Remembering Neda



June 20th, 2010  was the one year anniversary of Neda Agha Soltan death,  my 26-year-old fellow Iranian country woman who was shot to death  on a Tehran street in the unrest that followed Iran’s disputed election in June 2009.

I am begging my fellow Washingtonians and the rest of the world not to forget about Neda!

Although Neda, whom her relatives described as non-political, was killed on a quiet street and was not participating in any political rally when she was shot, she became an instant symbol of the anti-government movement when a video of her death was shared on social networking sites.

Shortly after Neda died, the man whose 40-second video of her death has ricocheted around the world made a somber calculation in what has become the cat-and-mouse game of evading Iran’s censors. He knew that the government had been blocking Web sites like YouTube and Facebook. Trying to send the video there could have exposed him and his family.

Instead, he e-mailed the two-megabyte video to a nearby friend, who quickly forwarded it to the Voice of America, the newspaper The Guardian in London and five online friends in Europe, with a message that read, “Please let the world know.” It was one of those friends, an Iranian expatriate in the Netherlands, who posted it on Facebook, weeping as he did so, he recalled.

Copies of the video, as well as a shorter one shot by another witness, spread almost instantly to YouTube and were televised within hours by CNN. Despite a prolonged effort by Iran’s government to keep a media lid on the violent events unfolding on the streets, Neda was transformed on the Web from a nameless victim into an icon of the Iranian protest movement.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and telezoo.com that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @ awesomize.me

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