Friday, December 30, 2005

Friday middle eastern...blogging: the struggle of ordinary women

a mother and a son-cnn
courtesy CNN

So-called honor killings have been in the news lately. (see also here.) They are a sort of cultural flash-point, insofar as the muslim hating contingent seem to love to capitalize on them, in order to advance their thesis that muslims, and muslim society in general, are irredeemably depraved and primitive. One of the ironies of the cold war was that most of the Pan-Arabist leaders from the middle of the 20th century, most of whom sided with Soviets, were also trying to modernize their societies and put the tribalism of their societies behind them, including honor killings.

The picture above is of Rudayena Jemael and her son Salim, taken in 1995. She was only 37, although to me she looks older. Perhaps her life was hard. Her son doesn't look like a killer, per se. He just looks like a kid. But apparently he shot her in her head in her sleep, so that he could have his supposed honor. She had been divorced for nineteen years, and wanted him to give her his blessing, for her to remarry. The story, which is from occupied Palestine, is old, and I admit I haven't been able to find out any information about what happened afterwards, as far as criminal prosecution goes.

CNN's Walter Rogers notes:

The roots of honor killing are ancient and pre-Islamic. At Rudayena Jemael's memorial service, women listened to chants from the Koran saying, "In the day of judgment, Allah will ask, why do you kill innocent women?"

some additional links:

School of Oriental and African Studies

and Wikipedia's entry on honor killings, here.

(speaking of Wikipedia, they're having a pledge drive, through the 6th.)