CNN's Carol Costello Equates Neda Murder with Kent State
On Tuesday’s Newsroom program, CNN correspondent Carol Costello harkened back to the 1970 incident at Kent State University, where National Guardsmen shot rock-throwing protesters and bystanders, and made it a possible equivalent to the recent murder of Iranian student Neda. Costello pondered the effect of the Neda murder video on the Iranian protests, and flashed a famous photo from the 1970 shootings [audio clips from the report are available here].
Anchor Kyra Phillips introduced the overall theme of Costello’s report: “By now, you’ve probably heard about Neda, the young Iranian woman that was gunned down in Tehran. Well, in death, she’s become quite a symbol of countless Iranians demanding new elections. The question now: will the memory of Neda help make that happen?” After giving some details into the college student’s death, the correspondent described the international reaction to it: “It seems the whole world now knows Neda and aches for her- and why not? It watched her die.”
Costello subsequently played a clip of Iranian author Azar Nafisi’s reaction to the Neda death video. She then proposed her question about the impact of the video: “It’s difficult to say right now, though, if this image of Neda will change everything. We know that pictures sometimes do. Many believe this shot taken at Kent State of a student gunned down after a Vietnam War protest helped end the war, yet this video of a lone student standing up to Chinese tanks did not end communism in China.”
One might understand the overall point over the impact of the three images, but the Chinese “Tank Man” and Neda have more in common with each other, than the two have with the Kent State protesters, as the American protesters weren’t facing an oppressive regime (though some of the victims of the 1970 shootings were innocent bystanders, as Neda apparently was).
The CNN correspondent continued with more details on the life of the young Iranian woman, along giving more reactions to her murder: “Neda’s death has further galvanized women in Iran.” She concluded her report with a rhetorical question on the powerful video of Neda’s final moments: “Fleeting image or tipping point?”
The full transcript of the report, which began six minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour of Tuesday’s Newsroom program:
KYRA PHILLIPS: Well, a brutal killing on the streets of Tehran reverberates around the world. By now, you’ve probably heard about Neda, the young Iranian woman that was gunned down in Tehran. Well, in death, she’s become quite a symbol of countless Iranians demanding new elections. The question now: will the memory of Neda help make that happen? Here’s CNN’s Carol Costello.
CAROL COSTELLO: Kyra, the more the world gets to know Neda, the more powerful her story becomes. We’ve talked with Neda’s fiance. He told us Neda was not political. She was on her way to a protest with her music teacher. They had car trouble. Both got out of the car, and while they were standing on the street, a single shot rang out, killing Neda- her death caught on a cell phone camera and sent around the world.
COSTELLO (voice-over): It seems the whole world now knows Neda and aches for her- and why not? It watched her die. On Facebook, a page dedicated to her memory, amid pictures of a woman who may be Neda in life. There were messages too, filled with outrage, like this one: ‘That was murder.’ And this: ‘Shame on the man who killed you.’
AZAR NAFISI, AUTHOR ‘READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN:’ It is unbearable.
COSTELLO: Azar Nafisi, who wrote ‘Reading Lolita in Tehran,’ says the way Neda died means there’s no turning back for Iran.
NAFISI: Neda being silenced is now becoming the voice of all those other Iranian women and men, who over the past 30 years, have been fighting for their freedoms.
COSTELLO: It’s difficult to say right now, though, if this image of Neda will change everything. We know that pictures sometimes do. Many believe this shot taken at Kent State of a student gunned down after a Vietnam War protest helped end the war, yet this video of a lone student standing up to Chinese tanks did not end communism in China.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This image- this video, because it’s so graphic, so powerful- and it really illustrates in a way that words can’t, and even still pictures can’t- the pain and suffering and the willingness to sacrifice and put her life on the line.
COSTELLO: Because, some say, Neda defines who is protesting- according to her fiance, she was a philosophy and music student- 26 years old, standing near her music teacher and modestly dressed. She did not act aggressively. In fact, her fiance told us she did not vote. But friends told the L.A. Times she was upset at the election process. Neda’s death has further galvanized women in Iran. One young woman calling into CNN from Iran shared this with us:
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This old woman said to the- the forces, ‘Didn’t you kill Neda?’ We are all Nedas today. We don’t let that happen again.
COSTELLO: Fleeting image or tipping point?
COSTELLO (on-camera): Neda’s fiance told us the military did tell Neda’s family they could not have a memorial service, so she was buried at a cemetery. The only people attending- her parents, her brother and her sister - Kyra?
PHILLIPS: Carol Costello, appreciate that.