REPRESENTATIVE Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) delivered a moving speech from the floor of the House yesterday that crystallized the Iranian struggle into one name: Neda.
McCotter’s eloquent words echo those of Iranian protesters who have chosen the image of young Neda as a rallying point for their cause. “I am Neda”, they cry. Neda, who was shot in the heart by Iranian sharpshooters. The entire event was videotaped, and that video has stormed across the internet.
Note that in the linked video above from ABC, the point is made that the Neda video has not been verified. Was Neda (whose name means ‘Voice’) really killed? Is the video staged? Perhaps. How can we in the west know? Consider this, the headline today at ABC News asks if Neda is the “next Joan of Arc”. Remember that ABC is the unofficial voice of the oval office (or at least it’s being called that, since only ABC is allowed in for tonight’s health care ‘chat’).
The video appeared within minutes of the event on Twitter and Facebook, both sites now heavily used to further the Iranian cause. The singular, heartbreaking image of one woman dying is far more powerful than pan shots of dense crowds carrying signs. It is like the famous photo of a lone student standing in front of a row of four massive tanks in Tienanmen Square, or another of a terrified, naked Vietnamese child running for her life after being burned by napalm.
Whether the story of Neda is true or not, her image can and does inspire. And in the continuous drumbeat of ‘Iran, Iran, Iran’ on cable news, we hear her name over and over again. Neda, Neda, Neda. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Iran really could find a new form of government based on the people’s wishes?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if ours could?