Urgent Echo – Call to Act

The Scream - Patricia ArielYesterday, 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

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11 thoughts on “Urgent Echo – Call to Act

  1. Well, so far the reaction has been quite weak from the people who can make change happen, Jordanian men. I had wrongly assumed the blogging community would rally, but only Qwaider and Observer of the old-time bloggers, Tha2ir and Shmal of the new chose to post.

    😦

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    1. Well, Kinzi, he’s not Jordanian…but I have one more man for you who stood up to the plate…Abu Fares. Check his post: http://www.abufares.net/2009/03/flirting-with-devil.html

      I know its disappointing (to say the least) that more people didn’t rally to the cause…particularly the men. I don’t know…maybe I’m jaded…but I’m not surprised. I guess we’ll just have to keep plugging away at it…and hope one day people will start to realize the severity of the situation and actually do something about it.

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  2. You know I really believe that this is a control issue, that unfortunately seems to be woven into every aspect of middle eastern society. Take Saudi Arabia for instance, a woman can’t even leave the country without a mans permission. How can this be viewed as anything but control. There seems to be an ideology in the middle east that men need to control women. (not all men but a lot of them) Take Afghanistan for instance, they deny women education, health care, and basically make them prisoners in their own homes, in the name of God. Think about it, a woman with no education completely dependent on a man basically has no way to escape and becomes a prisoner, like it or not. If she tries to leave she is killed. The government has the power to change this but they don’t because they have their own agendas in mind. There needs to be laws in place that make it a true crime to commit these atrocities, but apparently the people in the government have the same backwards ideas as the very people committing these crimes. This is what women around the world have always fought for, their basic human rights. The right to vote, wear what they want, marry who they want, the right to drive, the right to come and go as they please. This is why I believe that it all boils down to control. No one has the right to control another person. I personally believe that there needs to be a complete turn around in the thinking. Why should it be the brothers business if his sister wears makeup or talks to a man. Why do they care what the neighbors think, and how can a man kill his own flesh and blood because she would not wear a stupid scarf. This is sick. I personally could give a shit less what my neighbors think, and I’m sure they feel the same way. If my husband ever killed my daughter I can promise you he would die a gruesome painful death. Until people change their thinking this will continue to go on. That’s includes the people in the government as well. Education is the key and tougher laws that make this A TRUE CRIME!

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    1. San Antonio Cicily, of course its about control. Almost any violence that I can think of that is traditionally (but not always) perpetrated against women is about control – rape, honour killings, forced confinement, etc.. And yes, I agree whole heartedly that the thinking has to change. The unfortunate part is that it won’t happen over night – unfortunate for the future victims. I don’t think this is about religion although it is used and contorted to try to support the actions of these men. It is more about tribal laws and traditions that, like you said, can only be eradicated by education and by a radical shift in thinking and policy of the governments of some countries. Hopefully if, eventually, enough people shout loudly enough…eventually change will happen. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

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