I watched the video of Neda Soltan dying on the streets of Tehran. I wished I hadn’t.
For those who don’t yet know, you will, but I can give you a brief summary. A girl in Iran was protesting like hundreds of thousands of others, and was shot in the chest. Someone with a video camera caught her final moments. I won’t link to the video—Google it if you need to see it. Likely it will be shown to you whether you search it out or not. It is gruesome, raw. What role her death plays in the hurricane of Iranian politics is still unknown. Considering the cresting level of outrage in Iran, it was likely a martyr would be found, the crowds seeking an icon. “Neda” is becoming the rallying cry, so reported by the few journalists not yet thrown out of the country by Ahmedinejad’s thought police. But I don’t want to talk politics or revolution.
What gets to me is the loss. When I was single, I clenched my jaw when people told me I wouldn’t understand something until I was married. When married, it was stuff I wouldn’t “get” until I had kids. As much as I hate to admit it, the parenting part is true. I understand things on a visceral level that I could never have before. By raising your own child, you form a bond that is beyond what you can experience in any other way. This doesn’t downplay the bond you have with your mate, but with a child you add a layer of animalistic protection. If my child were threatened, I have no doubt I would fight with tooth and claw to protect her, wild instinct giving me strength and fury. I have heard of the terrifying danger of getting between a bear and its cubs, now I understand it in my core.
This brings us to the death of Neda. Her loss is immeasurably greater because she has parents who have raised her and seen her taken from them, her precious life bleeding away onto the pavement. I understand loss as a parent much differently than I did before. Protect the girl, my heart tells me, protect her above all else. As a parent, it kills me to see that video and know the pain her parents must feel that they couldn’t protect her.