Time - 100 Photographs - The Most Influential Images of All Time - USA (2019)

(Antfer) #1



Neda Agha-Soltan was an unlikely viral icon. On June 20,
2009, the 26-year-old stepped out of her car on a Tehran street
near where Iranians were massing in protest of what was seen
as the farcical re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadine-
jad. The Islamic Republic was experiencing its worst unrest
since the 1979 revolution. The state made it illegal to join the
demonstrations and barred most foreign media, which meant
the burden of bearing witness was largely left to the citizens
who waded in, cell phones in hand. It was around 6:30 p.m.
when Agha-Soltan was struck in the chest by a single bullet,

said to originate from a progovernment sniper, though no one
was ever charged. Men struggled to save her as others focused
their cameras on the unfolding tragedy. One frame from the
footage freezes her final gaze as streaks of deep red formed a
web on her face. The image, among the earliest and easily the
most significant to ever go viral, commanded the world’s at-
tention. Within hours, footage uploaded anonymously to You-
Tube had been viewed by the President of the United States—
proof that our new digital age could not only connect people;
it could pry open even the staunchest of regimes.
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