Before going into The Stoning of Soraya M., I wanted to follow up on my GMAT practice exam from yesterday. I scored 550 and am all smiles. That’s 50 points short of 600, which is Schulich’s requirement. That means 50 points more of studying. I’m stretching this mathematically-challenged brain and I’m getting good and getting there. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just can’t wait to stop studying and free up some time again.
I wanted to write a bit about The Stoning of Soraya M. because I am absolutely, positively mortified by the barbaric nature of radical, fundamentalist Islamic “justice”. Here’s my attempted coles notes synopsis of the film (a true story) for those who have not seen it:
Soraya, a loving, kind-spirited, long-suffering Iranian woman, was married to a chauvinistic, abusive, tyrant of a husband, Ali. Ali, for reasons my mind will never comprehend, desired a young 14-year-old teenager for a second marriage and as a result, needed to divorce Soraya. As a woman living in a male dominated world, although mentally and emotionally stronger than we can ever imagine, is virtually helpless without a man providing for her. It sounds extreme but it is reality that a divorce would lead Soraya and her four children to starvation. The men in these societies do everything possible to strip women completely of any power so that they are eternally inferior and dependent. So, Soraya refused to divorce Ali. I’m skipping details in between but essentially, Ali, unable to obtain Soraya’s consent for a divorce, began looking for an alternative way to dispose of her. Aha! Let’s accuse her of adultery, he decided. Under Sheriah law, adultery is a crime punishable by death if the accused is unable to prove her innocence. How convenient for Ali, who then began scheming with the newly installed counterfeit Mullah (a religious leader / clergyman) to accuse his wife of adultery and then went on to blackmail several male villagers to testify on his behalf, ensuring that Soraya had no way of defending herself. A tribunal was quickly called and just like that, all literally within 48 hours, the town came to a decision to execute Soraya by stoning, the most inhumane method of capital punishment that I can’t believe is still an option in today’s day and age. Have they thought about maybe coming out of the 5th century and joining the rest of the world in the 21st century? Might be a good idea. There is just all kinds of wrong in this story, I don’t even know where to begin.
First of all, a little bit of the anatomy of stoning: the convicted is wrapped in a white gown and buried halfway into the ground with their hands tied back. The intent is to hold the greater part of the target’s body in place and keep them from flinching or moving while they slowly get stoned to death. Stoning can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours and stones are deliberately chosen to be mid-sized so that they torture rather than kill too quickly.
I am dedicating a post to this film because it hit me like a brick in the face. When they say ignorance is bliss, sometimes it really is. I like to focus on the nicer, more beautiful things in life and could certainly live without ever knowing about any of this. But now that I did rummage through a can of worms, my eyes have been opened to the injustice and such backwards thinking in many parts of the world. Life is just so different and we have it so good in the world we know. Puts my petty little problems to shame. I think I’m a tough girl until I see what these women have to go through. In the world we know, our careers, accomplishments, and ambitions often define our strength. But I would argue that women like Soraya, although stripped of opportunities to drive a career, be ambitious, and accomplish things in life, are stronger than many of us. Unfaltering strength is required to persevere through all of those mental and emotional battles, injustices, and abuse.
Anyway, watch the film and get some perspective. Maybe today, don’t worry so much about the fact that you spilt coffee on your shirt, missed a deadline, got disciplined by your boss, fought with your boyfriend, or almost failed a midterm.