Sunday, June 28, 2009

The voice, The questions.

Picture: Neda Agha-Soltan

“If the earth were a single state, Constantinople would be its capital”- Napoleon Bonaparte.

“If I were to depict all the earth’s womanhood, Nazia would be my model”- Ahmed Rahman.

Ahmed Rahman wrote this in his diary before he went to bed that night.

It had been a great day for this 37 year old photojournalist from Tehran who was in Istanbul on work compiling a project that compares the architectural similarities between Tehran and Istanbul in a historical perspective. He had previously worked on more adventurous projects for Lemar TV in Iran covering the war in Afghanistan and travelling to other countries in conflict including Iraq, Israel and Palestine. The Istanbul project was like a paid holiday for him as architecture had always been his second love after journalism. He was also thanking his stars that day for bringing him to meet Nazia.

His priorities in life and his order of commitment fell like a pack of cards when he first laid his eyes on her. He had met many girls in his life over different phases and with different tastes, but none had captivated him the way Nazia did. Nazia Sajjid was touring Istanbul with a contingent of Iranian tourists. Most of them were fellow students of Islamic philosophy with her at Azad University in Tehran.

After the initial introduction at the lounge of hotel Larespank, they chatted on common interests. The well travelled man that Ahmed was, he managed to capture the imagination of a well read, dreamy and forward thinking Nazia. Her every unanswered hypothesis in Islamic philosophy had a definite explanation supported with real life examples from around the world from Ahmed who was a devout Muslim following the same school of belief as Nazia’s. It was sheer coincidence that they both went to the Community High School on Kucheh Marizkhaneh near Jaleh Street but with a 10 year gap between them. This brought them closer and they opened up with each other in individually unprecedented ways.

Nazia’s imbecility in expressing her mind was somehow seemingly fulfilled by Ahmed’s expertise with his camera. His photojournalism had dazzled Nazia off her feet and his widespread experience in war zones kept her glued to his speeches. His narrations of real life stories from the war zone moved Nazia and brought out her well ruminated questions on life and human existence.

Nazia's good heart brought her a tendency for protection, care and creation. She filled the void that Ahmed thought was ubiquitous in the world: the apathy, the difference to respect for humanity, greed and selfishness. She was empathetic and perspicacious with Ahmed and amidst the rugged desert that this world was for Ahmed, he felt like having found an oasis.

Before they had realised, the magic of the Byzantium made them to fall in love. The musically trained serene voice of Nazia had tied Ahmed in a million knots as they walked the streets of Istanbul. She was singing and he was showing off his Motrebi style dancing.

Nazia had many questions for Ahmed which she repeatedly put forward to Ahmed.

- Why does man have to thrive by not letting another one thrive?

- Why does man have to live by not letting another one to live?

Two months later: Tehran:

She telephoned him before going out to protest against a suspicious national election result. She was largely apolitical, but realised her responsibility with a few million other Iranians who also suspected foul play. She told Ahmed one more time how she cannot wait to get married to him.

After sharing romantic vibrations and feeling the love over the phone, Nazia told Ahmed, “Good Bye, I am leaving now, I love you.”

Later in the day a Basij sniper shot Nazia on her chest with a sole aim of sensationalising the protest rally and gathering International attention. As she lay down in a pool of blood, a doctor who was a passerby calmed others down and tried emergency life support procedures. She died within three minutes. Her last words were “I am burning, I am burning”.

Little does anyone know what she meant with those final words: Was it just an expression of the physical pain that she underwent or was it a summation of her quest in life and her surprise at the discovery of her own life’s end?

PS: The death of another young girl called Neda Agha-Soltan on the streets of Tehran in a similar set up has been captured in video and is available on youtube.

PPS: Why does man have to thrive by not letting another one to thrive?

PPS : Why does a man have to live by not letting another one to live?