Sep 18, 2008

The Stoning of Soraya M.

There is a movie being released about the stoning of women in Iran. Based on a real story, the synopsis of the film is as such: a French journalist goes to a remote village in Iran, and is approached by a woman who tells him about the killing of her niece. Through the story (and I quote from the film's website) we're expose[d] to the dark power of mob rule, uncivil law, and the utter lack of human rights for women. The last and only hope for some measure of justice lies in the hands of the journalist who must escape with the story--and his life--so the world will know."

Sound familiar? Remember, Not Without my Daughter? Yes, this is another one.

This movie is embedded within a wider racist, colonialist discourse that's rooted in a long history of power and domination between the "west" and the Middle East (see Said's Orientalism). Today, this discourse is part and parcel of U.S. (and European) imperialist, war-mongering efforts to occupy countries like Iran. All under the pretense of "liberation" and "democracy." They want to save us from our barbaric selves! The only hope and measure of justice lies in the hands of our oppressors! Yes, by the very people (and their systems and structures of domination) that actively work against any possibility for our people to liberate themselves.

Regimes such as the one in Iran do not exist in a vacuum. There are power plays to consider, by imperialist nations such as the U.S., which benefit from the existence of such regimes. Just look at the history of U.S. relations with Afghanistan (Taliban) and Iraq (Saddam). And who was responsible for the '53 coup in Iran? Who prevented Iran from potentially having a democratic government? Right.

The issue of stoning is real. Under the Islamic theocratic regime of Iran, women have little to no rights. This upsets me more than I can express. But there is resistance in Iran. And there is support for that resistance here, from allies and those of us in the diaspora. So my issue isn't with the subject of the movie. What I am severely concerned about is that which is missing in stories like this one. Stories which are told from a colonial discourse of domination. With missing layers, like wider global relations of power, and the resistance that's actually happening. The layers are missing. The discourse is oppressive and dangerous. This is what I'm concerned about.

I don't have time to get into heavy analysis here. I just want people to be aware when watching movies like this. There is an impending war on Iran. And that's what we need to remember.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:10 PM  
Blogger Shirin said...

So sad. You know what's even more sad is the poor Middle Eastern actors who get hired for movies like this. So so sad.

4:54 PM  
Blogger The Hand Of Fatima Design said...

you already know what i had to say 'bout this one.

2:04 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.