Honor killings? Watch

Oblivion99
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Honor Killings, are all to do with culture. You get them occurring, predominantly, in the South of Asia but there have been crimes all around the world. For me, it seem's absurd that two Parents who have brought an soul up for an odd 18 years, cherished them, loved them is UNABLE, impotent, to accept and embrace their choices, especially when it come's to love. Why are you letting your children, get married to another individual for as long as they live if they haven't met before. I know some arranged marriages do work out fantastically, but why deprive your own child of their statutory rights? If they're living in the UK, they're luckily as liberated as they can be? Why merge your sadistic cultural "rituals" on another continent!
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Thus-Spoke-Lara
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Hi Oblivion,


I would like to state that as an Arab female, I agree with you that the system of killing for honour is perverse, universally repugnant, a crime and just plain wrong. I say universally repugnant because I don't think its a matter of geography or cultural relativism, I think it's a matter of respect for human dignity, I regard enforced codes of honour to the point of violence to be an anathema to the very word honour itself. It's important to recognize that there are many people and activists from across different cultures from Europe, the Arab World and even South Asia (as can be seen by the Pakistani Obaid-Chincy's Oscar nominated film on Honour Killings) who are appalled by these crimes and are actively trying to stop it. This is important to bare in mind because these people are very much part of the cultural landscape of these places, if we view South Asian or Arab culture is singular, then at best we can say its a bipolar culture (but not if we don't).



We of course need to disentangle arranged marriages from both forced marriages and honour based crimes. The fundamental difference is choice. This is why we must disentangle arranged from forced marriages.


I would also point-out that according to governmental figures, an average of two British women are murdered by their partners every week. These are not typically classed as 'honour crimes' because of cultural and some argue racial differences between the perpetrators. They might be classed as crimes of passion or other such categorizations, but regardless of what you call it, the effect is the same. I am not trying to deflect the discussion but trying to broaden it and demonstrate some of the difficulties with semantics.


I would also point out that what can be called honour crimes occur in southern Italy and other parts of the Mediterranean. It transcends religious backgrounds, indeed, I remember a news feature which stated that in Jordan, honour killings were unofficially higher among Christians than among Muslims. Something about being a minority can foster a mindset which is more belligerent about certain things.


Of course, contemporary western feminist discourse would locate the motive for honour-killings (and the fact it pre-dates Christianity in Europe) in the Roman idea that women were men's property, not independent being capable of reason. Indeed during pre-Christian Europe there seems to have been a lot of confusion about just want a woman was in relations to man- but that's a different discussion. I am not sure the idea of woman as property is the motive for today's honour crimes- especially as the idea of women as human being and not property was shifted after the ascent of Christianity in the West and Islam in the East.


I think it has more to do with this idea that an individual has little value, an idea that exists in certain cultures or sub-cultures, would be more accurate to say. The sense that your children are an extension of you, and you are an extension of your parents and they theirs. Survival is rooted in the collective and not the individual. An idea like this would make sense in old rural or tribal settings where harsh living conditions means that only through collective action can you survive. If one individual proves to be a 'weak link' or does something to upset the collective- than they are a threat that must be terminated in order to preserve collective survival. That might be the case for many, or at least the idea is rooted in, but of course this does not explain why it happens in urban settings or in the UK.


The only real reason is insecurity, cultural narcissism and a resistance to becoming 'rootless'. I would also point out the dynamics between wider British society and ethnic minorities, which I think only adds fuel to the fire, a kind of inferiority complex that encourages violently insular behavior. But its hard to say the exact reason. Each killing is individual to the perpetrator and I think one my biggest critiques of the way honour killings is the way the debate is framed in this, 'cultural otherness' and a framework that British culture is inherently progressive and South Asian culture (assuming South Asia is one culture) is inherently regressive, old-fashioned and timeless. I wonder whether the perpetrators have adopted this English discourse on their culture and thus act out what is 'expected' of them?
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