Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Death: It's Always the Death of One Person

This is not a family-blog entry, and never mind the picture. Actually, it is because of the picture and because of what happened to the girl shown.

In this day and age of death and destruction delivered to our homes at dinnertime, in this day and age of numbers—"14 people died in recent riots in the streets of XYX", and so on—people usually fail to appreciate that it's not 14 people who died, but 14 individuals, each of them with, maybe not the same but equivalent, hopes and dreams as ourselves, with lives that were just as irrevocably lost into the dreary finality of dead-forever. They weren't "14" but 14 x "1".

I don't know if that conveys what I'm trying to say here, but just to drive it home, below is a link to a video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, one young woman shot on the streets of Tehran. I warn you: it is a harrowing clip. Not so much because it is graphic; there are considerably more gruesome videos around for those seeking thrills and sick entertainment. But to watch the death of Neda Agha-Soltan is so shocking because it is to witness it; to witness the extinguishing of a human life, brought closer perhaps because it is a young woman, and—particularly for Westerners—a yong woman that could have walked the streets and lived a life anywhere in one of our 'civilized' countries.

The clip makes no political point, unless one wishes to project it onto it—and it is easy to do so, of course, because of its context, and because the murder shown was committed by one of the literally millions of licensed thugs, the Basij, that act as the long and pervasive arm of the tyrants ruling Iran. But above all, this clip shows that every death is the death of a person—and the person in this case, could have been the girl living next door to any of us.

Please note: do not watch this clip if you think you can't handle it! It'll haunt you through your days and nights if you can't compartmentalize that kind of thing.


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