In Iran, Majid Movahedi is waiting to have his eyes burned out with acid. The punishment was scheduled for last Saturday, then postponed over the public outcry. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't, maybe it already has.
Don't tell me that this is a barbaric punishment. I know this, and if anyone ever asks me whether Finland or the US should start using it, my answer would be a very strong and definite "no!". My problem is, I guess, that I don't seem to be bothered if the Iranians use it on Movahedi. As Finns would say, the cup of my compassion is oveflowing but shallow. I have coffee spoons deeper that that cup. In fact I don't seem to find any liquid in it at all.
(In case anyone is interested as to why Mr. Movahedi is being punished in this way, well, he threw a cup of acid into the face of a woman who rejected his marriage offer, blinding and disfiguring her in the process. The facts of the matter are not in dispute.)
Even as I ask why any public is bothering to cry out on his behalf, I realize that the compassion in general, the concept of cruel and unusual punishment in itself, and the extent of attention one gives to various imperfections in one's world are deeply emotional issues, and my questions are also just expressions of the emotions of my own, but I still wonder: why?
I can understand what makes people protest against cruel and unusual punishment in their own country, or in the cases where their own citizens are convicted abroad, or in the cases when any obviously innocent people are convicted anywhere. In this case I am just wondering: why are Western people demanding a civilized kind of punishment? This is Iran we are talking about, not a civilized country. You know, Iran? That's the country where a couple of weeks ago several people, including the president's chief of staff, were accused of witchcraft, sorcery and invoking djinns. What kind of a civilized punishment can one expect from a nation like that?
It's quite possible that Ahmadinejad's chief of staff is not a very nice person, but I am also quite sure beyond any reasonable doubt that he has not invoked any djinns. At least not successfully.
Usually I an quite annoyed when people tell other people that they should switch their attention from one public issue to another, but seriously, even if one's favorite public concern is the state of justice in Iran, I wonder why anyone would start with Majid Movahedi.