Thursday, June 25, 2009

Iran 'Angel of Freedom': Dying seconds that last for ever - Cassandra Jardine for

Cassandra Jardine for, "Neda never set out to be a martyr: her boyfriend has said that she was with her music teacher when she briefly stepped out of the car, only to become caught up in history. Yet she is already on her way to becoming Iran's Joan of Arc, its answer to Jan Palach.

The blackened face of Palach, the student who set fire to himself in 1969, has become the lasting image of the Czech fight against Soviet repression. Palach knew what he was dying for, but any meaning attached to Neda's death has been projected on to her by those looking for a symbol, a poster girl for the opposition. No one knows her views on freedom. All we really know of her is that pale face covered in blood.

These images, as the great war photographer Don McCullin has said, are our modern version of religious icons, with the eyes of the victim invariably looking heavenwards for deliverance as martyrs did in old master paintings. A painting does not purport to represent reality; photographs and films do, but they can almost as easily be manipulated.

Posted via web from calligaris's posterous

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