someday ill be in company of all....

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Book Review:The Stoning of Soraya M :A true story by Freidoune Sahebjam

Title:The stoning of Soraya M:A story of Injustice in Iran
Author: Freidoune Sahbjam
Publisher:Arcade Publishing
Price:Rs 741
ISBN: 978161145025X
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Borrowed

Buy The stoning of Soraya M from
Buy The stoning of Soraya from

Summary (from back cover)
Soraya M. s husband, Ghorban-Ali, couldn t afford to marry another woman. Rather than returning Soraya s dowry, as custom required before taking a second wife, he plotted with four friends and a counterfeit mullah to dispose of her. Together, they accused Soraya of adultery. Her only crime was cooking for a friend s widowed husband. Exhausted by a lifetime of abuse and hardship, Soraya said nothing, and the makeshift tribunal took her silence as a confession of guilt. They sentenced her to death by stoning: a punishment prohibited by Islam but widely practiced.Day by day sometimes minute by minute Sahebjam deftly recounts these horrendous events, tracing Soraya s life with searing immediacy, from her arranged marriage and the births of her children to her husband s increasing cruelty and her horrifying execution, where, by tradition, her father, husband, and sons hurled the first stones. A stark look at the intersection between culture and justice, this is one woman s story, but it stands for the stories of thousands of women who suffered and continue to suffer the same fate. It is a story that must be told.

Rizana Nafeek was beheaded in Saudi for allegedly killing a baby..Rizana was a house maid from Srilanka who was 17 yr old at that time..After eight futile years of endless effort by many countries and activists the news of execution on January 9 came as a surprise to me..I was reminded of this book then..
For good or for bad, women in Muslim countries do not enjoy the freedom like in other countries.In Saudi men who consider themselves to be their wife's guardian receive mobile alerts when his wife leaves the country.. A girl has to get approval from her guardian for every class she chooses ..Though they sound very strange to me, I cannot really comment on it as I don't know a thing about their culture and tradition..Every community has a culture and tradition that seem to work for them...
That being said The stoning of Soraya..This particularly made me to read more on stoning to death in Iran,
Accordin to which the convicted usually for infidelity is wrapped head to toe in white and buried onto their waist, stoning is a large event where people gather up and there by the stoning begins, stones are chosen in way to cause maximum pain but not instant death.
In this book Shahebjam iterating the life of  Soraya, thirty five year mother of nine, devout and a faithful wife, whose life was taken away barbarously when her husband decides to remarry, and no much details about that woman is given in the book though, he then goes to the extend of  prove her unfaithful to her father and her sons also gains the confidence of the local Mullah who seems to be taking up religion for individual benefit..Though the evidence where not fulfilling yet she was condemned and the stoning took place by a mob that included some of her family members..This book was a difficult one to fathom..The bigotry of a society that carried out such treacherous guile was beyond my horizon of reasoning..How can a religious head carry out such a preposterous act was my thought  reading through, well you cant help much when your own husband is trying all his might to take things against her..Through all this Soraya's aunt doesn't shy away from her responsibilities, she is the only person who tries to defend her and Shahebjam gets his story from her..
I loved the part where Shahebjam writes from Soraya's vantage, her thoughts on the atrocities bestowed upon her for no reasons..Her agony through the monstrous circumstances..Her silence in her inabilty to defend herself were all well done...Shahebjam begins the book giving his reasons and thoughts behind his step to write this book and the approach adopted to channel through..The name of the village is changed for obvious reasons and like I had mentioned before, Shahebjam was not there to witness the death, yet the author leaves no room to imagination, he takes the liberty in detailing the event which is pathetically painful to read through... He takes you through the attitude of the villagers, their reflection and the support to the event..This was again a difficult part to read through..
This book may not be the one you'll end up reading over and over again, but had you read it once you may not find the need to read it again ...


  1. This sounds really, really good and in important read.

    What I find fascinating as you describe it is the passivity and exhaustion of the main character when facing execution.

  2. I will add this one to my list. I have a hard time reading about the injustices foisted upon women by men, and in some cases vice-versa. We live in a strange and diverse world, but the crimes of human against human, human against animal, etc., are and shall never be permissible in the name of that diversity.


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