Canadian Journalist Barbara Kay wrote an article for Canada’s National Post, entitled The Shame of Honour Killings, in which she offered a feminist indictment on the barbarity of Iranian Patriarchal customs for stoning adulteress women to death.
In response to her article, an Iranian man emailed her in an attempt to discuss the Iranian point of view regarding a particular case that Kay had highlighted in her article, as well as the cultural differences between the genders in Iran in comparison to his perception of gender relations in the West.
It was an illuminating correspondence that she featured in her latest NP piece, Female Justice and the Iranian Male.
The Iranian man, going by the name of Reza, writes to Ms. Kay:
Dear Ms. Barbara Kay,My, my, Reza offers us far more details of this case than Kay bothered to even try to reference in her initial article. Kay simply referenced her case as evidence of the barbarous nature of Iranian culture:
I am writing to you from Iran, a country where many people in the world don’t know the people and culture. Please excuse me for taking your time. I have many questions about life in western countries and I haven’t found anybody to answer it, but they are mostly social, not political.
I read your article about the stoning [of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani]. You can be sure that she won’t be executed.
The question is, What do Iranians think about Mrs Ashtiani case?
If you ask this question from ordinary people, they would say she must be executed without mercy!
I studied all files within reach about the case of Mrs Ashtiani in Farsi. The truth is that she had illegal relationship with her nephew and committed adultery. Her husband didn’t know about this at all. They planned to kill him to take what he owned. One night when they were alone at home she gave sedative to her husband when he slept. With help [from] her, the nephew did take him to the bath and give him 220 volt electric shock in head, chest, legs and hands. Almost his body exploded where connected to electricity. If you were judge of this case, what would be your decision?
Let us hope the momentum generated by Ms. Ashtiani’s plight leads to wider recognition of what she represents in the broader sense: the scourge of Honour Motivated Violence (HMV) against girls and women for deviance from draconian codes of sexual purity.Now, I’m not clear on Iranian law…but it appears that case involves far more than simple adultery…but, of course, like any feminist, Kay ignores this new information and simply changes the topic to one of simply opposing capital punishment.
I really do hope you are right that Mrs. Ashtiani will not be executed. It is a most distressing subject for us in the West. We find the custom of stoning to be an extremely ugly form of execution, and in fact most people in the West do not believe in capital punishment at all.Why yes, it most certainly is distressing to feminists in the West, that a woman who murders her husband with the help of her lover would actually be punished! This is not a case of domestic violence leading to murder…it’s a case of barbaric Iranian Patriarchy!
In his first letter, Reza tried to point out that women in Iran are not really treated as badly as Barbara and other western feminists have tried to portray.
But the truth is that Iranian women in Iran (especially traditional society) have far better satisfaction than western women. In Iran, Mother is highly respected, especially when she grows old.I think it’s obvious that Reza is referring to the images and portrayals of our mass media regarding gender relations in the West. He mistakenly thinks that women are severely disadvantaged by our feminist culture. He doesn’t know the reality of the situation…that it’s MEN who do not have a secure life…that women regularly betray their husbands and families, often because they “fall out of love” or need to go “find myself” or some other ridiculous emotional rationalization she uses to justify destroying her family through the divorce courts simply because her husband no longer gives her the “‘gina tingles.”
Although I’ve never been in western countries, what “is obvious” is that western women don’t have a secure life, men always betray their wives and when they feel alone, [men] find someone and it will destroy the family. If there were kids, the mother must suffer growing them up and this is hard for a woman to work to pay the expenses. But satisfaction is completely different in Iran society. The loyalty of men and women is very important. Maybe you don’t believe me. I am a man 47 years old and there is only one woman in my life, my wife who my mother selected for me and we have three kids.
And I think it is prosperity for a woman. Don’t you think so?
In this country, [sexual] betraying is very nasty. Whoever does it would be punished, without sex consideration. If you are interested I’d like to have a discussion with you about women rights and feminism.
But the part I found really interesting was Reza’s description of the punishment of adultery in Iran:
“Whoever does it would be punished, without sex consideration.”
Now that would be quite the tidbit of cultural knowledge, eh? If an Iranian husband who betray their wives and than electrocuted his wife with the help of his lover, would he too be sentenced to death by stoning?
One thing I do know for sure though…if there is such cases, feminists like Barbara Kay would never write an article about it.
Nevertheless, her response to Reza was like a boilerplate recitation of feminist bromides celebrating all of the supposed advances Feminists have “won” in the West:
I am afraid I must disagree with your statement that women in traditional cultures are better off than western women. I am not sure what you mean exactly by “secure,” but if you are speaking of financial security, even though more women live in poverty than men here, being poor is a relative idea.Ah, see, traditional cultures don’t have a “welfare state” to serve as proxy-Dad and proxy-Husband, so they MUST be worse off!
Here the state offers a great deal of support to anyone, man or woman, who is so poor he or she cannot work, or has no home. Nobody is starving in Canada. Nobody has to live on the street. The state will help them. You are correct in saying that married women are in general better off financially than unmarried women with children.
Barbara continues stating her assumptions and ignorance of Iranian culture:
In terms of physical security, I think perhaps the perception of a woman without male protection is different in Iran than it is here. Here women are offered the same legal protections as men, and are equal before the law. They are accorded the same rights of property ownership and inheritance, and they do not need to ask their male relatives for permission to do anything they want.Later in his response to Kay, Reza described the actual legal status of women in Iran, which thoroughly rebutted Kay’s ignorant assumptions:
The other thing that may be interesting to you is that here in Iran there is no limitation for women education. 66% students in Iran universities are women. We have many female doctors , dentist s and so on.Heh, Reza seems genuinely shocked that it would be considered normal for men to regularly hit Women in the West. But there’s certainly one thing he revealed when it comes to married women and money in which Iranian culture and the West are similar…
Something which surprises me in your email was: men hit the woman in West? You may not believe me, but during my life I have not seen or not heard of any Iranian man hitting his wife [but] sometimes I read in newspaper it happened. According to Islamic law, if somebody hits his wife only one bit and somehow the skin become red, he must pay more than 10,000 US$ compensation.
People in west don’t have a good knowledge about this country. For example Human Rights originated in Iran. The first human rights were declared by the great Cyrus about 2600 years ago.
The rights of property ownership and inheritance in Islam is about 1400 years ago and in accordance with it, ownership and inheritance is approved for women. It means every thing a woman owns belongs to her and she can do with whatever she wants to.
Something might be interesting to you, is that if a woman works, her husband have no right to take her money anyhow. If she wants, she can spend it for family but there is no obligation. Because it is men’s duty to work and pay the family expenses. Even according to Islamic law, a wife has no obligation to work at home and men must pay for the housework to her if she asks. Women are valuable in this country if a girl answers hello to a boy it would be a great joy for him. If you don’t believe , you can come here and to see it by your own eyes.
…what women who are married earn is hers, and what the man earns, is theirs.
Reza also addressed the perception of “individualism,” which if you read his questioning carefully, actually addresses the archetype of “empowered, independent” women.
The first question is for a woman what prosperity is. Individualism is very important for western countries but I say what would be the result of Individualism for a woman at age of sixty? Would the result be other than loneliness? Does anybody come close to her ? After breeding some children, who would do anything for her (maybe government) but what about her feeling?Don’t worry, Reza. Women who are strong, empowered and independent in the West, will simply wring every last effort from their rationalization hamsters to avoid facing their self-imposed loneliness they experience when they hit old age in a state of “Individualism.”
The main point is that individuality doesn’t bring prosperity. I say prosperity is for couples, not individuals. Love means two. As you know love has its price. When you love someone, you have to be with him or her in any condition, good or bad, happy or sad. But I think people in West are partners [only] in happiness, and when you need help everybody would flee.This is the very essence that differentiates “traditional” cultures like Iran versus modern, feminist influenced marriage 2.0 in the West. Marriage vows actually still mean something in Iran, whereas in the West, the marriage vows only apply as long as the woman is “happy.”
I know a man who was age 40. His wife became sick so bad that her bones twisted to each other. He did his best for treatment. The result was he looked after his wife more than 10 years until she died . I think it is truth of love. I do believe, love means liking someone or something more than yourself.
I think in West people mix up passion and love . Passion last very short. But love lasts long, although it sometimes causes sadness. But it is its price to know how valuable it is.
Now Barbara’s response to Reza was most interesting…she actually let the cat out of the bag with regards to Feminists and their so-called quest for equality:
First, to answer your questions about feminists: They not only expect, but they have been responsible for getting many rights for women. Instead of giving you a list, I will simply say that the overwhelming right that women have in the West is the right to control over their sexual lives without being judged. Women demand – and get – the right to have as many love affairs as men, the right to not have children if they don’t want them, the right not to be raped by their husbands, the right to initiate and get a divorce for any reason at all, the right to have custody of their children (except in very unusual cases), and the right to be protected from sexual harassment in school and work. It is a serious offense for a man to be accused of sexual harassment of a women, even if only in words or jokes or anything at all that the woman considers an insult. I would say that women have more rights than men here, and that is all the result of feminism.Equality baby!
Also note: “It is a serious offense for a man to be accused of sexual harassment of a women…”
Exactly! He need not be actually guilty of harassment, only that he be accused!
…the right to initiate and get a divorce for any reason at all, the right to have custody of their children (except in very unusual cases)
Kay actually restates these so-called advances that have destroyed the institution of marriage in the West. All these things that Barbara listed (despite claiming she wasn’t going to list them) actually reinforces Reza’s criticism of the state of marriage in the West:
When you love someone, you have to be with him or her in any condition, good or bad, happy or sad. But I think people in West are partners [only] in happiness, and when you need help everybody would flee.
Somehow, I don’t think Women are as badly treated by their Husbands, Fathers and culture at large in Iran as our Feminist mainstream press would like us to think. One thing is for certain…should we find ourselves involved in a war with Iran, you can bet our media and politicians will invariably cite the need to liberate the oppressed women of Iran from those barbaric Patriarchs.