Ivo Vegter’s latest column for The Daily Maverick is attracting a lot of controversy. While I absolutely agree with him that the time for sitting back and sipping on a tea cup of complacency is well over, bombing Iran is going a bit far. But I’m not quite sure it means it that way...literally that is.
When a recognised government stoops to medieval barbarity, the civilised world should have the moral clarity to act. Iran has ordered a woman to be whipped, 99 times, on mere suspicion of "spreading corruption and indecency" by not wearing a headscarf. Clear enough?
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani may well face death by stoning for the crime of adultery, as soon as Ramadaan is over. However, while the sentence is reportedly under review, the Islamic Republic of Iran sentenced her to an additional punishment of 99 lashes, because it believes a picture in a British newspaper shows her without her prescribed headgear.
I could hold up photos of the bloodied and bruised victims of such extreme forms of punishment. I could quote harrowing descriptions of the pain and suffering flogging entails. I could show videos of screaming girls, beaten by bearded men who claim to be religious leaders and moral guardians of society. You really don't want to see them, and I really don't want to. They make me sick.