred by a writer who writes for the New York Times and that he wanted to give me an important story. I checked out the writer who confirmed that she felt the Sun would be a better fit-in other words, this was not something the Times would be interested in but she thought it was worth exploring.
It turns out the gentleman was an Iranian dissident and he wanted me to know what was going on in Iran because no one in the media wanted to publicize it. Frankly I was fascinated by what I learned and wrote:
"There are, in fact, two Irans, and the lesser known one to most Americans is undergoing a renaissance that the ruling Iranian mullahs fear the most. If the Persians are awakened to their identity as children of Cyrus the Great, who wrote mankind's first charter of human rights, these oppressive regimes will topple domino-style. Besides Iran, the Persian heritage is embedded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and were it to be rekindled, a revolution unheard of in scope could occur."
My new friend and former Muslim, whom I will call Babak Iran, told me that Korans are being burned in Iran, and that there is a strong movement toward the philosophy of Zoroastrianism. This man showed me the pendant he now wears, a symbol of the ancient religion (it is older than Judaism). This symbol, carried by many of the parade marchers in New York City, can be seen at persianparade.org. Slide # 24 in the 2009 parade is where one can see many beautiful Persian women like Neda.
The Persian Renaissance, known as Anjomane Padeshahi Iran, was spearheaded by a charismatic leader, Dr. Froud Fouladvand who tried to offer Iranian people the reason to fight by awakening their semi-dormant national identity, an identity that was overshadowed by radical Islam. He is believed to have been captured and executed by the Islamic government in Iran.
It has been said that perhaps President Obama's March speech to Iran is what has fueled the current unrest, and when I look back at what my Iranian friend said in March, that may be true -- not because he inspired it, but because he angered the Persians. I asked Babak Iran if the Farsi subtitles of Obama's speech were accurate. He assured me that while the translation was accurate, the message itself had infuriated the Iranian people who are not in league with the mullahs who wish to destroy their Persian heritage. I had his permission to provide my readers with his reaction:
"I can tell you that Iranians are infuriated with the message, as am I. Iranians do not think that the Islamic regime of Iran is their government. They look at it as an occupying army of Muslim killers determined to destroy what Muhammad and his killers could not do for 1400 years. The mullahs have done all they can to prevent people from celebrating the norooz and a dozen other celebrations such as Charshanbeh soori (the fire festival) for the last 30 yeas. They hate and try to destroy the Iranian culture, like they did in all other previously known Muslim countries. But the more they try to stop the many celebrations in Iran the more the people resist."
My friend also sent further evidence and quotes that the mainstream media and our government obviously have ignored.
"Alicia, Islamic Tazi Mullahs want nothing more than the destruction of Iranian culture. To call the mullahs leaders of Iran is an insult to Iranians and their culture. The term Islamic and republic are not compatible -- for Islam gets its authority from Allah and Sharia law and the republic from the people. To say "Iranian election" like the western media does is an intellectual crime against the Iranian people. The prerequisite of an election is the freedom for people to choose their candidates and not a handful of fascistic Mullahs. Any negotiations with Tazi Mullahs occupying Iran, is an attempt to further defraud the great people of Iran -and the people know it. Obama, should have directed his message to the people rather than legitimizing the Mullahs by calling them leaders." Babak Iran- March, 2009
"...we do not worship Iran we worship Allah, for patriotism is another name for paganism, I say let this land (Iran) burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world."
Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini
"We are from the tribe of Quraysh and our supporters are Arabs and our enemies are Iranians. It is clear that any Arab is better than and has higher standing than any Iranian and any Iranian is worse than our worst enemy." Hussein Ebn Ali (son of Ali), the third Imam of Shia Muslims - from: Safinatol bahar va madinatol ahkam va al-assar - Source: Haj Sheikh Abbas Qummi. page 164
Look at Neda's face and you will recognize the eternal beauty and ancient heritage that is Persia. Her cruel death may be the waking up of a dormant yet powerful culture.