The Times should be awarded for the coverage it has given to the case of Sakineh Mohammabi Ashtiani and the decision of the Iranian authorities not to bury her two thirds into the ground and stone her to death by an all male death squad.
It would be hard for anyone in the Western world who has heard of this case to open their arms and embrace Iran and almost impossible for those who know nothing of Iran and it’s people to understand that the ruling Iranian regime is as far removed from it’s people as it is possible to be.
The other day, I heard from one of my daughters and her friend who were in Theran. This is what they wrote on a personal blog for family and friends…
‘On landing in Tehran we had a look at our flight details for our connection. We had 12 hours to wait before our one how flight to Esfahan from a different airport in Tehran. A lady approached us and had a look at our details. She told us to come with her back to her apartment to sleep and eat before we caught our next flight. Usually we would say no to strangers and not get in cars with them, but our Lonely Planet book on Iran said to always accept invitations by Iranians as they are so famous for their hospitality – so we went with it. She seemed lovely too.
She arranged and paid for our taxi to her flat. It was huge and so posh! I don’t know if that was normal in Iran but we were impressed anyway. Huge silver chandeliers, Persian rugs, designer everything. She gave us tea and fruit and made up the bedroom for us to sleep in, they had the sofas.
We had a good giggle with them trying to learn Farsi then went to sleep.
At 9 15 am the lady woke us up for a big Iranian breakfast spread she’d made just for us.
They wrote down all the essential Farsi we’d need and a few recommendations for food etc and their contact details in case we don’t get our Pakistan visa. They said to come and stay with them again. They booked our taxi to the airport and sent us on our way with a bag full of fruits, sweets and Saudi Arabian cigars?? They all smoke here so I think it was a standard gift. They also changed money for us as it was a Friday and no banks would be open. They gave us a very honest rate too.
I knew these people were hospitable but I didn’t expect that the second we landed in their country they would treat us like Kings. I felt quite embarrassed at one point. They let us sleep in their bedroom full of make up, perfume, jewels etc and trusted us completely. Iran gets bad press in our country sometimes; it would be nice to see this side of it represented more openly in the UK’
Notice how she doesn’t mention names. The couple who took in my daughter and her friend were acting as ambassadors for their country. It is important to ordinary Iranian’s (the posh ones too!) for the world to understand that Iranian people will share our horror at the prospect of Sakineh having received 99 lashes, to then face death by stoning.
Throughout the reporting of this awful situation, it is vital to remember and remind people that this is a corrupt regime. That over a hundred innocent Iranians, many who were students were executed and lost their own lives in protest to anti democratic elections. That this is a regime which executes children, which wants to see Israel blown off the face of the earth and day by day comes one step closer to reaching it’s nuclear dream.
Sakineh Mohammabi Ashtiani is a woman more sinned against than sinned. Let’s hope that the International attention which her case is receiving achieves some good in forcing the barbaric administration of Ahmadinejad to retreat and think twice before they condemn another woman to stoning.
I want to thank the couple who took in, fed and looked after my offspring as though they were their own flesh and blood and to repay them by doing my bit to let people know that we must not allow this situation to colour our view of Iran.
One day its people hope to take their country back and we must do everything we can to assist them and help bring about their own regime change from within, to one where no woman will ever face a lashing or stoning again.