Michael Jackson and Neda
Posted by pinkjuniormints on July 1, 2009
There’s no doubt it’s been a trying week in Hollywood. Three celebrities, each of varying degrees of fame, passed away.
One was 1970′s pinup icon and “Charlie’s Angels” star Farrah Fawcett, who died after a battle with anal cancer.
The second was music legend Michael Jackson, who has been cited by many performers as an influence. His professional life was legendary, his personal life bizarre.
The third was Billy Mays, television pitchman extraordinaire.
Now being that these three people were public figures, their deaths certainly are newsworthy. But there is one more notable death that we should be paying more attention to than the others: the death of Neda.
So who is Neda, and why is her death more significant than that of the so-called “King of Pop?”
Two weeks ago, at the height of the post-Iranian election backlash, Neda Agha-Soltan was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. CNN reports that she was observing the riots when she was struck in the chest by a single bullet. A bystander crudely filmed the gruesome scene on a cell phone, watching as a crowd surrounded her, trying to help, but it was too late.
The video can be seen here. WARNING: This video is graphic and NSFW. DO NOT watch if you are squeamish. Normally, I’m fine with blood. I can watch shows like “CSI” and movies like “Kill Bill” and be okay, but my stomach turned the first time I saw this video.
Although it is unclear who shot Neda, the assumption is it was either a government official (Iranian citizens are not permitted to own guns), a Basijj militiaman, or a pro-Ahmadinejad and Khamenei sniper. Remarkably, Ahmadinejad has called her death “suspicious” and has urged an investigation.
I’m surprised that he didn’t just flat out deny the involvement of his government or his allies, or just ignore the whole thing together. Neda has become the face of the revolution, the face of the turmoil. She humanizes it. It’s one thing to hear about struggles going on elsewhere in the world, but to put a face on it, to make it more relatable, is something else.
That’s what Neda has become in Iran’s troubles. CNN’s Jessica Ravitz compares her to images from the Kent State shooting, Tiananmen Square, and of Holocaust survivors: one single person symbolizes the tragedy of others.
That’s why it has bothered me so much to see the news dominated by these celebrities’ deaths, especially that of Jackson. They are news, but so are a lot of other things.Let’s get back to Iran and North Korea, major news outlets, and save celebrity funeral arrangements for TMZ.
So while we Americans are mourning the loss of Michael Jackson, let’s not forget one thing. He lived and died in America, a country that has freedom. Neda died in Iran, a country that is fighting for it.