Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Honor Killing

A Georgia dad is charged with the killing of his 25 year old daughter...it was an "honor killing". Apparently the daughter was bringing the family shame because she wanted out of her arranged marriage. I think the whole arranged marriage thing is bad enough, but to be put to death by your own father is just horrific. If you search "honor killing", you will find several other women who have been murdered because they are supposedly bringing their family shame. I just don't get it, do you?? It's the people who are doing the killing that are shameful cowards.

The news that I read reported that this kind of domestic violence happens more often than we realize....isn't that sad?


Neal said...

I just found your blog through CNN's site. I'm not an expert on this issue and I understand your comment but culture is a powerful force. I don't think the subcontinental cultures generally condone this en masse but on a more local level, I think it is accepted. While it's easy to sit around and say it's wrong I have to question why it's wrong. After all, isn't it a cultural bias to say that it's wrong, too?

Before anyone (yourself included) gets on me about how this young woman had no chance at a full life, etc. think about why people are put to death in various cultures around the globe. It's usually for crimes against a society. Murder, for example, is most often not considered a capital offense in the US; serial murder or horrific terroristic murder is. The 'why' is simple - our society considers these things to be worthy of the utmost punishment because crimes of these natures tear the society apart.

Similarly, I would argue that some cultures consider breaking the vows and traditions of arranged marriage to be something that could destroy their way of life - nay, their society.

I'm not saying it's right. It's not - most importantly because this man chose to live in this country with his family and therefore chose to live by THIS society's rules. (One should not try to cherry-pick societal rules.) I'm just asking that you try to understand it from a cultural standpoint - and, if you think it's wrong, work towards changing it.

Anonymous said...

This is a common practice in South East Asian counties (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan) but a horrific one. Taking away one's freedom to decide who they should live their life with is a big enough crime and then to top it off this idiot murders his own daughter. Obviously, he loved his honor more than his daughter. Shame on this idiot. There are many more marriages happening in the above mentioned countries and most of the are successful. Why? 1) Compromise by the girl, 2) Threat of becoming an outcast, 3) Women/girls not being independent, etc... These are the common reasons. Though many marriages have a long-happy marriage once the couples get over this. Still it is not right. But then again, we have our issues in the US. We kill for Oil, land, positioning ourselves globally in the name of freedom, etc etc...

Anonymous said...

As long as we let our ancient texts dictate our behaviors and our sense of "morality", this kind of inhumanity will keep occurring. I would love to believe that this incident was a "domestic violence" issue, but it isn't. That would be too easy. It is, unfortunately, a religious issue.
The time has come, we need to take a hard look at the role our dogmatic beliefs play in the modern world. The disturbing is that this man did not kill his daughter out of reckless arbitrary violence. Islam as an idea has never championed human rights of women (or anyone outside the muslim faith for that matter.) in fact, the quran is quite adamant about the inequality that should be observed when referencing women of islamic society.
According to the quran, women are a source of shame, and should be treated as such. So while honor killings are not covered in the quran, there is more than enough evidence to justify the actions of this particular muslim believer.
This inevitable violence is the product of 4th century rhetoric which is believed by almost 2 billion people to be the inerrant word of God. To reiterate, this is not a domestic issue, but a global issue that could well mean the eradication of human civilization. I wish I was exaggerating, but it's all there in the text. The evidence in the quran for the use of violence is startling. This is only trumped by the evidence we have for how many people actually believe that the text was actually written by God himself.
It is now the responsibility of all humans to open up an honest discourse about the irrationality of religion and dogmatic belief (Islam is only one of many religions, including christianity and judaism, that put juvenile fairy tales before rational thought and scientific inquiry.) We cannot afford to tip toe around the subject any longer by relegating what is clearly a religious problem to a "domestic issue" for fear of offending or being politically incorrect.
These events are happening at an alarming rate (even 1 honor killing a year is too much), and must be dealt with in the form of rational thought, skeptical inquiry, and cold hard facts. I am saddened by the aggression that took place in Atlanta, but I also know that if this same event took place in Iran or Nigeria, it wouldn't have been met with the same vehement opposition.
While I applaud our modern society for its sense of right and wrong on issues of honor killings, I am downright skeptical when it comes to using an ancient text for moral council. The same text that reads love your neighbor also can be invoked to justify the stoning of disobedient children, homosexuals, and heretics of all types.
This kind of thinking needs to change in order for us as a humanist civilation to create a sustainable future.