[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/25/iran.ambassador/art.neda.jpg caption="Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, was shot to death in Tehran on Saturday."]
Special to CNN
Since last Saturday, the images of Neda Agha Soltan, the young woman who died on the streets of Tehran, keep playing before my eyes.
When I don't look at the clip on my computer, it runs on its own in my mind's eye.
What has me so riveted is not entirely empathy, the intuitive human response the images are bound to stir in everyone. There is also something less noble at work in me, an obsession with seeing my own face upon hers. Each time I see her die, I die along with her.
I, too, was born and raised in Iran. My coming-of-age years coincided with the Iranian revolution of 1979. I, too, was on the streets, watching and rooting for the demonstrators. Nothing seemed more natural, more compelling than being on the streets, calling for freedom, breathing the intoxicating, the dangerously euphoric Tehran air.
I was 12 in 1978, yet I was as undaunted as any adult. Nothing, least of all my pleading parents, could keep me away from the rooftops at 9 p.m. Amid the night's dark, where the crowds were as indiscernible as ghosts, the shouts of "Allah-o-akbar" rose from every rooftop like smoke rising from an invisible bonfire. We were all victims of the flames and the very arsonists at once. We were burning in the fire of our own making.
Filed under: Iran
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with