Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I don't cry at movies. I have sat through some of the most heartbreaking stories and walked out to the amazement of those in my company with eyes as dry as the desert. On Wednesday, I cried. No, I wept. I was watching The Stoning of Soraya M, a movie based on a true story written by the Paris based journalist Freidoun Sahebjan. It did not matter that the story was set in 1980s Iran; with each word spoken, each action made and finally, with each stone thrown, I felt I was watching a scarily possible scenario in my home country of Nigeria.

Zahrah, played by the gorgeous and timeless Shoreh Agdashloo is the powerful voice of conscience in this story. She must brave the controlling zealot mob, the corrupt justice system of a religiously regulated village to tell the story of her how her niece Soraya, played by Mozhan Marn, accused of adultery by her mean-spirited, divorce seeking husband was buried up to her waist in her bridal whites and stoned to death by a mob of males ranging from the very little to the very old. Taking her story under perilous circumstances out of the village and to the rest of the world is the character writer played by Jim Caviezel.

In one of the most defining moments of the film, the village mayor says to the weeping and bewildered Soraya,
"According to our laws, when a husband accuses a woman of adultery, she must prove her innocence....subsequently, when a wife accuses her husband of adultery, she must prove his guilt."
To which, Zahrah retorts, "...So all women are guilty?"

The movie's ending is as harrowing to watch as it is spectacular. The filmmaker in me, applauds the techniques and execution and the woman that I am weeps. Soraya, is me. She is you. She is every woman. It does not matter the society, western or non-western, when a woman is accused, she is stoned. Sometimes, it is with rocks, words, fists, loss of opportunity, abuse of her basic rights, abuse of her person, abuse of her mind. She does not have to do anything major, she just has to be a woman.

I had to wait a couple days to write about the movie because it so broke my heart. What would I do in the same situation? What could I do? What should I do?

I think I will for now, till I can do much better, do what Zahrah did. Speak up against any injustice. It is written somewhere that "An unjust law is no law at all"...and there are many many unjust laws.


chayoma said...

My spirit is most definitely stirred after reading this.
Gonna go find it!
Stand for what you believe in!

LusciousRon said...

I have heard about the story. I was heartbroken. I wonder why this happens to women. We really should stand up more for ourselves and the future female children.

Anonymous said...

wow!the double standard in this world is so unjust...women have suffered!

N.I.M.M.O said...

I'd heard the story but did not know it was in film.

As said, Soraya's story is every woman's story but then there's a need to contextualize them. Even in Iran, there has been some advances in women's rights.

I guess it only means that while much has been done, there is still much to be done.

ibiluv said...

sad how every woman is guilty until proven innocent......

Uche said...

Lady Catwalq, please gimme more! Don't leave me starving! I need my fix! Pretty please, post something new! Lol.

Hey, I was also thinking, theres this Penguin Prize for African writing. You could check the Penguin website. It has fiction and non-fiction categories, and it's for longer pieces. Just thought you might be interested, that's if you haven't already heard.

Keep up the work. Love your blog, though I've been a silent reader all this while.


princesa said...

I havn't seen the film but I feel as if i already saw it from ur review.

The plight of a WOMAN...