Neda was no Martyr!

Neda Agha Soultan became a commodity that just could not be ignored


Neda was no Martyr!
by Siamack Baniameri

I was flipping channels the other night when I came across an interview with Reza Aslan who was predictably discussing the recent events in Iran. Good for him. The guy knows his shit and he sure has cashed in. During the interview, Aslan displayed his green bracelet with the word, “Neda” written on it and exclaimed that Neda Agha Soltan was the most recognized martyr of the green movement. Wow! I almost fell off my seat.

I then remembered that other organizations have claimed the same thing. We all remember Reza Pahlavi’s emotional leakage in the Press Club when he mentioned Neda’s name while weeping like a little girl and MKO’s leadership who have staked their claim to Neda’s legacy, not to mention leftist groups who claim that her father was a member of a leftist movement in Iran. I even remember my own cousin calling her the martyr of the Iranian freedom. Even the IRI government got in the act and claimed that she was murdered by foreign intelligence services and announced an investigation into her brutal murder.

Neda Agha Soltan became a commodity that just could not be ignored. Her sensational and vivid murder captured on video shocked the world and gave the opposition groups the image of purity and innocence they were longing for. Like vultures, they came for the feast.

Martyr by definition is a person who willingly and freely sacrifices her life for a cause that she passionately believes in. Neda was no martyr. She neither “willingly” nor “freely” scarified her life for the green movement or freedom for Iran or Iranians. Unlike Reza Aslan who is at the right place at the right time, Neda was at a wrong place at a wrong time. Neda did not ask for this. She did not even vote in the election and had no faith in IRI’s ability to reform itself. She regarded Mousavi as another gutless inner circle of the leader who, like his ally and mentor Khatami, will have no profound impact on making the lives of Iranians better. Neda just happened to get the shaft in the wrong end. If she could do it again, I promise you that she would go home with a BIG bilaakh in the air for the green movement, monarchists, leftists, MKO cronies and the makers of that stupid bracelet. The interesting part is that even the greenies didn’t at first acknowledge her as a martyr. They knew that she was not dumb enough to think that Mousavi could be a factor in preventing the demise of the Iranian pride and heritage. But the greenies soon realized that Neda was an institution that just will not go away and jumping on the bandwagon was in order.

Acts of brutal murders like Neda and others who lost their lives in recent events, torture and rape of prisoners, kidnapping and government assassinations have been taking place in Iran for the past 30 years during the time when Mousavi, Karoubi and Khatimi had been in power. What amazes me is that the trio acts as if the brutalities and crackdowns are new phenomenon that is unprecedented in Islamic Republic. And what amazes me more are those who still believe in these clowns.

Those who regard Neda as a martyr should be ashamed of themselves. She was too smart to be one you.


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why siamack is right

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

every movement needs a symbol. neda, being a female and filmed as bloody/dead, fits some key requirements. 

i agree with siamack on this. you can be sad for neda and agree that her death is exploited for political purposes.

LOVE the line about "Pahlavi's leakage". He got a lot of mileage out of that one, but probably not as much as Reza Aslan and the rest.

This is politics. Even John McCain used Neda on the Senate floor. Someone is looking good for re-election!  


a related article from Effat Mahbaz,

by Iran_e_abad on

a related article from Effat Mahbaz,

very touching




To hell with definitions

by javaneh29 on

Whether Neda was a martyr under the definition of  a western dictionary or some god foresakan 'holy' definition,  she is the difinitive of a martyr in the eyes of the people in Iran and actually, in reality all over the world. End of debate really whether you accept it or not, PEOPLE have defined her a MARTYR. I dont care what is argued here this is a fact you simply can not doubt or question.

Neda is a symbol, a representative for the Iranian people. None of the other murdered people during these last few months or indeed the last 30 yrs have been forgotten. Im sure they would also accept Neda as a 'martyr' also .

And just read the post from Minanil above. It says everything, Mina jaan thank you for bringing your perspective  to this tasteless discussion by so many narcisstic personalities.

What I read here is so much BS. Arguing over something that has already been decided and accepted the world over.

And again this is not the right post to debate your insightless views of Reza Pahlavi.


Multiple Personality Disorder

I believe we are on the same page

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

...that Neda herself may not have given up her life for the way of God, but lost it as an inocent bystander.  Nevertheless every life is precious and should be respected with dignity.  If your intrepretration is different please let me know.


Multiple Personality Disorder

by Iran_e_abad on

Read the last phrase of Dehkhoda's explanation that you wrote, Shahid is whoever killed without guilt or in the way of god.So tell me what was Neda Soltan guilty of to be killed in such a brutal way.

کشته شده ٔ بی گناه یا در راه خدا.

With all due respect, you are good in analyzing the components as you have searched for the true meaning in the dictionary. However your synthesis is not good, because again you used your own interpretation of kiiling in the line of god. 

تجزیه شما عالی است ولی ترکیب شما خیلی کامل نبود.

Also check out this one, 


(اصطلاح فقه ) شهيد بر دو قسم است ، شهيد حقيقي و آن مسلمان طاهر و بالغي است که بظلم بقتل رسيده

Now you tell me, wasn't Neda Soltan killed as a result of tyranny? 


Multiple Personality Disorder


Multiple Personality Disorder


The problem is that we should not look up the meaning of the word


in English-to-English dictionary for martyr and draw the same conclution for an Islamically influenced culture.  So, here is what


means according to

(لغت نامه دهخدا)


شهید. [ ش َ ] (ع ص ، اِ) کشته در راه خدا. (ترجمان البلاغه ) (دهار) (مهذب الاسماء). کشته شده در راه خدا. آنکه به شهادت دست یافته بود در راه خدا. کشته شده بی قصاص و دیت . (یادداشت مؤلف ). کشته شده در راه خدای بدان جهت که ملائک رحمت او را حاضر شوند یا آنکه اﷲ تعالی و فرشتگان او شاهدند ازبرای او ببهشت یا آنکه او از جمله ٔ آن کسانی است که شاهدی از آنها طلب کرده خواهد شد در روز قیامت بر امتهای گذشته ، یا آنکه افتاده است بر شاهدة، یعنی زمین یا آنکه زنده و حاضر است نزد پروردگار خدای را. ج ، شهداء. (از منتهی الارب ) (از کشاف اصطلاحات الفنون ). کسی که در راه خدا و در راه خدمت بمدینه کشته شده باشد. (ناظم الاطباء). کشته شده ٔ بی گناه یا در راه خدا.

So, according to what

(لغت نامه دهخدا)

says I don't believe Neda was a 


for God, but maybe for

(کشته شده بی قصاص و دیت) , (کشته شده ٔ بی گناه )  

And having said that, I do adamantly despise the tone this blog.  I believe every life is precious on this planet, and has to be preserved and cherished to the fullest extent possible, so therefore when that precious life is so sensely lost in front our eyes it is every human being's right to mourn that lost of life in any form they chose to do so



by Iran_e_abad on


Please  refrain from using violent and insulting language. I was very
much enraged by what I read from Siamak, being  frequent vistor to his
blog. We are all human beings, we are all entitled to our opinions, we
all make mistakes and we all need a wake up call. Who knows what
condition Siamak had when he wrote this article.Drunk and hung over
from last night drinking, laid off from work, broken with a girl
friend. One thing is very clear; he needs to run by his writings with
another trusted person, before he publishes his views on the internet.
He wrote overly confident and he made some fundamental judgmental
mistakes. It is easy to judge people, it is hard to be accurate during judgment.

Whatever motivation he had to write this article, we should all avoid
using a language that promotes hatred, division and violence.

This is a request from me, although I disagree with most of Siamak's
views about Neda Soltan. Lets discuss this in the most civilized way,
like  open-minded individuals. 

I beg all of the readers to avoid using inappropriate languages. This is a precondition of a healthy conversation.



Siamack Baniameri

by Bahramerad on

I find you a nauseatingly disgusting little creature that disserves contempt and nothing more ....


شهید به معنای شهادت داده شده است


شهید مصدر فعیل از فعل شهده به معنای گواهی دادن است.
شهید را شهید می‌گویند چون «لان الله و ملائکته شهود له بالجنه» . شهید به معنای شهادت داده شده است زیرا خداوند متعال و ملائکه گواهی می‌دهند بهشت را برای شهید.
مستقل از اینکه بهشت چگونه جایی است، حوری و قلمان دارد یا خیر، لفظ شهید که ریشه اسلامی دارد به معنی شهادت داده شده است.
ندا شهید است چون  روز شهادتش خواسته به خیل جماعتی پیوست  که در مقابل ستم و ستمکار ایستادند و خداوند شاهد اوست.
متاسفانه در چند دهه اخیر لفظ شهید متقارن با خودکشی انتحاری بکار رفته واین شبهه را در بین افراد ایجاب کرده که شهید الزاما با نیت شهادت کشته می شود.
خیر دوستان اگر شما هم انسان متعالی باشید و خداوند شاهد شما  باشد در ورود به بهشت، شما نیز شهیدید.
این تعریف از دیرباز متدال بوده و نیازی به تعریف مجدد ندارد. امیدوارم این توضیح ختم الفصل کلام باشد.


Time to re-write your dictionary

by MinaNil on

Neda WAS a martyr. True, the OFFICIAL definition is the one you've listed above, but I believe the peoples' definition has changed. If you ask someone in Iran who believes in this movement, they would certainly tell you that Neda was a martyr in that she was willing to march in the street and risk her life.

No, she wouldn't have gone marching that day if she knew she was going to die. But to say that she didn't do anything for her country, which is what you are implying, is completely disrespectful. In fact, I find this entire article completely offensive.

Well DUH. We already knew that Moussavi is a no-one. So did Neda. We knew that this election was going to be bogus. So did Neda. I personally did not vote in this election, since I was not old enough, but I still wear a shirt that says, "Where is my vote?"

The slogan isn't about voting. The green isn't for Moussavi, so stop telling the Iranian youth that they're being stupid in turning him into a leader. The green is about the restlessness of the Iranian youth. They are so sick of this system, they've been silenced for so long, they don't even care anymore. They'll take the first person who has even a shadow of the qualities they want and take it as an excuse to give the regime a big fat finger. Don't tell me these protests have done nothing for Iran. For the first time since the revolution, Iran has finally been separated from the Islamic Republic. The whole world now knows that this regime does no do a good job of representing its people.

Neda knew that her going to protest wasn't safe. She'd probably seen plenty of bloodshed on the news, and she'd probably been warned. I was well aware of it, and I was afraid of death, or of even being hurt, so I stayed safe at home. That's the difference between Neda and me. Neda was not afraid. Sure, she's never written a book before, she wasn't a public Iranian figure. But her death represents something. Her death represents several other deaths. She is the new age martyr, because she was willing to risk something to be heard.


Shazde Asdola Mirza

Let's kill every iranian boy and girl, because Israel is BAD!!!

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Every voice counts! Every action counts!


khaleh mosheh: If sanctions were targetting tyrants

by Mehdi on

then why are they not targetting Israel? Isn't Israel the largets tyrant in the Middle East? Has any regime ever been more brutal and killed more? So why are there no sanctions against them and in fact they are being rewarded by US at the rate of $3 billion?

Shazde Asdola Mirza

Iran inmates 'tortured to death' - says Karubi (an Israeli !)

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Iran's defeated opposition presidential candidate has said that some protesters held after last month's disputed poll were tortured to death in prison.

The claim by Mehdi Karroubi comes days after he said a number of prisoners, both male and female, had been raped.



Khaleh Moshe

by Iran_e_abad on

Don't waste your breath on Mehdi.

He is one of the melted in Velayat, part of secret service system who is paid to defend the regime. As he noted himself to one of my responses (simin royanian video response) to him, he is not educable. Like many other uneducable people, all you need to do is to ignore him.

I just want you to direct your energy in the right path.

khaleh mosheh

Next set of sanctions

by khaleh mosheh on

are drafted due to the Khamenei/Ahmadinejad double act of tyranny and callousness as they truly have lost all credibility internally and externally.

To suggest that Neda caused the next of sanctions is preposterous- But hey since when does that stop IRI goons peddling their non-sense. 


Neda helped Israel draw the next set of sanctions on Iranians

by Mehdi on

Go figure! Israeli right wingers are preparing all the "evidence" that Iranians must be punished. They have their dogs in the US government and working hard to make sure many Iranians will die soon. Thanks Neda. Thanks for your help!


khaleh mosheh

by benross on

Check this one out. It makes me sobbing -with happiness- every-time I watch.


I will write something eventually about some of the ideas expressed here. But not now. I'm too disgusted to do anything. I just note that giving technical definition of martyr is really easy. But few people can go as low as Siamack and his supporters did in their deductions. I will write something eventually but I don't want it to be for them.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

تجاوز به دختران و پسران در بازداشتگاه ها

Shazde Asdola Mirza

مهدی کروبی، از نامزدهای معترض به نتایج انتخابات در ایران، در نامه ای به اکبر هاشمی رفسنجانی، رئیس مجلس خبرگان، از او خواسته درباره شایعاتی که درباره تجاوز به دختران و پسران در بازداشتگاه ها پخش شده است، تحقیق کند.

این نامه که در وب سایت رسمی حزب اعتماد ملی منتشر شده، تاریخ ۷ مرداد یعنی ۱۲ روز پیش را دارد و پسر آقای کروبی در توضیح آن نوشته است که پدرش این نامه را ده روز بعد از فرستادن خصوصی برای آقای هاشمی و در حالی که جوابی از او نگرفته است، برای عموم منتشر می کند.

آقای کروبی در نامه خود خطاب به آقای هاشمی می نویسد: "عده‌ای از افراد بازداشت‌شده مطرح نموده‌اند که برخی افراد با دختران بازداشتی با شدتی تجاوز نموده‌اند که منجر به ایجاد جراحات و پارگی در سیستم تناسلی آنان گردیده است. از سوی دیگر افرادی به پسرهای جوان زندانی با حالتی وحشیانه تجاوز کرده‌اند به طوری‌که برخی دچار افسردگی و مشکلات جدی روحی و جسمی گردیده‌اند و در کنج خانه‌های خود خزیده‌اند."

آقای کروبی گفته است اگر "این رفتارهای شناعت آمیز" را "به طور متواتر از افراد مختلف که در روزهای اخیر آزاد شده اند" نشنیده بود، باورشان برایش سخت بود.



by Iran_e_abad on

Mr. Angali,

I read your response multiple times to make sure I
am not acting based on the heath  generated by Siamak's article. I can
assure you that I am not mentally hot, although I am not cold-blooded
either. So rest assured that my response comes to you from deepest
layers of my tranquil mind.

You start your response by stating that

"I must admit that he is right on the dime. Philosophically—and politically—Neda is not a "martyr," per se. "

then you continue by saying that

"However, having said all that, she already has been considered a martyr in the mind of the Iranian people (and maybe others);"

carefully read the above statements I am still unclear about your
position. Are you stating that you are thinking along the Iranian 
people on this stand?! Would you kindly ellaborate where you extracted
the notion of political/philosophical  Martyr from. On the same line,
do you consider Mirzadeh Eshghi, Farrokhi-Yazdi and Golesorkhi as
martyrs of Iran?


Lets put Reza Pahlavi aside  and the
rest of the conversations that are not related to NEDA. I am neither
against or in favor of REZA PAHLAVI. This is quite irrelevant to the
main message that Siamak was trying to convey.

Siamak stated that
he is confident, and he can promise you, that NEDA Agha Soltan would
have responded to the green movement with a BILAKH in the sky. Don't
ask me how and why he is confident, just take it from him that he is
confident. Who knows, may be Siamak has connection with

Would you kindly let me know where you stand on this topic?




David ET


by David ET on

 "persian westender" so eloquently and to the point expressed my views too. thank you.  

Dear Siamack  

As much as I have enjoyed your writings over years and as much as I agree with many points of your article, I also was surprised about some of your comments, views and conclusions.

In fact you have taken the same "everyone is wrong but me" approach of many of the so called oppositions as well as IR and at the same time have undermined the struggle of Iranians by indirectly labeling them as one color or view or another as if the leaders define the people, where in fact and especially in the case of what happened before and after the elections, it was the people who defined their needs using the channels that were at their discretion, which is exactly what shook up and scared the regime to the point of resorting to open murders in the streets.

Neda by not being attached to one group or view or another, by consciously being present where she was at that moment of time and the place that she chose to be and by not asking and wishing to be killed or martyred but being aware of the consequences of not sitting at home (or behind the computer denying the realities of the day), represents a nation sacrificed at the alter of the Islamic Regime .

On the other hand , I have never cared for the Arabic word shaheed (martyr) , its religious subtone, the intentional suicide that it portrays by Shia's as well as its abuse by the regime, by terrorists and by those in power or or even its use in military terms . Indeed the word martyr has been commodity used by so many for so long from monarchists to pasdar to mojahed to leftist to suicide bombers  .....

I also agree that many act as if the regime turned bad the day after Ahmadinejad took power.... , I too agree that many have cashed in on the struggles of Iranians from the moderates to opposition to TV commentators to....

but I also now find you disconnected and somewhat disillusioned about why and what is happening in Iran. I also know it is difficult to avoid becoming infected with the contagious Diaspora decease of dissillusions of one sort or another but by maintaining direct contact with those in Iran (and not only reading and watching) you can vaccinate yourself from this common problem and "that" you do need to have if you wish to continue to remain as an author in touch with "The People".

and if not possible due to distance it is best to stay limited to what happens in Iranica as you have always captured so well. 

khaleh mosheh

Mr Angali

by khaleh mosheh on

khaleh mosheh

Dear Iran-e-abad

by khaleh mosheh on

I agree Simack satirical writing has been delightful and I had enjoyed his sporadic contributions in this website and even considered reading his book the Iranican dream. Have you read that book- Is it a good read?

This article perhaps needed a little redrafting before publishing as Siamack does have a point as a lot of people,say RP, have got on the bandwagon of Neda's tragic martyrdom. Also I agree that Neda would not have chosen this end for herself, but the irrevocable fact is that Neda's life was unjustly taken from her by the regime. All the other victims of the regime are also martyrs by extension of the same argument.



Mr. Baniameri's article!

by angali on

Although some of our friends here have attacked Siamack Baniameri for his commentary, I must admit that he is right on the dime. Philosophically—and politically—Neda is not a "martyr," per se.  Unlike Mr. Baniameri, however, I think she was at the right place and at the right time; why? Because only minutes before that she was an unknown human being on the face of this Earth, who would have died years later without much accomplishment (to be too presumptuous in my judgement), moments later she was a name known by everybody all across the globe; and her name was registered in the history for ever.  (Ironically there are many people who would give their lives (!?) to be in her shoes.)  However, having said all that, she already has been considered a martyr in the mind of the Iranian people (and maybe others); therefore, since there is nothing wrong for a nation to have heroes, by the same token it is alright to have Neda for awhile.  The problem is that people are bound to forget—as they are not that hot about Mirzadeh-ye Eshqi, Aref-e Qazvini, Khosrow-e Golsorkhi, and even Ahmad-e Shamlu (already) any longer.  Unfortunately hearing the truth is not always easy (especially when we are hot momentarily).
As for Mr. Reza Pahlavi's "crocodile tears" (/ashk-e temsaah/), the only comment that one may offer would be addressing the fact that, not only in the past thirty years, after the Iranian revolution, but also before that (for about fifty years) the Pahlavi family—and their second and third relatives—have been living on the blood of thousands of Nedas. If Mr. Pahlavi really feels that bad about someone like Neda, why is he still using up the wealth that belongs to the poor people of Iran?  Right now in Tehran, there are people/families living in Halab Aabaad ('the tin ghetto'), in shelters consisting of a 6' X 6' enclosure, made of large oil tin cans, put next to each other and covered partly by mud inside and out, whose entrance is a piece of gunny-sack; and this is a part of the memorabilia left from Mr. Pahlavi's father's days.  To repeat myself for the sake of emphasis, this wealth is the blood of thousands of Nedas in Iran.



by Iran_e_abad on

Very well said Khaleh Moshe,

Lets all echo the message that "Neda was indeed a Martyr"

Just as I tried to put behind the anger and frustration that Simin
Royanian caused to the society of Iranians, I receive this (as you
phrased it; insensitive and counterproductive) article.

I read Siamak's writing from time to time. He is indeed funny most of
the time. His recent article was rather full of humiliation than humor.

I really
hope Siamak comes out of his shell courageously and removes this
insensitive cold-feeling writing and give us some explanations in writing. I am sure he had a good intention, however
it is echoing  quite a negative and outrageous message. Lets all
hope he acts like a man and do so.

khaleh mosheh

Neda was indeed a Martyr

by khaleh mosheh on

Defining martyrdom is difficult and perhaps unnecessary as it appears to be a cold act as the concept of martyrdom is primarily based on emotions rather than logic.

Just as we do not apply emotions to mathematical problems, it may be inappropriate to try and define a tragic situation where people respond by primal instinct in the first instace by pure cold logic.

However once this is started, in my book, the murder of an innocent person by a tyrannical regime in order to create fear amongst the populace for the regime to continue their rule over the country for what appears to be pure financial gains and hunger for power,  qualifies as Martyrdom.  

I remember being on a train in the UK a few days after Neda's tragic murder on the streets of Tehran. Two English  teenagers were talking about her and how sad her death was. She certainly received respect from unrelated inexperienced youngsters who recognised a tragic loss of life when they saw one. 

Neda's memory, and the associated Iranian people's struggle against their tyrannical rulers definitely deserve far more respect, sympathy and solidarity than this article offers.

The article is insenstive and counterproductive to the cause of the struggle of the Iranian people. I understand fully the anger and the contempt it is generating in the readers. 


you are a depraved person

by farrokhzad on

I cried like a "little girl" over Neda and I bet I can kick your ars before breakfast.

Sick people! 

Anahid Hojjati

What a fantastic explanation of your outrage

by Anahid Hojjati on

I guess as they say I have to eat crow.  Dear Iran_e_abad, you explained your source of frustration and outrage very well.  I understand it.  Thanks for your comment.


To Ms. Anahid Hojjati

by Iran_e_abad on

Ms. Hojjati,

I am against abuse of power. I am against abuse
of freedom. I am against trashing a movement, and symbolizing the
resistance by portraying it as a BILAKH. This article  is not a
language of resistance, this is not the message of resistance.

Please help me to understand this, What impact does this martyrdom or non-martyrdom
of NEDA has on the movement of people? Does it help people? Does it
enlighten people? The author of this article, has clearly stated that 

"Neda just happened to get the shaft in the wrong end. If she could do
it again, I promise you that she would go home with a BIG bilaakh in
the air for the green movement, monarchists, leftists, MKO cronies and
the makers of that stupid bracelet."

makes Siamak Baniameri to believe with such a certainty that NEDA would have reacted
like this. Is the above statement part of the valid points that you are
referring to, Ms. Hojjati? Isn't this guy encouraging the people to
abandon the resistance and just show their opposition to the brutal regime
through an effective BILAKH. What makes this guy so sure about NEDA's
reaction. Is this guy in touch with IMAM-ZAMAN or GOD who can inform us
about NEDA's actual will and deed?

I have placed my outrage to the brutal killers. This is the poem that I have written to express my outrage toward them. 


However I do direct my outrage to people (Simin Royanian an example) that trash the fundamental movement of Iranian people.

Martyrdom is not a definition in the dictionary. It is an honor and privilege
that people of a country grant to the individuals  like NEDA who have
been killed for a good cause.

Siamack Baniameri
needs to think twice before posting. Web posting is free, but our
freedom is not free. NEDA was the price that people of IRAN paid to
free their land. As I stated in my earlier post

NEDA is dead now, and  her name will be remembered with dignity and respect in history of Iran. 

I really wish Siamak Had not posted this message. He sounds like a nice guy that you would like to have beer with. However I think twice or may be three times before I take a political advice from him.




persian westender

Anahid jan

by persian westender on

If I was really wise,...oh man! if I only was.....!

One more thing: I clearly remember, some posters on this website lashed out at reformists on why not they responded and appreciated the Neda’s death, the same way they did for Sohrab Aarabi’s martyrdom. Sohrab clearly was pro-green and had many photos implying his conscious affiliation to Mousavi and green movement. Now, when later Karroubi did visit the Neda’s family and they responded to Neda’s death to the same volume, they are accused of misusing her death for their agenda. In this scenario reformists sound like “choobe do sar tala”!




Siamack, While you are

by sian on


While you are entitled to your opinion, your argument muddies the conversation and depletes energy which needs to stay focused on releasing political prisoners (innocent journalists, students, activists) and maintaining progress with reformists within the IRI. Was the goal of your argument more important than that?

Your words leave us with a sense of hopelessness. Revolutions are run by emotions. Why would you want to cripple the chance for progress?