Memorial for slain protester banned

"They killed Neda, but not her voice."

By STEPHANIE RUBENSTEIN
June 23, 2009 22:45
1 minute read.
Memorial for slain protester banned

iran protest mousavi 248 88. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Iranian authorities have banned a memorial service for Neda Agha Soltan, the 27-year-old woman who has quickly become the face of the Iranian rebellion, after she was killed at a Teheran rally supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi on Saturday. Her memorial had been set to be held at the Niloofar mosque in the city's Abbas Abad district, but was banned "in case her death turns into a potent symbol of opposition," according to posts on social networking Web sites Facebook and Twitter. Soltan's body was transferred to her family, and she was reportedly buried on Monday at the Behesht Zahra cemetery in southern Teheran. "Why'd they bury her so covertly?" many Twitter users were asking. "Why'd they ban all mosques from hosting her funeral?" The Iranian government refused calls for a public funeral for Soltan, fearing it would serve as a central rallying point, according to reports, and only allowed a private memorial for the family. Soltan's killing by a Basij Islamist fighter was captured on video, and has been viewed by over 118,000 people since it was posted on YouTube. British newspaper The Guardian interviewed Hamed, the Iranian man who posted his friend's now-famous footage on the video Web site. "I was confused and I was crying at the same time," he said of the moment he watched the video for the first time. "I felt that I must broadcast it and publish it to try to show the world what is going on in my country." Soltan - whose first name, Neda, means "voice" in Farsi - is being referred to as "everyone's sister, everyone's daughter, everyone's voice for freedom" on posts across the Internet. "They killed Neda, but not her voice," read one post on Twitter - which many network users are "re-tweeting," or reposting. Due to the media blockade by the Iranian government, citizens have taken to social networking sites as their main means of spreading news about what is occurring on the ground there. "You are the idea of freedom now," a member of a Facebook group dedicated to Soltan wrote on the group's wall, adding a quote from Alan Moore's V for Vendetta: "And ideas are bulletproof."

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