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Iran: The power of the Neda video
Will a video of the death of Iranian protester Neda Agha Soltan bring down the government?
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ran's protesters now have a powerful martyr, said Robin Wright in Time. "Gruesomely captivating video of a young woman" identified as "Neda" swept YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other websites over the weekend. (watch the video of Neda's death—warning: extremely graphic and disturbing) Neda is a symbol of the pro-democracy uprising now, and the traditional Shiite Muslim observances of her martyrdom could galvanize the movement. "Her death may have changed everything."

"There's no way to be sure," said Ulrike Putz in Der Spiegel, that the 40-second video really shows the death of a young demonstrator, Neda Agha Soltan, who was shot in the heart by a Basij militia member. Like all the tweets and images streaming out of Iran, "it is impossible to verify its authenticity." But the Neda video is everywhere, so—authentic or not—it could change history the way photos of the Shah's troops shooting unarmed demonstrators did in 1979.

Like the man standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square, said Gawker, the Neda video "is destined to become the image that few of us who saw/see it will ever forget." But there's no guarantee that Neda Agha Soltan's death will "galvanize the Iranian revolutionaries." This tragedy might just "scare enough of them into submission" to allow the government to get away with rigging the election to keep President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office.

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