There's a scene in Marjane Satrapi's Oscar-nominated (and should have won) Persepolis in which the young heroine -- the Iran-born Satrapi herself -- is warned by her mother to tone down her trouble-making or else the Islamist regime would arrest and ''try'' her.
Do you know what they do to the young girls they arrest? You know what happened to Niloufar, the girl you met at Khosro’s house? ... You know that it’s against the law to kill a virgin, so a guardian of the revolution marries her and takes her virginity before executing her. Do you understand what that means?
Pretty chilling stuff.
Yesterday The Jerusalem Post carried an interview with a ''serving member of the paramilitary Basiji militia,'' those thugs we all learned about during last month's street protests.
Explaining how he had come to join the volunteer Basiji forces, he said his mother had taken him to them.
He said he had been a highly regarded member of the force, and had so "impressed my superiors" that, at 18, "I was given the 'honor' to temporarily marry young girls before they were sentenced to death."
In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a "wedding" ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard - essentially raped by her "husband."
"I regret that, even though the marriages were legal," he said.
Why the regret, if the marriages were "legal?"
"Because," he went on, "I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their 'wedding' night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning. And they would always fight back, so we would have to put sleeping pills in their food. By morning the girls would have an empty expression; it seemed like they were ready or wanted to die.
"I remember hearing them cry and scream after [the rape] was over," he said. "I will never forget how this one girl clawed at her own face and neck with her finger nails afterwards. She had deep scratches all over her."
All of which is horrifying enough.
But there's a kicker.
He said that while a man is deemed "responsible for his own actions at 13, for a woman it is 9"
How does a ''woman'' get to ''responsible for her own actions'' when it's the actions of men which cause her the most trouble? Does this mean that, if an 11 year old girl is raped, she is responsible because she may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Why yes, yes, it does.
And yes, I know this is the fourth or fifth time I have mentioned Persepolis in recent weeks. Have you rented it yet?