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The Stoning of Soraya M.

Posted by Richard on June 26, 2009

With Iran and human rights so much in the news, it's appropriate that director Cyrus Nowrasteh's The Stoning of Soraya M. is opening this weekend in select theaters across the country. The film is based on the acclaimed international best-seller of the same name by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, and the story is true. It was runner-up to Slumdog Millionaire at the Toronto 2008 Film Festival, and critics are heaping praise on it. Jeffrey Lyons thinks female lead Shohreh Aghdashloo's performance is "a serious Oscar contender" (she was previously nominated for The House of Sand and Fog).

Hugh Hewitt:

The movie is beautiful and deeply moving, and the film's opening would have been an enormous story even had Iran not erupted in a long-suppressed general demand for freedom from tyranny.  Stoning is an abhorrent practice, but one that still goes on in Iran, as recently as March of this year, according to Radio Free Europe, when a 30-year old man was stoned to death for adultery.
 
Some apologists for the Mullahs point to the official moratorium on stoning that Iran adopted early in the decade, but ignore that the practice still goes on and that the law permitting the penalty has not been repealed.
 
Much more to the point, though, is the fundamental evil of a law code that consigns all women to a second-class status and through which the worst sorts of cruelty are not merely not punished but even endorsed.
 
“The Stoning of Soraya M” does not portray the Iran of Tehran or the other industrialized cities.  It is a poignant picture of rural and remote Iran, the Iran we have been told again and again supports Ahmadinejad against the urban elites that have been pouring into the streets of the major cities for the past 10 days.

Every American who sees “The Stoning of Soraya M” will emerge from the theater far wiser about what is driving the revolt of the people in Iran.  These demonstrators want their freedom from theocracy.
 
That theocracy reaches down into every aspect of every life, and its totalitarian demands for control over every aspect of life make it the cousin of every repressive police state that stained the 20th century. 
 
Americans cannot deliver aid to the demonstrators, but they can attend a movie that outrages the Mullahs.  A large box office for “The Stoning of Soraya M” sends a message to the Mullahs that won't be mistaken: Americans support the end of their medieval rule. 
The Stoning of Soraya M. is opening at these theaters either this weekend or in early July. If one of them is near you, go see this film.
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