In David Fincher’s nightmarish film Seven, Kevin Spacey plays John Doe, mad Bible man and the creepiest on-screen killer since Hannibal Lector. John hated sinners and he set out to kill seven, one victim for each of the Deadly Sins; Gluttony, Pride, Envy, Lust, Anger, Greed, and Sloth.
Now Iran has its own flesh-and-blood version.
When the drought ended and the rains came, Saeed Hanaei believed that it was a sign from God that his killing spree had divine approval. “I realised God looked favourably on me. That he had taken notice of my work,” Hanaei said. With 12 prostitutes already dead by his hands, Hanaei carried on his “work” and strangled at least four more women after luring them to his house in the Iranian city of Mashhad.
You can imagine if this guy were American what the media would say about him.
But he isn’t American. He is Iranian. And the Iranian media, controlled by the state, aren’t so sure he’s even a bad guy.
The case provoked a debate between reformers who condemned the authorities for failing to catch him earlier and some conservatives who shared the killer’s disgust with a rise in prostitution.
“Who is to be judged?” wrote the conservative newspaper Jomhuri Islami. “Those who look to eradicate the sickness or those who stand at the root of the corruption?”
It’s not surprising that the mullahs can’t quite come out against him. He is not so different from them; self-righteous, psychotic, intolerant, fundamentalist, and murderous. The only difference between him and the state is his freelancing.