Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Neda Agha-Soltan

Neda Agha-Soltan was an unintentional hero. On June 20, the 26-year-old Iranian had just stepped out of her car on a quiet side street near a clash between pro- and anti-government forces when a shot rang out, piercing her chest. Agha-Soltan's bloody, panicked last moments, captured by a mobile-phone camera and uploaded to the Internet, turned into probably the most widely witnessed death in human history. Almost immediately, the philosophy student with little interest in politics became a symbol of the opposition movement against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's widely disputed re-election. In the days and weeks that followed, Agha-Soltan's name became a battle cry for Iranian protesters, her face a symbol for the thousands of people who suffered under the government's heavy-handed crackdown.