Sunday, March 18, 2012

"Why My Mother Wants Me Dead"

Interesting story in The Daily Beast this week by writer Sabatina James about the sort of family environment and mentality that gives rise to honour killings.

To my parents, my rebellion was a source of deep shame. They felt embarrassed among their Pakistani peers in Austria. They became more determined than ever to marry me off and restore the family “honor.”
When I was 16, my family visited Pakistan. I remember walking outside in an outfit I felt was perfectly modest—loose pants and a blouse. Others saw it differently. A crowd of men formed, hooting and catcalling. That day my mother beat me again, in front of a roomful of relatives.
And then she beat herself. I knew there were Pakistanis who flagellated themselves when they suffered, but I never expected to see my own mother doing it. I watched as she struck herself repeatedly in the chest with a rod, saying, “I have given birth to a whore!”

Full article here.

One of the things that constantly fascinates me is how many women often play a part in their own oppression, and the oppression of their fellow women. The behaviour of the mother in this case is extreme but not that surprising.

So is this the fault of Islam? Yes and no. South Asian cultures tend to be incredibly patriarchal anyway, regardless of their religion. The reasoning may differ to this case, but the scale of violence against women in India, across the religious spectrum, is beyond belief. And it's notable that honour killings are virtually unheard of in Muslim Southeast Asia, a region where the treatment of women is comparatively more benign. But unlike most other religions, Islam has very specific outlines governing women's behaviour. Nowhere does Islam ever condone honour killings, but in cultures predisposed to that sort of thing, the Islamic ideal of female purity gives men plenty of ammunition.

(Via Brown Pundits)

1 comment:

  1. This is a good post. Things like honor-killing are mind-boggling to me.There's nothing honorable about then.