01 September 2010

Iranian editorial policy

"Sticks and stones may break my bones – but names will never hurt me." I was reminded of the highly sensible old saying when I read about the typically level-headed and well-modulated attack on First Française Carla Bruni and the actress Isabelle Adjani for daring to add their voices to the international protest against the proposed stoning to death of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, the 43-year-old mother-of-two accused of adultery, by the Iranian newspaper Kayhan.

This paragon of the free press is directly under the supervision of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government and has its editor appointed by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khameini – and don't you just wish you could be a fly on the wall at one of their editorial meetings.

"That Carla Bruni – she says we shouldn't stone adulteresses to death."

"She must be a prostitute!"

"Yeah, and her Mum!"

"And that actress – Isabelle Adjani? She says it too."

"Right, that's it. She was in that film Ishtar, with that Zionist thug Dustin Hoffman – I hated that film! That's 103 minutes of my life I'll never get back again!"

"She's probably a prostitute too!"

"OK, there's our headline – FRENCH PROSTITUTES ENTER HUMAN RIGHTS PROTEST. Now, next up – who's the stunna getting stoned to death on Page 3 today?" [...]

I must say that I was perplexed, though, by the reference to Mrs Sarkozy as a "hypocrite", while drawing ungentlemanly attention to her sexual generosity over the years. (Sexual charity, even, if you count Mick Jagger, who looks as if a very bored giant practised origami on his face for a very long time.)

Surely wishing women not to be put to death for committing adultery, if you are yourself a woman who has slept with married men, is the opposite of hypocrisy – ie, damn good sense? Surely a hypocrite would be a woman who had committed adultery yet wanted other women to be stoned to death for it?

- Julie Burchill, Independent, 1 September 2010

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