Week 1: The Stoning of Soraya M.

The movie that I watched “The Stoning of Soraya M. was based on a true story about a woman who was wrongfully murdered in Iran. The film kicks off with an older woman seeking help from an arriving journalist. Throughout the film she tells him all of the gory details about the accusations placed upon her thirty five year old niece that caused her to be stoned by the people in the village Kupayeh. This film was captivating and suspenseful from start to finish but I was saddened by the fact that the men in the village showed no respect or concern to the well being of the women.

Her husband falsely accused Soraya Manutchehri of infidelity with no evidence and the mayor of the village automatically supported his accusation because he was a male. This story touches on the inequality of the sexes that is still relevant today. Her husband Ghorban-Ali accused her of infidelity because he met a younger girl that he wanted to marry instead, so he wanted to get rid of Soraya the mother of his seven children. Let me add onto the fact that Polygamy was encouraged in Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran however Ghorban-Ali did not want to support two families.

Soraya was 100% innocent and she was sentenced to death simply because Ghorban-Ali had become “bored’ with her. Stoning is where the victim is lowered into a hole and dirt is compacted against their body to restrict movement. Then stones of various sizes are pelted at the victim until they bleed to death. In her case the stones were jagged and mid sized. The most heartbreaking scene in this movie is where Soraya glances into the crowd and sees her own sons with rocks in their hands.

Her death disgusted me and the fact that her children had no problem contributing to her murder deepened my confusion but I looked deeper into the story online. Wrongful murders of women in Middle Eastern countries are very common. In a situation where a man rapes a woman for instance, she will be put to death because she “provoked’ or “victimized’ him using seductive tactics. These are called honor killings where a female is killed by the male members of her family. In a stoning, the members of the girl or woman’s family throw the first stones following multiple pelts from the people in the village.

The practice of honor killings isn’t just taking place in the Middle East, it’s happening worldwide and I think that people should be more aware of the rights we have in America compared to other countries. I am well aware of the inequality of the sexes in other countries, however this movie widened my understanding and heightened my curiosity. It didn’t change my view on the world much I believe it simply added another layer of concern to my conscious. This story has been banned in Iran (unsurprisingly) but the question is what can I do when this country is out of reach and these are practices that the people are now accommodated to?