In Iran, One Woman's Death May Have Many Consequences
Of the dozens killed, hundreds arrested, and even more injured and MIA, Iran has an iconic new martyr, a woman killed on camera, shot by a militia
Iran's revolution has now run through a full cycle. A gruesomely captivating video of a young woman - laid out on a Tehran street after apparently being shot, blood pouring from her mouth and then across her face - swept Twitter, Facebook and other websites this weekend. The woman rapidly became a symbol of Iran's escalating crisis, from a political confrontation to far more ominous physical clashes. Some sites refer to her as "Neda," Farsi for the voice or the call. Tributes that incorporate startlingly upclose footage of her dying have started to spring up on YouTube.
"Neda" is already being hailed as a martyr, a second important concept in Shiism. With the reported deaths of 19 people Saturday, martyrdom also provides a potent force that could further deepen public anger at Iran's regime. (See the Top Ten Players in Iran's Power Struggle.)
The belief in martyrdom is central to modern politics as well as Shiite tradition dating back centuries in Iran. It too helped propel the 1979 revolution. It sustained Iran during the eight-year war with Iraq, when over 120,000 Iranians died in the bloodiest modern Middle East conflict. Most major Iranian cities have a Martyrs' Museum or a Martyrs' cemetery.
Prtests got worse over the weekend, but are slowing this week, it seems.
Iranian police use force to break up protest
The country's highest electoral authority, the Guardian Council, acknowledged on Monday that there were voting irregularities in 50 electoral districts, the most serious official admission so far of problems in the election. But the council insisted the problems do not affect the outcome of the vote.