Tuesday, June 23

Collataral Damage: A Whole New Definition

This isn't often the stuff of this blog. But this time, I am making an exception.

Wow. And wow again. Now this is an interesting and possibly unanticipated side effect.

Women in Iran daring men to hit them. A woman who walks down the street in a revealing dress, "displaying her long curly hair". Another woman acknowledging her boldness. Women not surrendering to fear despite nearly unparalleled risk.

Some time ago, in this blog, I spoke bluntly about martyrs and heroes, about the people and about those words, and about how they are, in my opinion, used too freely. It was for precisely this reason. Neda. Even in this case, I don't know if the words are fitting or precise--she surely did not die "voluntarily". But there is no doubt that she is now the face of struggle. Her father risked his life to take the video. I can't possibly imagine what that took.

If you do not know of Neda Agha-Soltan, or have not seen the video, please be sure to do that, as horrifying as it is to watch--I do not include it here, either embedded or as a link, despite it's importance, because I simply cannot watch it again, I cannot deal with the spirit of violence that it illustrates living within the life of this blog. But every adult should watch it--it's easy to find.

We should watch it because we too easily forget. We forget that war is ugly, horrendous, unthinkable. We forget that violent death is not the stuff of video games. This is our chance to witness.

Collateral damage, indeed.

In the honor of these brave women, both those who have died and those who are joining their hands and raising their voices together, a poem by Forugh Farrokhzad, an Iranian woman poet. Not a poem of violence, but of the spirit that women bring to this struggle, to all struggles.


I will greet the sun again;

I will greet the streams which flowed in me;

I will greet the clouds which were

my lengthy thoughts;

I will greet the painful growth of poplars

Which pass through the dry seasons;

I will greet the flocks of crows

Which brought me, as presents,

The sweet smells of the fields at night;

I will greet my mother who lived in the mirror

And was the image of my old age;

And I will also greet the earth whose burning womb

Is filled with, green seeds by the passion she has

for reproducing me.

I will come, I will come,

I will come with my hair,

As the continuation of the smells of the soil;

With my eyes, as the dense experiences of darkness,

Carrying the bushes I have picked in the woodlands

beyond the wall.

I will come, I will come,

I will come and the entrance will be filled with love;

And at the entrance I will greet again

those who are in love,

And also the girl who is still standing

At the entrance in diffusion of love.

Forugh Farrokhzad

( 1933 - 1967 )


Camlin said...

My friend A left Iran five years ago - to give her family a better life, to live with the freedom she desires. She struggles every day, with the language, the culture, the strain of having to start all over again in her fifties. She taught me so much about Iranian culture, about the issues there. I fear for her extended family, part of the protesting group. and I stand in admiration of those who dare, who put their lives on the line. Thank you for posting this piece.

Anonymous said...

That is so sad what happened to that poor girl.