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David Hearne shows us a heart-wrenching account of a stoning in his book Hulagu's Web. He shows us that not only does victim suffer agony of stoning, but also her anguish is unfelt by executioners who relish their license to kill. “A spray of blood and spit now accompanies her cries of pain…The gore pleased [him], and he gleefully watched proceedings to ensure that no one used a stone of wrong size.” (Hulagu's Web, 64-65) Through this account we can see that emotional involvement of crowd creates wrong message. Instead of invoking fear of being stoned themselves, crowd comes to enjoy a good stoning and thrives off of it. In this fashion, stoning is no longer a form of punishment, rather a form of entertainment that breeds murderers out of ordinary people.
For those doing stoning, it is a social event that becomes more of a religious sport than a true act of moral self-righteousness. An actual video of a stoning can be viewed at http://www.iran-e-azad.org/stoning/. The footage taken in Iran illustrates a party like atmosphere of those carrying out execution. It is reminiscent of family picnics at old Wild West hangings or popularity of people watching slaughter of gladiators in early Rome.
Like other diabolical methods of torture, stoning has gone out of style as society realized that having others participate in punishment of another, even a criminal, devalues life. Stoning also creates fear and terrorizes minds of others. The Guillotine, whipping, pouring acid on someone or gouging their eyes out with iron have all been gleefully practiced over ages by zealots. Regardless of how brutal, none of these punishments have stood test of time. Even those founded in name of religion have died out because they are cruel and inhumane.
As these diabolical methods have failed, it is important to note one punishment continually in practice: Jail. Imprisonment has been a popular form of punishment because having “…her face pulverized by stoning,” (Hulagu's Web, 64) seems a little extreme no matter what crime. Even though so many cultures have migrated towards this type of punishment, it is hard for westerners to understand why Sharia Muslims still sanction a punishment this inhumane.
As stoning is done in name of Allah, Hearne has his character yelling “God is great.” (Hulagu's Web, 63) The crowd is egged on even more as they become more involved with stoning. Perhaps worst part about stoning is that it brings ordinary God fearing people to actually fear life itself. They are put into a perpetual state of fear such as Hearne’s Senator Laforge who imagines her own stoning in a nightmare. (Hulagu's Web, 63) Unable to let memory go, people in these countries under Sharia rule cower and are plagued with fear of their life ending in such a brutal manner.
Stoning is an act of insanity and must be stopped. That humans should gather around and throw stones with intent to take another human life is a hideous thought. Though fiction, David Hearne’s book shows us that an individual can be gripped with fear over governmental prosecution. It is passion shown in his book that gives us cause and hope for change in world.
For more information on joining international fight against stoning, visit following links: www.stopstoningnow.com/ http://www.free-minds.org/stoning.htm
After traveling to over 20 countries, Brooke Sikula has finally settled down in Ventura, CA. She enjoys quilting, home improvement projects and spending time with her husband and 1 year old son. Brooke has a B.A. in History and Spanish and currently works as a freelance writer.