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- Exploring Religious Options
The Life of Soraya M
In Muslim religion, there is a Law called Sharia Law. Muslims believe that this is GODS LAW. Sharia is a '"way" or "path", sacred law of Islam. But Sharia deals with different topics by the law, which includes crime, politics, economics, personal matters like sexuality, hygiene, diet, prayer and even fasting. In the film, you are approached by a small village of Muslims who are created by this SHARIA LAW. Mostly run by MEN, mind you, the women are always wrapped in cloths and hiding their faces, never to be seen except the eyes. I pay attention to details.
Soraya M. was born in 1951. She had met her husband Ghorban-Ali the very first time when she was only 5years old , and he was a merely 12. Years later, she was forced into marriage with him. Through the eyes of Soraya's Aunt Zahra, I saw a Muslim woman using her mind, conscience, and voice for long term good. Zahra is a fiercely devout Muslim woman who realizes her faith by facing up to the so called "men of religion". Her constant reference to "God" and ultimate justice symbolizes "true Islam", as opposed to the version followed by the men in the movie, whom by the way use the religion for their own selfish gains. I felt Zahra was portrayed as a fearless , strong woman. Both physically and spiritually as she declares that God is great after helping the Journalist escape with her story. Zahra is not afraid as I see in the movie, of authority , or even speaking up. She exposes the tragic story of her niece, Soraya to the world, not a move against Islam, but against MEN who misinterpret the religion to institutionalize cultural. Soraya, an innocent woman who is stoned to death because her husband merely suspected her of adultery as a cover up for his own disgusting motives, is also a strong willed and courageous. This is indeed a strong indictment against the hypocrisy and double standards displayed by some Muslim communities with regard to men and women.
As a condemnation of violence against women and a victim of domestic violence, this movie no doubt, quite affected and struck my nerves through the sitting and starring. The message of the film is quite clear and stoning is a terrible and horrific, unjust practice and often is still used against women today even when the woman in question has done nothing deserving of punishment. To which where the scene of stoning takes place is incredibly violent, disturbing for viewers and perhaps going too far as anyone would describe seeing this film. It blurs the line of moral outrage and exploitation and I admit I'm even surprised I continued on for as long as I did watching what had happened to Soraya. Some of the scenes in the film are excessively melodramatic, horrific, traumatizing , and quite violent for anyone to just sit there and watch if you ask me. It makes a mark on one and it surely has made a mark one me, which will never leave for the rest of my life. For myself, as a victim of violence, this was just unbelievable to know that women are portrayed to such violence in these cultures and treated this way today.
This compelling film draws attention to the global dimensions of hatred , persecution, executions to women. Some reports that at least of a 1,000 women have been stoned to death over the past 15 years in countries such as Iran, Nigeria, Somelia, Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq, United Arab, Emirates, and Afghanistan. The United Nations' estimate that usually about 5,000 of women every year, which includes here in the United States, are victims of the So called "honor-killings', in which family members kill a woman who has allegedly brought dishonor on them through acts dressing proactively or engaging in illicit sex. Such claims as this makes me sick to my stomach to know this still continues on today, and knowing that in the back of my mind, that this "ritual" of STONING people is still allowed in other countries, and cultures today. In the film, I did not understand really what Stoning was at first, until I watched the movie. Soraya M, is front of her people of the village, she is dressed all in white, as if she was being married, beautifully dressed for the day, with her brown dark hair loosely blowing in the wind. Her hands are tied behind her back with thick rope, and there is a big pit behind her where she is buried up to her waist in. At this point, all the men in the village, including her own children, which disgusts me, are allowed to throw stone rocks at her, including her OWN father. Her father, announcing he no longer knows her , is allowed to throw the first rock, and misses several times. Soraya's husband, the man who falsely accused her of this crime, picks up a rock and makes the first throw and succeeds to her head. The instant reaction of one seeing this, is just pure injustice, and makes one want to rip through the screen to break Soraya's husband's face apart. Minutes go by and Soraya's 2 boys are forced to throw rocks at their mother, which makes one want to cry in heartless tears. I can never imagine the thought of my own child throwing a stone at me in that disgrace.
In the end, the whole village of men are throwing stones at this poor woman until she is no longer breathing life itself. The film takes you into the gruesome scene of how it portrays of how Soraya had lived her life and had passed her last breath of life. It makes me disgusted to know that men in other cultures show no respect or loyalty to women and still don't today. I am only one woman, and though Soraya's story was told by French Iranian journalist Freidoune Shaebjam who had encountered the village when his car had broken down, this story deserves to be told as many times as it has to be told. It makes one think of how women are treated in different cultures, to different religions today. And for myself, as a victim of violence, I am disgusted and lack the interest of how men treat women in today's society.