The thought that what is happening in Iran is so much more than a mere election has struck many of us as self-evident. Would they show this ferocious courage simply for a fixed election? I don't think so. And others, much more learned express it better.
Hamid Dabashi, Kevorkian professor of Iranian studies and comparative literature at Columbia University:
I see the moment we are witnessing as a civil rights movement rather than a push to topple the regime. If Rosa Parks was the American “mother of the civil rights movement,” the young woman who was killed point blank in the course of a demonstration, Neda Agha-Soltan, might very well emerge as its Iranian granddaughter.
It seems to me that these brave young men and women have picked up their hand-held cameras to shoot those shaky shots, looking in their streets and alleys for their Martin Luther King. They are well aware of Mir Hossein Moussavi’s flaws, past and present. But like the color of green, the very figure of Moussavi has become, it seems to me, a collective construction of their desires for a peaceful, nonviolent attainment of civil and women’s rights. They are facing an army of firearms and fanaticism with chanting poetry and waving their green bandannas. I thought my generation had courage to take up arms against tyranny. Now I tremble with shame in the face of their bravery.
The idea of "Neda", apart from the young woman herself who was murdered on the street, suggests to me Women's rights, above all. The suppression, even the targeting of women protestors of any age, is perhaps the greatest threat to the orthodoxy under which Iran is governed.
Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi put it this way:
Many fear that a second term for a man first elected in 2005 in part on a platform of restoring "Islamic values" will only prove worse than the first.
"The root of the current unrest is the people's dissatisfaction and frustration at their plight going back before the election. Because women are the most dissatisfied people in society, that is why their presence is more prominent."
The video above was taken from an Iranian YouTube video, Neda ye Sarzamin. I could find no translation for it, except that it is a tribute to Neda Agha Soltan. I've added some pictures to make my point.