Washington, D.C. is among the many cities scheduled to hold protests against the execution of Sakineh Mohammedie Ashtiani this afternoon. I found out on Twitter that the protests are set for 30 cities including New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Washington, D.C. and Ottawa. While executions happen quite often in Iran, these protests are meant to remind people that the fight for her life isn’t over. Although government officials said they will not stone her, she will still likely be executed–probably by hanging.
On July 2, groups held protests against her stoning outside of the Pakistan Embassy (where the Iranian interests section is located. They don’t have their own embassy because the U.S. and Iran don’t have diplomatic relations).
Today, protests will take place between 12-3 (yes…in the heat) at the Pakistan Embassy. I would have gone to check it out if I wasn’t at home in Indiana visiting family. But if anyone is there…send along pictures! For more info, visit the International Committee Against Stoning.
Some of the comments on CNN.com stuck out to me because of how these people spoke with conviction about adultery in the U.S. and the media’s portrayal of this issue. Someone wrote:
“Hey, did you know America has the highest amount of murders, lawsuits, and broken relationships due to adultery. This is a perfect example of why though, because you all, along with our government, condone it like it is giving change to the poor or something. Iran, and the other Muslim cultures have virtually no adultery, and this is why. You find a plan or law, and if it works to upgrade the overall moral, you stick with it.”
While many murders do happen from cheating husbands and wives, that doesn’t forgive the execution of people as a law for adultery. Another commenter wrote that the international community should stay out of this because she is being executed for the “murder of her husband” rather than adultery. As I noted in a previous post that she was accused of being an accomplice in her husband’s murder, and in the U.S., a person can be sentenced by being associated with the murder of someone. However, in her case, she was also additionally punished for the adultery and received almost 100 lashes in front of her son.
Another commenter raised a question that many rights groups and governments debate when justifying their involvement overseas:
“We have no right to interfere,in any way, in what is clearly an Iranian internal matter.We need to learn to keep our noses out of things that do not concern us.We have no right to tell another country how to govern themselves.”
This is the belief of many people in the international community on America’s involvement in the world. But when a tragedy strikes or a group is in need of aid, people turn to the U.S. and say “why didn’t you help? Why didn’t you respond?!”
While I agree–countries cannot force laws upon others–I do think there are certain universal, basic, fundamental human rights that cross borders. And those who subscribe to those rights (rights to safety, equality, expression, belief, etc) should hold others less fortunate accountable. That’s where the international community can apply pressure to stand up for the voiceless.