- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 12, 2009

I saw the movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.” at a private showing in Washington, and although I have seen many pictures of the stoning of women and young girls by the Iranian Islamic regime, I could not believe the human race capable of such cruelty. The film opened nationwide in the United States recently.

Apparently our words and cries are not strong enough, but this movie can help our cause of human rights awareness. After all, one picture is worth a thousand words.

As the only Iranian woman in the room, I tried hard to suppress my tears. I kept thinking, “This cannot be the country where I grew up! Where have these people come from? They cannot be the people I lived among!” No wonder all the old Iranian philosophers have looked at the mullahs as evil beings.

I asked the producers why this movie isn’t shown nationwide, worldwide, to all the people on this planet who turn a blind eye to the barbarism of the Iranian regime. This movie must be shown at the U.S. Congress, the White House, the United Nations and the European Parliament, I insisted. On behalf of Iranian women, I would like to invite all female politicians to see the real crimes against humanity and the abhorrent injustice against helpless women and young girls.

“The Stoning of Soraya M.” must be shown at the annual conference of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women to which I was a delegate.

But, of course, this kind of movie will never be shown because of the politics — the U.N. Development Fund for Women receives millions of dollars from the Islamic regime every year, paid off to see no evil and hear no evil. The hypocrisy is revolting, the immorality is beneath contempt.

When I got home, I communicated with a woman activist inside Iran about the movie. She said: “As barbaric as the act of stoning is, it is the brutal assault against the human dignity of a female person that makes me cry of pain and shame. It is the absolute helplessness that makes me cry out in protest and get arrested again and again.”

How can these powerful women on your side of the world be so indifferent toward the women in this globalized world of theirs? How can they think for one minute that their freedom and equality is worth anything as long as there are women living under these conditions?

Monir K. is one of the many brave Iranian women who have spent many years of her life battling the Shariah laws that legalize the stoning of women and girls.

The trust-fund ladies and their friends in Hollywood go to Iran talk to handpicked Iranians while their “travel handlers,” who are plain-clothed Revolutionary Guards assigned by the regime, watch every move people make and listen to every word they utter to the visitors. The ladies of leisure take publicity photos in the mandatory Islamic robes and head covers and come home to talk about their visit to the “exotic Islamic Third World.” Iranian women call them “cultural imperialists.”

Cultural imperialists attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, praising the woman selected by the Islamic regime, but they utter not one word of support for the real activists, the women who are in prisons, getting tortured and hanged, trying to take back their place among the respected people in the world.

In fact, the feminist American culture, the Hollywood culture, is a major issue that Islamists such as the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban have against America and the West.

But this culture supports the Islamists by its silence and indifference to the issue of human rights. “The Stoning of Soraya M.” should have received many Academy Awards, many Cannes awards, many movie reviews.

It is the least the culture can do for the Iranian women suffering for their human rights that American feminists exploit.

Manda Zand Ervin is president of the Alliance of Iranian Women.