September 15 1963
June 20th 2009
Where does one begin a journey in time?
I will choose the older date because it became one that fundamentally changed how
I view the world.
In September of 1963 like many in the United States I was filled with great hope and expectations from myself and from the country I called home.
Events having nothing at all to do with myself, and occasions I could not relate to or
understand became moments in history that impacted my life. The 60s in the USA
was a period for exploration, a period for hope, a period for protests political and
social. A period when passion ran high, and also a period when this nation was
experiencing voiced racial unrest. I was the observer without full understanding
because I had not yet heard my own voice.
September 15, 1963 something happened in the USA, a bomb planted in the church
they attended in Alabama, USA killed, Denise Mc Nair age 11, Addie Mae Collins 14,
Carol Robertson 14 and Cynthia Wesley also 14. These girls were black, I knew
nothing about them and still know nothing about their short lives.
Much later on I was to have my first child. For some reason I remembered the
article I had read about the children in Alabama. I had a new child carrying with her
the promises of FREEDOM and LIBERTY and JUSTICE but my concerns were close to
home. I soon forgot about the children in Alabama.
It was years later when I met
sculptor John Henry Waddell that the children of Alabama impacted my life. Master
Waddell who was older than I was in 1963 understood the effect this act of horrific
violence would have. Being a sculptor he immortalized Denise, Addie Mae, Carol
and Cynthia, with sculpture called: "That Which Might Have Been". Poured at his
foundry this series met with an interesting set of event we need not to explore here.
For those of you with an interest in seeing a photo and a story about John Henry
Waddell, you may visit www.evelinenow.com there; you can click on Articles and
again on "Beauty and the Beast in Cornville, Arizona".
Now I know the death of the four girls in Alabama was not in vain. The event did not only impact my life but the life of every American black or white even if like me they
knew nothing or very little about it all. A new era was born, new solutions
presented themselves, and a new way of thinking was born and continues to grow.
As you read on, you probably wonder what does June 20, 2009 have to do with my journey.
For this we must now travel to Iran, the shores of this beautiful, colorful and
passionate country find its salty temperament in the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf
and many countries.
I continue to be the same observer I was in the 1960 and I believe that Iran is
perhaps experiencing comparable maladies as the USA did. Freedom, Liberty and
Justice, Political and Social unrest seem to be guiding lights in the quest of men and
women no matter where they come from or what color they may be. Iran does not
escape the tide. I am the observer who once again does not understand, yet, I am
the one once again impacted by an event.
On June 20th 2009, something happened in Teheran not too far from a park where
tea is served to passer-by. The people of Iran heard through one voice a cry for
FREEDOM, LIBERTY and JUSTICE! One Voice immortalized by the cameras and the
telephones of a century offering unlimited technology. One voice, crying about
POLITICAL AND SOCIAL JUSTICE. One voice, the voice of: NEDA AGHA SOLTAN.
I now know Neda Agha Soltan, gunned down on this dreadful day did not die a
horrific death in vain. It appears, as a student of philosophy, Neda dared to dream
not only for herself but also, for the people of her country. She was there with her
father, at the place where many had assembled to protest the lack of justice, political
and social, her head covered with her traditionally wrapped black shawl in respect
for Allah or in fear of those demanding that her head be covered. No one will know
the answer to the mysteries of this life.
We may not immediately know or understand the impact her life and her violent
death will have on the people of Iran. As the cameras and the telephones
photographed her last minutes, her last breath, her father at her side, his bluestripped
shirt covered with the blood of this beloved daughter, in a street in
Teheran where people gathered often to walk, to chat and to have tea. Neda was
immortalized not like the children from Alabama for she knew she was dying and a
sculpture of her would not be permissible at in Teheran. Without deliberate
intention each of the people with cameras, telephones and videos present and near
Neda Agah Soltan, left indelible marks for the world to see.
Let us salute NEDA AGHA SOLTAN; for she too will bring change to her country, I am
an observer and as you read this do not wait years to be affected. Find your voice
and let it be heard.
People of Iran, your country need you and non-Iranians, you too can be an
instrument of change. I just did!
Eveline Horelle Dailey is a writer, lecturer, and an observer of humanity and also a sympathizer of the cause for which Neda Agha Soltan died.
Visit her at <www.evelinenow.com>