“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”
The plight of women in Middle Eastern society has been brought to Western civilization’s attention many times over the years. And, I distinctly recall the news articles regarding the stoning of a woman in Iran as punishment for her crime of adultery. The lies and deceit that led to her erroneous conviction were the result of one man’s lust for a child bride and his monetary greed. I felt outrage and shock that such barbaric act of violence was still performed, accepted or even tolerated anywhere at all. Yet the news soon fades and the shock wears off when that is not the immediate reality in which one is actually living. Last evening the movie that was based on that particular news article came on our movie channel…”The Stoning of Soraya M.” The cinematography and depiction of the societal mores of that small town in Iran was very effectively done; the acting was superb both in its intensity and realism. The cultural differences from what is the norm in Canada, regarding the rights of women and girls, became immediately clear within the first few minutes of the film. My thoughts were racing as I watched; how very wrong this all was especially in light of the fact that I knew exactly where the movie would take us. The abject brutality depicted in the final scenes does not bear repeating here. Suffice to say, it is not a movie for just everyone to see, however, through my tears and gut wrenching horror, I felt that it was important for me to view it. Along with intellectual knowledge came the emotional knowledge that is necessary to truly connect with the humanity and the inhumanity of the plight of women living in the Middle East. Women are experiencing heinous acts of violence by the adherence to ancient ignoble societal ignorance wrapped up in the cloak of cultural mores and outdated laws especially when taken advantage of by men of no conscience. I now have an awakened raw emotional knowledge of what is likely an ongoing situation in many places not just the Middle East; countries like Somalia come to mind. At best I can forgive the men of that society for their ignorance, but not their acts. Their misguided pride is evident in their attempts to cover up this heinous violence towards women. Why is it hard for them to admit to a mistake? It is a combination of pride, not wanting to lose face and the inner knowledge that acts of violence against women are ethically, morally and in this particular case, due to the lies and deceit, legally wrong even for their skewed societal mores.