Thomas Jefferson was once famously quoted as saying: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." As of Saturday, June 20, 2009, Iran added Neda Soltan as another in that storied list of patriots.
She was 16 years old, born a decade and a half after the Islamic Revolution, lead by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini swept the Shah from power. She had only known life under the Supreme Leadership, yet she ended up becoming a martyr for liberty.
The exact sequence of events leading up to her death are not entirely clear. But as is often the case in these ever more modern times, the graphic video of her death stretched to the ends of the Earth and to the seat of power in Iran, within hours, if not minutes, of her passing.
What matters now is the Iranian protesters in the streets now have a face for their revolution. And while their leader remains the unlikely Mir Hossein Mousavi, they shall have their own saint, The Angel of Iran.
Neda is sure to become another iconic image of the small standing up to the strong; the Davids against the Goliaths; the Iranian Tankman.
Let us all hope that her sacrifice is more successful than the youths that gave their lives and futures at Tiananmen Square twenty years ago.
Neda, may you touch the face of God.
June 23, 2009 Addendum and Correction:
I was incorrect to report Neda's age as 16. According to the most recent news, she was 26. However, this does not change much. She was still a young, vivacious woman who tragically lost her life to the senseless, selfish power mongering by an illegitimate regime of old fart holy rollers.