"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Social Problems in Iran

The following documentary is part of the BBC's 'Storyville' series, and I've been meaning to upload it here for some time. At 50 minutes it's quite long, so I've had to break it down to six parts, but it's very interesting and well worth the watch.

'Prostitution Behind the Veil' looks at many of the social problems found in modern Iran, particularly those concerning women and their treatment in the strict Islamic Republic. Many problems and activities which would not be automatically associated with such a country are actually exacerbated by strict Islamic law.

Some of the issues addressed are women forced into prostitution, drug addiction (a huge and growing problem in Iran), and the sale of babies to rich couples by poor women to avoid the wrath of the authorities for 'illicit' sexual activity.

A horrifying and fascinating phenomenon explored by the programme is that of 'Sighe' or Nikāḥ al-Mut‘ah (Arabic: نكاح المتعة‎ marriage for pleasure), whereby Shia Islamic law allows short 'marriages' between men and young girls, some as short as an hour, simply so the men can indulge themselves in a way which is acceptable in Islam.

Many of the women take on a 'Sighe' contract out of convenience, providing sex and getting a man to do things such as odd jobs in return - but some suffer from horrifying abuse at the hands of older men, and there are cases of men who already have a family getting a Sighe wife pregnant and then snatching the child or forcing her to have an illegal abortion.

The programme is narrated in Farsi with English subtitles - but some strong language is included.


WAKE UP said...

"short marriages between men and girls, some as short as an hour...acceptable to Islam"

as ever, religion and hypocrisy go hand in hand.

Anonymous said...

I beleive the narrator is speaking German. However, most of the native peoples in the film are speaking Farsi.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

...after a bit more listening it seems the narrator is NOT speaking German, but something else, maybe Swedish or Danish?