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Will Global Protests Save an Iranian Mother from Imminent Execution?

by
Posted on November 4 2010 4:01 pm
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. For extended biography visit The Phyllis Chesler Organization.

I have just been told that the global protests against the imminent execution of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani have been successful; her execution has, once again, been delayed.

These protests were reported by the major media everywhere. Mina Ahadi, the spokesperson of the International Committee against Stoning and Execution, and Maryam Namazie, Iran Solidarity Spokesperson as well as others gave non-stop interviews.

Yes, even the New York Times and the Washington Post covered this story online.

Millions of people took action by sending letters of protest to the Islamic Republic of Iran and other governments. A number of governments, including the French, Italian, Swedish, and American, as well as the European Parliament and European Union issued statements which demanded that her execution be stopped. On November 2nd, while Americans were voting, demonstrations took place in Berlin, Brussels, London, Paris, Rome and Washington, DC.

My Italian colleague Gianni Verdoliva stresses that Sakineh’s “execution is still imminent,” that she may still be murdered at any time.

The Iranian feminist activists believe that this global campaign made a difference, that it caused the Iranian government to pause. They ask that “people continue their protests, exerting pressure on governments and the Islamic Republic of Iran and highlighting Sakineh’s situation until her execution is officially rescinded and she is released along with her son, Sajjad, her lawyer, Houtan Kian, and the two German journalists arrested on 10 October 2010.”

I wish I could share their optimism. Instead, I have been haunted by a vision of this poor soul, so long imprisoned and tortured, her life in the hands of arrogant, woman-hating barbarians. By now, she may even welcome death. Please realize: Sakineh probably has no idea that there is such widespread concern for her.

I do not think that the international “goodwill,” appeals to reason, fairness, decency, will reach them. It will only make them feel more powerful, perhaps slightly “shamed” that their deeds and views are being watched, challenged—and thus, more committed to showing the world that they alone have the power of life and death over their people, and perhaps over us as well.

“Death-eater” terrorists and fundamentalists are not moved by Good. It usually tempts them to face Good down by demonstrating how very evil Evil can really be. They must be stopped—but not by reason or appeals to mercy or goodness.

Now, I dare you, you unnatural sons of mothers: Prove me wrong.

Don’t miss any of Dr. Chesler’s articles. Subscribe to The Phyllis Chesler Organization mailing list.

Feminist Hawk

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