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Remembering Neda

30 Jul 2009 13:4133 Comments

neda_agha_soltan_03a

AFP/Getty

[TEHRAN BUREAU] Caspian Makan 37, boyfriend of Neda 27 (Q&A conducted 24 June 2009)

Neda was a very happy girl, she was, how can I put it, a simple person, innocent, sweet. She was the sort of girl that when we went somewhere together, everyone liked her, people were drawn to her. She was very kind with people, she had a really sweet personality, very sweet, innocent and open. People were drawn to her.

She was not at all into politics nor was she a protestor or part of this 'green wave' movement. She didn't support any of the candidates. She just wanted democracy and a little freedom, a little freedom in a logical reasonable way, that was what she wanted -- just the basic rights of the Iranian people which this regime wants to take away from them.

We knew each for just three months. It was not long enough...

It's not true we were engaged. We were talking about it but we wanted to know each other better.

We didn't meet in Iran, we met in Turkey three months ago, we were both on holiday. Turkey is one of the few places Iranians can go to without a visa and we had both signed up with a tour. She was with a girlfriend -- she wanted to see the world as much as was possible to her -- and I had decided to take a break, to go somewhere where I could breathe a little free air. We met at the airport of Izmir. We happened to be sitting next to each other, she was with her girlfriend and we started talking. I was attracted to her smile and her lovely way of speaking and being. The holiday was 8 days long and we spent all the time together.

When we came back to Iran, we continued to see each other. We both live in Tehran, she lived with her family in the west of the city and I have a flat alone not so far away. Our relationship became deeper and we saw that we loved being with each other; we had very similar tastes, agreed on many things in life, really agreed on fundamental things. We had the same values and the same outlook on life. We were together all the time and we became very very close.

I am a writer and a filmmaker; I make natural history documentaries and she was passionate about nature too. She was very artistic and sensitive and also liked philosophy. We would have such interesting talks about philosophy, religion... She sang and played the violin and she wanted to learn the piano; she really loved music, and she had started to learn photography -- we had just bought her a nice camera, she wanted to take pictures of nature, wanted to help me with my books and with my films, and I was starting to teach her. She was very talented.

But we were not engaged because we wanted to get to know each other better, and it had only been a few months. She was a girl who didn't want to just have a boyfriend and I am past the age for playing around with relationships. I want to settle down. We were serious and because we wanted to see if we should really be together, we had decided to spend a little time apart to decide what we wanted to do.

For 10 or 12 days we didn't see each other and we had no contact because we wanted to see how we really felt about each other. We had chosen a day to meet and had agreed that on that day, we would decide if we wanted really to be together, to share a life with each other. I knew I wanted to be with her and we she came to the meeting place I knew she felt the same way and I was so happy. We both decided that we should be together so that was how we were going forward. We hadn't yet become formally engaged but it was where we were headed.

Five-six days before she was martyred, we had had a fight, because I was very worried about her walking about alone in the city and getting caught up in the protests. I didn't' feel she was safe and we had been fighting about it. She wanted to see what was going on, she wasn't part of the 'green wave' but she believed in freedom for Iran and she wanted to show her support. But she never went to the demonstrations; she was just curious and I didn't want her to do it. She was annoyed that I was not supporting her in this, she said to me: 'You support me in everything else I do, why not now?'

She didn't want any of the current candidates but she was hoping that with support maybe this was a way forward that would lead one day to democracy. She didn't believe in violence or aggression and so she didn't want to join the demonstrations.

I felt too protective of her to want her to get caught up in this. How can I explain, she was like a treasure to me and I wanted to protect her, to make sure nothing bad could happen to her.

I have a feeling often about things before they happen, a sort of sixth sense and I had a bad feeling that I couldn't shake off, so didn't want her to leave the house, to go around the city as she always did, to go near the protests, I didn't think it was safe but she insisted on going to see what was going on.

We had a date for the day after. I was supposed to see her the next day after she was martyred.

She was not going to the protest, but had been in the car for more than an hour, you know how it is driving around in Tehran, journeys can take so long and it is hot now, high summer, and because of the demonstrations it was more jammed than ever. She was hot, the air-conditioner in her car had broken... I was supposed to fix the air conditioner in her car and I hadn't got round to it.

So she got out of the car to stretch her legs. She was with her music teacher, and they were just strolling around, they were quite far from the demonstrations, not anywhere near the trouble, just on the edges, when out of nowhere, she was shot. You have seen what happened, I can't talk about it...

I think death is a natural thing, it is another state of being like sleeping, another phase that we must all face in life. But that is a natural death; to be killed, to be killed, that is not natural.

People do not have the right to take the life of another human being. Ever.

Only that who has given life can take it away, God, not people. No-one has the right to take away the life of another human being, it is wrong.

How can someone allow themselves to kill another person, a defenceless innocent person, a sweet beautiful girl who hasn't even picked up a stone, why does she have to die, why do the Nedas always have to die? Do they not have rights? They have taken all our rights, now are they taking our right to life itself? Do they not have the right to live? Do we not have the right to breathe, to be, to walk, to love, and to sing?

She wanted freedom in the country in a logical way, freedom of thought and being. She was not very impressed with any of the candidates but anyway she hoped that these protests could lead to more freedom for the country.

But instead they took her freedom, her very freedom to be alive, to breathe.

I have no expectations of this regime, I am against them and I expect nothing better of them, so I am not disappointed in their actions. But I do think that if this regime is going to be so obvious in its mistreatment of the people, of not listening to what they want and their hearts' desires, if this regime is going to set itself against the people so squarely, then why can't we talk about it? Why can't we have a debate about the problems? Why do we have to be beaten and killed? Why do they use tear gas and water hoses and bullets and air bullets and sirens to beat us back? why do they kill the Nedas of this world for their own stupid power games and pretend nothing is wrong?

These days since her martyrdom I am beside myself, but I am busy with people coming to see me and share my grief. We had a lot of friends, everyone is here, no-one is leaving me alone, I am being supported by all our friends and family.

I can't do anything, my whole life was Neda so I have no idea how to go on. I still can't believe it. I don't care if they do something to me now, they have taken away my reason for living.

Her family is also in shock, we are quite close. They can't believe it, it's not believable... How can such a thing happen? We are in touch and supporting each other as much as we can but really, what can we do, we are in disbelief. She had an older sister and a younger brother.

It was difficult to get her body from the authorities. She was in a morgue outside Tehran. The officials from the morgue asked if they could use parts of her corpse for body transplants for medical patients. Her family agreed because they wanted to bury her as soon as possible but we don't know what they wanted to use her for.

They haven't even let us hold a memorial service for her, as is our custom, three days after the death. She was buried in Behesht Zahra in southern Tehran on Sunday. They asked us to put her in a section where they already had open graves ready for the protestors they have killed or are planning to kill. The authorities know she has become a symbol of injustice of this regime for the rest of the world so they are scared to let us hold the memorial. But how can we mourn her this way, how can we celebrate her life if they won't let us do it?

Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau

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33 Comments

I am so sorry for your loss.

Heidi / July 4, 2009 10:30 AM

I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I pray for the day you all will be celebrating YOUR Independence Day and remembering the people like Neda who gave up everything for your struggle.

Greg Loiacono / July 4, 2009 11:24 AM

I wish you, Caspian & her family many condolences for a beautiful young life lost. Now in God's care she has all the freedom she desires...that those Godly fakes wouldn't allow her to have in life & she'll be your "Angel" from there...watching out for you all. You are right we should all be allowed to pass from this life in the great scheme of God's will...whatever way that might be? But no one should act God's role like this, especially not these dark clothed aged garbed "Autocrat's".


Iran will, with her spirit from heaven soon overcome all this...& I "Believe" truly that it won't be all that much longer in the future. Khamenei & ilk are old men with old ideas & the new younger Iranian's are heading fast towards taking their rightful place being the modern thinker's for their country & acting in their places...as the new face of your great country, in every walk of life...& even with a "Woman" President in the future, I wouldn't wonder.


As for Ahmadinejad the "Puppet" he will soon be joining a circus as the clown he is, or their circus in the next life, because he will be tried fiercely for killing & torturing the people for just exercising their right's through the recent election. . Will pray for you & Neda's soul & I am praying & willing Iran to its "Freedom by the second. The second's are quickly counting down to that glorious "Day" & it will be "Glorious"!

v.gerrard / July 4, 2009 11:28 AM

I am so sorry for the "loss of Neda." Never give up - Never stop fighting for peace - Never quit in "Standing Tall" for Freedom, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all!


God bless You and your efforts!


You're in my Prayers!


Sincerely,

Mister Charles

Founding Co-Director

KURDISH AMERICAN SCHOOL

Charles Lingerfelt / July 4, 2009 11:45 AM

Caspian, I can't imagine what you are going through. Soon after the revolution this regime killed my best friend under torture (they kicked him so much that his kidneys stopped working). He was 17.


But to lose a future spouse is so much harder than even a best friend. I wish you patience and perseverance until the day that we can all freely mourn those taken away from us at such young age.

I feel for you / July 4, 2009 11:54 AM

She gave her life for freedom

He gave his life to her.

They shared for but a season.

The rest is all a blur.


The cold wind blew and took her

to her eternal home.

He doesnt have his Neda,

yet still he's not alone.


The whole world stands with Caspian

our hearts are broken too.

but the cause that Neda died for

is Democracy for you.

Jack / July 4, 2009 12:03 PM

Your story will carry on her incredible spirit and will continue to fuel the rising fight for justice everywhere. You asked how can people do this to one another and the answer is that these are not people with a human spirit. These people have allowed dark forces to use them and commit acts of such despicable magnitude. The Iranian regime is infiltrated with many dark forces and they are using the guise of Islam to perpetuate their control of the Iranian ppl. Look to the light within your Mousavi and demand that he stay aligned with democracy, equal rights for all and justice for all people. Only then will Neda's spirit rest in peace.

amber / July 4, 2009 12:05 PM

My condolences to you all, we all grieve with you for all the losses that Iran is suffering at the hands of these despots. Maybe their not allowing you to mourn is something that you can use and take that pain and use in the battle that you have ahead of you. This bond with others that mourn can not be broken it is too strong. Support, love and hold onto each other and seek a plan to break this tyranny you are under and then you can mourn properly for your beloved Neda and others for their loved ones too. There is a season for all things, a time to love, a time to cry and time to fight for what is right and may God show you when the time is right for all these things. You are not alone we are all with you and pray for you.

Dawn Harfield Prince / July 4, 2009 1:50 PM

Neda was a beautiful flower of the Persian people. I am so sorry for your pain and loss, and that of her family. I can only hope that the sacrifice of her blood helps to free your country from dictators so that other young girls can live their full measure of years in the freedom that is fostered by peace and love.

ember / July 4, 2009 5:13 PM

Dear Caspian,


we are with you.

Tami / July 5, 2009 4:49 AM

Dear Caspian,


I am truly sorry for you loss. Neda was a very courageous woman and you are a courageous man. She paid the ultimate price for liberty and Freedom. I am is complete support of your cause for democracy in your country. I will keep you, her and the rest of your countrymen in my prayers. Keep Fighting for your rights. I am with you.

Vincent Shapanus / July 5, 2009 7:23 PM

she will not be forgotten.just look at how the whole WORLD responding to our and her voice ???????????????????

We all LOVE u NEDA .you became an innocent symbol for our poor COUNTRY.

LONG LIVE IRAN

hassan / July 6, 2009 10:51 AM

Stalin, a tyrant worse than Ahmadinejad or Khamenei, said it all when he said, "Each death is a tragedy while a million is only a statistic". In their intended inhumanity the IRI's ruling gerontocracy took a young woman's life and gave Iran and the world an enduring icon of Freedom. Neda and her memory are beyond their reach. Every day her memory like trickling water which can wear away rock erodes the base of support on which the IRI is built.

Richard Kadas / July 6, 2009 11:20 AM

We'll never give up and I know we'll win this war... The Victory is ours.

Freedom, or Death.

Amir / July 6, 2009 4:25 PM

Thank you, Caspian, for sharing both your pain, and your feelings toward Neda with the world. Your touching description of her and how sweet and attractive she was to everyone around her will underscore the tragedy of her senseless murder, and the immorality and unworthiness of the regime and its armed thugs.

She, in her death, will have more effect on the future of Iran than almost any single person will with all their life's work.

I pray that you will be comforted, and you might draw strength from that sixth sense you felt, that she was in danger, since it demonstrated that there is more going on than just the simple physical world. It also should reassure you that she is waiting for you, where nothing can hurt her any more.

May others draw strength and inspiration to live their lives fully, and to not put up with government that does not care much for the safety and views of its people.

May the people of Iran prosper.

Roger / July 6, 2009 9:22 PM

In my prayers for the people and nation of Iran, it has seemed to me that God has emphasized these scriptures from the Bible for the situation there, and in particular about what has happened to this beautiful and good young woman:


"The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow, to cast down the afflicted and the needy, to slay those who are upright in conduct. Their sword will enter their own heart, and their bows will be broken.


The Lord knows the days of the blameless and their inheritence will be forever.


For those blessed by Him will inherit the land; but those cursed by Him will be cut off."


Psalm 37:14-15, 18, 22


I grieve with you, but Neda's death is not the end. I have been young, and now I am old, and I know there is an eternal life beyond this one. In that life, we will have and never lose our loved ones, as we always do in this imperfect earth. You are a tender and inspiring young man, and I pray you will never lose those qualities. May God sustain you in this life, and bring you to reunion with this beautiful young woman in the next life.

inara / July 7, 2009 10:41 AM

My condolences to all of you. More so the Neda's family. GOD IS GREAT, ISA AL-MASIH will judge those who are evil...

Lawa / July 10, 2009 10:52 PM

This is for Jack who wrote a poem to Neda on July 4th. Thank you for it. Jack, I am a French poet and I am asking you permission to translate your poem and put it online.

Please let me know by email

mybonnemaman@gmail.com

Thank you and bless you

Nanehlala

Nanehlala / July 13, 2009 7:17 AM

dying eyes

(a song for Neda Agha Sultan)


her eyes roll back and far to the side

she's gone, gone now, nothing left to hide

unjust, insane, unholy, fair unfair

it's neither here nor there

she was taken away by an age-old war

hope we can now see what she died for


the blood now flows from mouth and nose

somebody pressing the wound screams

but she's gone, gone now, that we should see

she's gone, gone for eternity

all now red, white, black it seems

but it's not just Neda here we can now see


(chorus)

i saw, i saw a woman die

i saw, i saw her dying eyes

i saw, i saw a woman die

i saw, i saw her dying eyes


a symbol, a message, a meaning she may be

once a woman, a daughter, a sister there to see

but now gone and never never a mother to be

and though once a danger there to somebody

and maybe somehow even now or yet to be

that's not just Neda there we can now see


(chorus)


she was often covered there, hidden, had to be

under a thumb, that chador she sometimes wore

but while dying, on her we could clearly see

sneakers, jeans, modernity

Neda now plain to see

Neda now plain to see


peace, peace be upon you, Neda

peace

peace, peace be upon you, Neda

peace

Larry LeFever / July 24, 2009 6:15 PM

A truly peaceful soul. God Bless her. God will give you peace and rest for the weary. God, is a peaceful soul.

God is gentle and kind. An all loving and merciful God. God is peace.

"They" rest together.

A soul mate / August 1, 2009 3:19 PM

i love u neda . we cant stop crying for u

azam / September 28, 2009 3:10 PM

There is not a day,or waking moment I do not think of my loved ones, who are not in this world with me, my mother and father, the good ,the well-intented words of wisdom, the positive affirmation of my right to be. The truly noble virtues of my mother,the drive, who inspiration she encouraged in my father. He was not afraid to stand against racial inequality,the oppression of tyrannical rules, he referred to them as "fat cats" ,who liked a cast system and the ones who suffer the most are the innocent. "Life is a divine gift"that is to be shared with all man-kind. We are given a mission in life to help the less-fortunate,to rectify the injustices of this world.to bring hope,where there has been disullion,to lift your friend,to listen,to care,to give of your time.Nada's death to me is like Jesus

Janet Finch Sedano / October 14, 2009 8:02 PM

I Love You Neda.I love you.I cry. I love you.I see you face,and I cry

marek2a / November 18, 2009 1:37 AM

I Love You Neda.I love you.I cry. I love you.I see you face,and I cry

marek2a / November 18, 2009 1:50 AM

I am so sorry for your loss.she will not be forgotten .

rojin / November 20, 2009 6:24 PM

Freedome for Iran.
Neda! World will never forget you.

Hamid / December 6, 2009 10:47 AM

Down with Khamenehi , he is wild animal and the diktator !
Down with Ahmadinejad , he is the cruel lier diktator !
one of Iranian police with army gun kills Neda

Hassan / December 13, 2009 12:39 PM

زنده باد آزادی
پاینده باد ایران

milad / January 28, 2010 6:19 PM

I pray for Neda, I pray for Iran, I pray for your Freedom.

Rachel / March 23, 2010 12:55 AM

you and greens just tell lie.
GO TO HELL

zeinab / June 12, 2010 6:40 PM

نامه ای به خواهرم ندا( شهید آزادی) که مظلومیت تو تمام جهان را فرا گرفته است!

امروز که یکسال از شهادت تو ای خواهر عزیزم میگذرد دشمن تو آنچنان خوار و زبون گشته است که دیگر

برای او رمقی وجود ندارد هر چند که این دیو خون خوار اهریمنی همچنان گل های نازنینی همچون تو را پر

پر میکند اما هر روز شاهد باز شدن غنچه ای تازه در دل این بیابان وحشت هستیم! میدانم که تو با چشمان

پاکت ما را مشاهده می کنی و امیدوارم که دعای خیر تو ما را پشتیبان باشد!

هر چند که به شخص لیاقتی از خود نتوانستم نشان دهم تا راه پاکت را ادامه دهم .

اما هنوز از پا نیافتاده و نخواهم افتاد تا پرچمی آزادی و رهایی که تو در دست گرفتی را در سراسر میهن

پاک تو ای ندا عزیز بر افراشته سازم! دشمن رذل و کثیف اهریمنی فکر می کند که تو دیگر فراموش شده

ای اما نمی داند که هرگز نمیرد کسی که دلش به عشق شود آشنا! و حقیقتا تو عاشق بودی و ما در آن زمان

غافل و حتی جاهل !

ولی تو با نور چشمان پاکت قفل های ذهن و قلب ما را شکستی و ما را با حقیقت آشنا نمودی!

میدانم که الان تو بهشتی و داری ما را مشاهده می کنی ! ندا عزیز از صمیم قلب دوستت دارم !

نهایت آرزوی من قدم برداشتن در راهی است که تو آغاز کننده آن بودی !

سلام مرا به اهورامزدا خدای پاک و مهربان و زرتشت عزیز برسان!

من خداحافظی نمی کنم ! دلیل نداره خداحافظی کنم ! من فقط به تو درود می فرستم و یادت را در قلبم زنده

میدارم !

خواهر عزیزم ندا دوستت دارم ! مساری ( زرتشتی آزاد)


masare / June 14, 2010 12:25 AM

dear neda to hamishe dar ghalbe man zende hasti na behtare begam ghalbe ma maaaaaaaaa be delavarie u eftekhar mikonim midonam khoda intor ke tarif mishe nist kheili bakhshande tar az in harf hastttttttttttttt baraye arameshe rohat hamegi doa mikonim

tanaz / June 21, 2010 2:05 PM

NEDA IS OUR FREEDOM MESSAGE !NEDA SAID FREEDOM IN IRAN IS NEAR !WE ARE ALL ALSO NEDA ! NEDA STILL IS ALIVE!

BOB / July 10, 2010 7:40 AM