Saturday, July 15, 2006

Honour thy family...

"Crimes of honour are about the control of women. Honour is an excuse" (Hannana Siddiqui - Southall Black Sisters)

Samaira Nazir was stangled and stabbed by her brother and cousin because they were against her Afghan boyfriend. Her brother was jailed yesterday for at least 20 years. Samaira argued for the right to choose her boyfriend rather than her family. This cost her her life.

Samaira's boyfriend spoke in court about how, "we couldn't tell her family because Samaira said her father was a very strict man who would not allow any female in his family to marry outside of his caste or tribe".

Samaira's "crime" was liking the wrong man. Reading the case made me angry beyond belief and horrified me that this woman's life was curtailed because she wouldn't give into her family's demands.

According to official record there are an estimated 12 honour killings a year. Honour killings do not just happen in muslim families. The truth is that they happen in all societies.

Hannana Siddiqui from Southall Black Sisters argues that honour killings are seen as a predominantly "asian problem" and this stereoptype causes so much racist reaction. She also believes that honour killings should be relocated to the mainstream of law and policy on gender violence and into wider issues of human rights.

Honour killings are about controlling women in a patriarchal family unit with the man at the top. It is a way of keeping women under the thumb. It is an expression of violence in patriarchy...
if the woman doesn't obey she is condemned and sometimes subjected to violence and/or killed. That's why honour killings should be treated as violence against women overall.