Iran barbarorum

Oh Baruch, you can’t make this up: The secretary general of Iran’s Human Rights Committee, Dr. Mohammad Javad Larijani, defends the Iranian legal practice of stoning adulterers to death because… the victims have a chance to escape. This makes it neither torture nor execution, he says.

Verdict: Larijani is a barbarian.

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10 thoughts on “Iran barbarorum”

  1. Well then, given a choice, would you opt for stoning rather than beheading? Presumably he didn’t tell us how many or what percentage of er, stonees escape with their lives. Are there any official statistics?

    Also, if I manage to escape my stoning, can I really consider myself to have been punished for my crime? Doesn’t that lessen the impartiality and the inexorability of punishment if caught that stands behind every system of law?

  2. Dr. Larijani is said “…in Islamic rules, stoning is in lower level than execution because in stoning the defendant has a chance to survive.” This is not an unreasonable statement. What offends is the notion the punishment, inhumane by Western standards, for adultery, which we in the west are so inured to.

    This has aways behooved me – how oblivious the world is to cultural relativism and how naive commentators would have us all cultural homogenes. The Peruvian Incas are not “drug addicts” for worshiping the “gift of the Gods” that is the coca leaf; the Westerners which Islam vilifies are not children of Great Satan; just as adultery (or sexual promiscuity of any kind) intolerant Muslims are not “barbarians”. These cultures are so dissimular, that comparison is inappropriate.

    When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do. This is the epitome of diversity and tolerance. If you don’t like Rome, stay out of Rome. But don’t judge, lest you be judged for the cultural failings of your own.

  3. Well, Barbarians?, I am afraid what we do in OUR Rome is pass judgement on others’ cultural failings and intolerance.

    Don’t you feel a little bit sorry for the people who get killed for doing something that you, presumably, don’t think is deserving of the death penalty? Or is their misfortune simply to be born in the wrong place?

  4. I do feel sorry for them. Would I mobilize our armies to enforce a regime change? No. My point is that vastly different value systems do not lend themselves to easy comparison. Is it right to condemn Micronesian islanders for cannibalism? It’s wrong, but that is their environment and culture. It would be wrong of “us” to re-educated them. Afgans, Pashtun, Persians have their ways – all I wish for is that “we” respect their right to choose. Not the individual right, the collective right to choose, to overthrow regimes, to worship, to stone adulterers , or whatever. I respect cultural difference and the right for self-determination.

  5. It’s OK, Spinozists don’t have armies, and we are all for self determination. Enlightenment only comes from within. But we also think there are certain universal rights that all people have wherever they are, and one is to not be stoned to death for “moral” offences. We can’t do anything about it, however, all we can do is point out that we think it barbarous.

    Moreover, we think that if you are going to have a law saying adulterers should be stoned to death because you think adultery is a jolly bad thing, you should at least try and ensure it is applied properly.

    Sorry, I have to concur that this Larijani is in fact a barbarian.

  6. Ah, it’s boiling down to onr of those moral relativism vs. moral universalism arguments. Except it need not be. Iran is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 60 years old in 2008, and that is about as universalist as you can get. I’d love to know by which logistical gymnastics Larijani would find stoning for private consensual practices to be supported in the UDHR.

    Perhaps article 5? “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

    Or maybe article 12? “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

  7. Yes, in the nonexistent, i.e. impossible, universal morality point of “our” view, their laws are barbaric when compared to our laws. Baruch, you are not Iranian. You are not positioned to pass judgment on the laws that 65 million Iranians have accepted. Please, don’t take issue with this word “accepted”. Laws can not please everyone and freedom fighters/terrorists will be jailed or worse… until the collective will of the people overturns the regime. You are positioned to evaluate your local laws and how the elected representatives are upholding your value system. The US perpetrates and suffers its own crimes against universal morality. Look in the mirror and cast not the first stone. Its too easy to find fault with others… choose the more difficult task of seeking out these faults within your own.

    Bento, UDHR is a wonderful 60 year old piece of paper (like all laws). Iran went though a cultural revolution in the early ’80’s and became an Islamic caliphate. That would explain why this UDHR is not relevant or applicable in their eyes.

    If you take the time to discover the number and type of UN resolutions the USA has vetoed, you would direct your UDHR upholding efforts at the US, not Iran. The US has directly or indirectly been involved in supporting more torture, destruction and killing, than Iran. I believe that US citizens (and all humans) are intrinsically good. If we, the people, start to use our voices (or blogs) not for cheering for the “home team”, (which is really easy!), but for changing the rule book from that of self-interest to a more enlightened form of govenance, based on respect for self-determination and diversity, we may affect that which we are entitled to affect – our own behavior.

    I realize this is counter to what one may call “the human condition”, but a worthy cause and exercise non-the-less. What is the point of having countless baby-kissing, “barbarian” bashing blogs?! Think about the relative view and enlighten, or at least intellectually challenge, those around you who are ignorant of it. Otherwise, we start to believe our own propaganda…

  8. Barbarians? You have us wrong here. Please look at other entries on this site before presuming our positions on these things; we are very even handed in our barbarian bashing, consigning the current administration into the “barbarian” bucket, as well as the pope, and at times Christopher Hitchens. We are SPINOZISTS. Spinozists are our “home team”, and from what we can see of the world around us, there are not enough of us to make up a decent rugby team. We are not americans. We are not even great fans of them at the moment. And we will pass judgement on whatever and whoever we god-damn want to.

    Please point us, moreoever, to other sites who bash barbarians on the same basis, if you know of any. We like babies, true, but only kiss our own.

  9. Baruch. Point taken. Thank you for providing a venue to explore the ideals of global barbarism. Although your site is non-discriminatory in its condemnation of barbarity, I felt your post above was populist – hence my call for acknowledgment and respect for cultural relativism.

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