I Am Neda

June 8, 2010

By Mikel Jollett and Nazanin Boniadi for The Neda Project

Actress Nazanin Boniadi and The Airborne Toxic Event's Mikel Jollett

The tragic death of Neda Agha-Soltan on June 20th, 2009, sent a shiver down the cumulative spine of all freedom-loving people across the world. She quickly became the face of the human rights movement in Iran and has given a voice to the voiceless around the world.

In honor of her and in solidarity with the people of Iran, The Airborne Toxic Event and Amnesty have teamed up for the Neda Project. The song “Neda” is released on iTunes today (Tuesday, June 8th) with ALL proceeds from sales to benefit Amnesty International.

In addition to the iTunes release, we have made a web-based video retelling the historic events around Neda’s death. The purpose of the video is to tell the story to people of the world who may not be aware of the Iranian struggle for freedom and to send a message to people living inside Iran that we stand with them and support their brave efforts.

What you can do:

1.  Watch the video

2.  Send out a message via your various social media, alerting others to the video. If you use twitter include this text:

I am Neda. www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXN_yCSbUYk #neda r/t

3.  Change your Facebook/Myspace/Imeem status to “I am Neda”

4.  Upload a picture of yourself holding a sign saying “I am Neda”

5.  Visit nedaspeaks.org to learn more about the struggle for human rights in Iran and to participate in specific political actions that Amnesty has crafted urging the release of political prisoners.

Why Neda?

We believe that the viral video of Neda’s death was a sea-change in political power in the world. It was the first viral video to change the course of history, a symbol that the power of broadcasting is no longer simply in the hands of governments and corporations, but in the hands of people. It is in the hands of anyone with a cell phone camera and an internet connection. It is in your hands right now.

The Neda Project is an exercise in that new-found power.

Neda represents the most fundamental decency of the human spirit standing in the face of the most base corruption of that spirit. All she wanted was for her vote to be counted. She was shot in the chest in the street in broad daylight holding a sign that said simply “freedom.”

Many others died that week and yet more were wrongfully imprisoned, beaten, tortured and executed in the year since. Some still sit in jail cells. These are people we do not know and we will never meet. But we must let them know that we stand with them.

On the day of her death, on the last phone call she made before she was shot, Neda called her mother. Her mother begged her to come home since everyone knew there were people being killed in the streets.

Neda said, “If I don’t go, who will?”

This is the question we now pose to you: If we don’t raise our voices, who will?

Join us. This is our time to stand up for freedom.

Mikel Jollett is the lead singer for the band The Airborne Toxic Event. Nazanin Boniadi is an Actress and Spokesperson for Amnesty International USA.