Saturday, May 10, 2008

More on Honor Killing

After allowing my brain to fry a bit in thoughts, grandpa continued talking and explaining to me of the concept of honor killing. Here are his continuing words.

"As I was saying the idea of honor can be a complex situation. It is the attribute of the male species primarily and society demanded that he defend his own honor. If he dishonored himself then the only honorable thing to do was to commit suicide. If it were another who dishonored him in some way falsely, he was to show his honor by his willingness to die for it.

Dishonor of the family followed along these same lines. We must remember that the man’s family determined the family name. The wife took on his last name and the children inherited it. As the head of the family, he was to be honored by all members of his family. Obedience to his ways was imperative on all members.

Women have, historically, never has been viewed as being the equal of men. An argument could be made, and justifiably so, that they were seen as being property meant to be owned. Now, this does not mean that the term property was necessarily given to them it only means that based on the norms of societies that they were treated as such. It was a way of life and accepted as the normal relationship.

Given this attitude, it is understandable why virginity was expected and valued of the female but had no bearing on the reputation of boys. In fact, a boy’s reputation was enhanced once virginity was lost and he was looked upon as a man. I have often wondered if that might be the reason of the choice of colors once used in a wedding, white being a sign of purity for the bride and a black tux being a sign of impurity for the groom.

We must also consider the fact that at one time the father of the girl to be married was given certain assets that determined the value of the girl. The word dowry is a derivative of this practice. The idea of alimony was another means that could be seen that women were to be treated as property that the man was responsible for until another man took over responsibility for her keep. There still are many norms that have been handed down to indicate that women are still treated as property even in the most civilized of nations.

Given this attitude we can see why women and girls are the victims of honor killings. For by their sexual behaviors they disgraced the family name and it was up to the man, whose name was disgraced, to regain his reputation in society. He accomplishes this by ridding her from the family as if she never was a part of his family. The same could be applied to a community where stoning was the punishment.

Now, granted, in Western societies, death by stoning or other means has not been the penalty for awhile now in regards to women’s sexual behavior but we need not go very far back in history to see that it still was dealt with severely. We need not go back very far to hear of the feel of the lash of a whipping upon the back of a woman. We have heard many times in recent history of a father disowning a girl from the family if she came home pregnant. Shot gun weddings are joked about now days but a very real occurrence at one time. A common but hidden and very dangerous occurrence was practiced that has created a big controversy even today, abortion.
Back alley abortions was used to hide the disgrace of a pregnancy. Women or girls were willing to chance it before chancing the wrath of a father who considered himself as being dishonored.

So, while we may see honor killings as being a despicable act and don’t get me wrong I certainly do, boy, we as a society better take a good look at our own history. We don’t have the moral high ground to call it despicable in righteous indignation of being a better society than another, both religiously or culturally on this issue.

Roe Vs Wade only goes back to the year 1973, which was our solution to these back alley atrocities. Furthermore, the attitude in this nation in regards to unwed pregnancies and our attitude towards women themselves only has changed since then also. though I do think that the pendulum of a just society has swung a bit to far to the left and I believe your grandmother will agree on this"

When he had finished I glanced over at grandma who had kept quiet all this time while grandpa was talking and I could only feel a greater appreciation of what being a woman meant in this world.


Gayle said...

I read both of your Honor Killing posts, Griper, but will comment here.

Yes, the pendulum has truly swung too far to the left. Our society always seems to go to extremes, doesn't it? I wonder if there ever will be a happy medium? It's looking pretty doubtful!

At least our society is ahead of those who are still practicing such idiocy and than God for that.

Gayle said...

Just as I hit "publish" I thought of something else I wanted to say. As a woman, I have never felt like a "victim" in this society. Yes, I have felt that our society is not fair in it's treatment of women. I've even been paid less than men doing the same job, but I've never felt like a "victim" because I don't have a victim mentality. I just work with what I've got and am thankful for what I have, and I have a lot to be thankful for. :)

dcat said...

I only got married 3 years ago and knew my hubby as my best friend and climbing partner! I am an equal and I did keep my name!

So don't go there with me griper! I don't play the gender card in my life infact it does not exist with ME!

The Griper said...

its not about victimization, gayle. i was just poiinting out that our attitude in this country in regards to sexual behavior and honor may be changed when it comes to women but it is only a recent change.

i would also say that our attitude in that regard of men has changed all that dramatically.

Fallen' Angel said...

When I read the first of these posts on "Honor Killings,"
I felt such seething anger that I felt I could not comment coherently, I could only emote. It may be this it is still all that I can do.
My first thought was that there was plenty of dishonor to go around. This happened in my home state and, so when I say this, while of course the father, if he deserves such a title, deserves the majority of it, I also see great dishonor in that this person, a proudly admitted perpetrator of the pre-meditated capitol murder of his own daughters, was allowed to flee to Egypt without any impediment to his cowardly flight at the local, state or federal level. To me, that is a dishonor owned by our society as a whole.
I have been in contact with some of the first responders to that incident. All have seen far too much of the evil humans can inflict upon another, but this changed each and every one of them forever. Some of them will never return to the job of saving lives in a hands on manner, which is truly a shame.
Forgive me for quoting a motion picture here but a feel it apropos to this characteristic we call Honor. In the film "Rob Roy" as he was explaining Honor to his sons, Rob said some very poignant things to them on the subject, and it has stuck with me ever since. He explained first that while, “All men with Honor are Kings, not all Kings have Honor." When his sons asked him to define Honor, he said "Honor is a Man's gift to himself." I also believe this to be true. When his children then asked, "Do Women have it?" He replied, "Women are the very heart of Honor and we must respect, cherish and protect it in them at any cost. Never malign a woman or stand back and allow another to do so."
If only those values lived in our hearts and value systems, the world might be a very different place, and not just or women.
But, the reality is that we are not the polite people who live in poems such as this. Perhaps we never were. Still, it enrages me that a religion twisted by men for its own evil purposes can eradicate a Man's love, if he ever had any, for his own children.
And let us not forget other such killings have taken the lives of not just women, but men in the countries of our allies. For they too have fallen victim to this hatred. Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death on an Amsterdam street in just such an act. His "crime" against Islam? A film that criticized the honor killings of women.
Perhaps I am naive, but having read the Bible, the Torah and the Koran, all texts contain many similarities, one of which is that a man's offence toward his God, is between the two of them and should God chose to absolve, forgive or descend with all HIS wrath...that is HIS JUDGEMENT TO MAKE...HE IS GOD. While it is one thing to communicate one's spiritual beliefs, it goes against all the major religious bodies to seek vengeance not merely for choosing not to believe or abided by them. it is immoral in every one to do so for some perceived insult to any Deity. God does not need us to defend his truth or his morality, but we certainly need him to save of from the lack of our own.
Before ending this response I readily admit that the Catholic Church, in which I was raised, committed similar atrocities in the name of Christ when their true goal was to hold an unshakable power over its followers and kill those who refused to fall under the rule of men hiding behind the authority of GOD. My church is by no means perfect, and corruption still abides within it, as it does in many religious organizations of its nature.
I believe, personally, that whether one chooses to believe in God or chooses not to believe in any higher being at all, that it is still our responsibility as human beings to condemn such heinous crimes, prosecute them to the harshest extent the law allows and most of all prevent them form occurring at all rather than turn a blind eye with perhaps the briefest of thoughts thanking God it didn’t happen to you...because if the things continue in their current direction, it might be you, or your own child who will burn alive at the hands of those tying more violently than ever not to bring others to the love o f God but to satiate themselves with the lust of power.

The Griper said...

tis not power we see here, it be self-rightiousness. honor in order to be true requires rightious action. it is for rightiousness that death be the penalty or the sacrifice.
a man seeking power does not run to hide under the power of those more powerful than he, only the self-rightious do.

Fallen' Angel said...

Excellent point, Griper, thank you for wxplaining the difference.


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