The Death Penalty in Virginia and Iran

Sakineh: pollice verso?

Discussing study opportunities in the US with my wife’s cousin’s 15 year old, he suddenly interrupted his excited line of questioning about the Hard Rock Cafe and eggs for breakfast to ask something more serious: “Is it true that they execute women there, too?” Teresa Lewis’ execution in Virginia (a state that I’m not exactly from but that I have many associations with) was big news here, and as if to put it in counterpoint, I was reminded of the huge banner stating solidarity with Sakineh that was draped over Verona’s Roman arena.

Whereas certain European attitudes towards modernity might seem backwards to us — see Twitter for the Gallic sniff on Chinese work habits — we must realize that to them, lethal injection in Old Dominion is not much different than a stoning in Iran. I think we lose of sight of this sometimes as a consequence of our exceptionalism.

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