Girl Crush Revamped: Neda Agha-Soltan

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Whenever I sit down to write my bi-monthly girl crush post, I’m usually looking for someone with a hot career that’s matched by her hot body, gorgeous face, gorgeous boyfriend, and impressive array of gold Emmy’s, Oscars or Grammy’s to perch atop the mantelpiece in her (assumingly) impeccable apartment. These are the celebrities of today, right?

Well, this week, in light of the horrendous violence and political strife that has unfolded in Iran throughout the past 10 days, we’ve decided to honor the women that are risking their lives on the streets to fight for justice.

Demonstrations and riots broke out in the city of Tehran last week when voting results confirmed that the conservative candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had defeated former prime minister Mir Hussein Moussavi. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, immediately threatened protesters and the Revolutionary Guard asserted that their actions would invite confrontation from the city police force. Government security officers with weapons and tear gas have been occupying the streets since then, where deaths and injuries continue to increase in number.

The protesters, many of whom are women, believe that Ahmadinejad was re-elected unfairly and through a corrupt voting process. One woman in particular, Neda Agha-Soltan, has become a heroic figure since her death on Tuesday, when she was shot in the chest while stepping out of her car. The 26 year old, who has been described as “not political” by a relative, was on her way to a rally with her singing teacher when a shot was fired from a rooftop across the street, supposedly from a sniper. A doctor had attempted to save the young woman but failed as the bullet had made its way to her heart in only a few minutes.

Videos littering internet websites show Neda locking eyes with a video camera before dying, a chilling image that millions of Americans can’t seem to erase from their memories. Friends and relatives report that Neda was an aspiring singer and a peaceful woman, and on the day of her death she was carrying no weapons and had no plan to commit any acts of violence. In other words, she was a completely innocent bystander, not unlike any of the men, women and children that fall victim to political violence in the Middle East. This link from the New York Times features a video story about Neda and captures the image that has become so well known in only a few days.

While it may not be appropriate to refer to Neda as my girl crush, I’m sure you all will agree that women like this deserve to be honored for their bravery and courage as we cross our fingers that the violence in Iran will end soon.

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