Beyond My Comprehension

I’m ashamed to have been complaining about Starbucks closing – how sad is my little world?
Story in the BBC today:

Nine face stoning death in Iran

At least eight women and one man are reported to have been sentenced to death by stoning in Iran.

The group, convicted of adultery and sex offences, could be executed at any time, lawyers defending them say.

The lawyers have called on the head of Iran’s judiciary to prevent the sentences from being carried out.

The last officially reported stoning in Iran last year drew strong criticism from human rights groups and the European Union.

The eight women sentenced, whose ages range from 27 to 43, had convictions including prostitution, incest and adultery, Reuters news agency reported.The man, a 50-year-old music teacher, was convicted of illegal sex with a student, reports said. Moratorium imposed Under Iran’s Islamic law, stoning to death is the punishment for the crime of adultery.In 2002 Iranian judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi imposed a moratorium on stoning, but at least three people are reported to have been executed by stoning since then.

Shadi Sadr from the Volunteer Lawyers’ Network, which is representing the women, said: “We are very worried as there are at least eight women and one man with a definitive verdict which can be carried out any moment.

Our specific… demand is to have the stoning sentence stopped by Ayatollah Shahroudi since the defendants are liable to be stoned at any moment
Lawyer Mariam Kian-Arsi
“There are no guarantees that the punishments will be halted or commuted.”She called on the international community to back their efforts, adding: “We are in close touch with human rights organisations and many of them have supported our campaign.”Fellow defence lawyer Mariam Kian-Arsi said: “Our specific and clear demand is to have the stoning sentence stopped by Ayatollah Shahroudi since the defendants are liable to be stoned at any moment.” Women ‘poorly represented’ In theory the penalty of stoning to death applies to both men and women.

But the lawyers say that in practice, many more women than men receive the sentence because they are less well educated and often poorly represented in court.

Human rights group Amnesty International earlier this year called on Iran to abolish “this grotesque punishment” and said many facing execution by stoning were sentenced after unfair trials.

Under Iran’s strict penal code, men convicted of adultery should be buried up to their waists and women up to their chests for stoning. The stones used should not be large enough to kill the person immediately.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/07/20 14:20:18 GMT
I tried to imagine myself as the person about to be stoned – what it would be like to be buried to your shoulders, knowing what would happen next.  I tried to imagine what it would be like to be the man involved who got away free – is he hiding?  Does he feel guilty?  Relieved?

What would it be like to be the parent of the young woman that was about to be stoned, or the friend? What would go through the mind of the person or persons that make the decision to go through with this as a punishment?

Who am I that picks up stones and waits for the last shovelful of dirt to be in place.   Do I know the person I am going to use as a target?  What are the sounds?  Does the person cry out?  Where does this happen?  Is there a regular “stoning” place in the village?

Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned.  But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

According to several sources I read including Wikipedia, four eye-witnesses would need to be produced to prove adultery.  They have to be men and they have to be Muslim.  If four eye-witnesses could be produced, how could rape have happened in the first place?
Who do they find to throw the stones?

I could say something about how we throw metaphorical stones at each other every day.  That idea doesn’t mean much when I picture the real thing.