Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Eye for an Eye

Four years ago Ameneh Bahrami was blinded after a man she had refused to marry poured sulfuric acid over her head. Now, an Iranian court has ruled that five drops of the acid be put in each of her attacker's eyes. Bahrami emotionally stated, "At an age where I should be putting on a wedding dress, I am asking for someone's eyes to be dripped with acid. I am doing that because I don't want this to happen to any other women." I understand her reaction, I understand the desire to show people that there are consequences for such horrible examples of social violence. But...

An eye for an eye? Really? Hammurabi's code was created in 1760 BC- hasn't the idea of justice evolved at all since then? Isn't part of the reason for a modern legal system to ameliorate individual desire for revenge? Retribution is not justice. Torture is not justice. The best thing that can be said about this (and it is a very good thing) is that the crime is being taken seriously by the courts. After all, this is a region where honor killings, disfugurements, stoning and myriad other forms of social violence go ignored, unreported and unprosecuted. I hope that other victims of such violence take courage from Ameneh's example and demand justice. But I also hope they remember that women's rights cannot be separated from human rights. One cannot be achieved at the expense of the other- that is a dangerous road that leads toward no rights at all.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah (as you know), unfortunately, as is the case in many countries, much of Iranian social law is based on religious/cultural beliefs, especially Shariah law. Until such states develop a seperation of church and state, this is the best you're going to get.
    That said, it's a huge step forward for womens rights - in a country with little regard for western beliefs in human rights.