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A Voice Calls: Neda!

The world has eyes in the palm of its hand:
The slaughter of an innocent lamb
Circles the globe with a keening cry:
We have all watched Neda die.
Even more than when a sparrow falls,
We flinch to hear that Voice, that Call:
You are dead, O Neda—but why?

The day was hot, the streets chaos;
Ten thousands sharing democracy’s walk.
She left the stopped car just to cool off,
Just for a moment, to catch her breath—
and that was the crime that brought her death.
She died in her music teacher’s arms—
O Neda! Tell us why!

They said she was just a passerby
That afternoon when the blazing sky
Shot bullets into the walking crowd.
The screams for Neda grew so loud
The whole world heard.
The whole world cried
To see that angel in the veil
Blossom red, then grow so pale.
She who made such music
Now silenced at the lesson’s end,
That Voice not to be heard again…
O Neda!

Her name means “Voice”;
Her name means “Call”.
Her music lesson taught us all
To sing a grieving song of woe
That blares to violent states a “NO!!”
Neda, we won’t let you go:
We hear your Voice; we want to know
Why you had to die.
Beneath the sound of all the screams,
We hear your call and seek your dream
Where music makers walk in peace
Though people gather in the streets,
Carrying ever more signs that read
“Neda! we are all Neda now!
We will prevail, we don’t know how,
But we have an angel for our guide
For Neda walks at every side!”

The mosques are silent,
The mourners dispersed,
And everywhere it’s just the same:
No one is permitted to say her name,
Or bless her journey, or mourn her loss.
Now every heart must count the cost
For saying,
“My name is Neda.”
O Neda!

Carole R. Fontaine
Interreligious Committee for the Support of Protected Persons in Ashraf, Iraq

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