Honor Violence

More on Honor Killings…….

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Ellen R. Sheeley, author of the book, “Reclaiming Honor in Jordan: A National Public Opinion Survey on “Honor” Killings“, left the following comment to an earlier post I published yesterday, that dealt with the subject of honor killings in Norway.

KGS, we are simpatico on this.

As one who’s researched and worked on the “honor” killings situation for years–i.e., the one that is believed to have its origins in misinterpretations of pre-Islamic tribal codes–I was very surprised that two academicians would have it so wrong. . .and be so public about it.

“Honor” killings and other murders, such as crimes of passion, have some obvious qualities in common, but they are not the same. Saying so does not make it so. This is not helping with understanding and addressing the “honor” killings situation.

One obvious difference, apart from the believed origins, is that most murders of the non “honor” killing sort are severely punished. In general, killers do not return to their communities to heroes’ welcomes. Society tends to view criminal behaviors harshly.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author “Reclaiming Honor in Jordan”

Ellen R. Sheeley is correct. The pride in reclaiming a sense of honor for one’s self or one’s family is a part of the Arab/Muslim culture. I am reminded of a story told to me by a friend living in Nahariyya Israel.

According to my friend Lev, years ago, a long time Arab friend of his told of a tragedy that struck his family. The man’s father was arrested for the murder of his sister whom he literally butchered in the upper room of their two story house. The tragedy for this man was the fact that his sister had brought shame onto the family, and that his father was sitting in jail for committing the murder.

But, his friend continued, now he can walk through his village with his head held high because his family’s honor has been restored. My friend was shocked, really shocked. He had known this man for years and considered him a real friend, but could never reconcile his years of friendship with the story his Arab friend told. He told me it was absolutely chilling, with the hairs on his neck literally standing on end.

That is the “real reality” of the situation in much of the Arab/Muslim world. I am also told that many commit these murders against their own will, in order to pacify the dictates of the village leadership, who will “take matters into their own hands” if the males in the house refuse to handle the situation according to traditional expectations. *L* KGS.

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