Yesterday, across the sea, from the tiny kingdom of Jordan, an urgent message was sent out to the blogosphere. It has been echoed in many corners of the earth by those with voices and many without. It ricocheted off of my little corner right here. I heard it loud and clear and I think you should too.
“Honour killings need to stop.”
What can I say about so-called Honour Killings? I’m not sure there is a word in the English language, or any language for that matter, that adequately describes my disgust of the matter. Why they are even allowed to exist as a justified action I find beyond belief and utterly contemptible. Recently, another story…one of many that I’ve been aware of lately…has appeared in the news. This time the reported crime happened in Jordan. “[A] man and his two sons are charged with beating to death the daughter for leaving the house in make up and talking to a strange man…”. (International Herald Tribune) It wasn’t long ago (2007) that a similar tragedy happened here in Canada to 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez who was strangled to death for refusing to wear the hijab. Each time I ask myself, how can anyone kill their own daughter/sister over the family honour…which in itself is a frightening order of priority. Killing your own child does not soil the family rep but a young woman wearing makeup does?
Fellow blogger Kinzi has issued a Call to Act for all Jordanians to rally and denounce “this evil slaughter of Jordan’s daughters”. She has written a letter to the editor of the Jordan Times and is hoping to encourage others to do so. Apparently in Jordan, although the government has been trying to “[urge] judges to consider honor killings equal to other homicides, punishable with up to life in prison” their attempts have fallen on deaf ears. The chief lawmakers in Jordan “argue that tougher penalties would lead to adultery”. What a ludicrous statement! And yet, seemingly acceptable to some – those who seem to wield the power. More than 20 women per year are killed in Jordan, alone, under the guise of the protection of the family honour.
Honour killings are rooted in tradition in many communities around the world. It is a barbarous method of control by which the mere threat of it has terrorized women into submission and imprisonment by their own families. I say that it needs to be stopped everywhere. Every man and woman in the world who understands the true meaning of honour – to uphold the basic human rights of every human being regardless of gender – needs to speak out and do it NOW. The clock is ticking and it won’t be long before another victim is taken. If my words aren’t enough to convince you, have a look at what the ever so eloquent Irshad Manji has to say about speaking out. If you are a blogger, will you take a moment to denounce “Honour Killings” on your blog?
For more information:
Honoring the Killers: Justice Denied for “Honor” Crimes in Jordan – Human Rights Watch