Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Lest we forget: The 'dishonored' women

A Saudi beheading from 'The Activist'
Once upon a time, not too long ago, in a place not too far from here there lived a princess. Princess Misha'al, it is said, was a wilful and privileged daughter of an admirable house and grand niece to the King when she forsook her aged husband for the arms of a younger lover. On a mid-July day of 1977, nineteen year old Princess Misha'al bint Fahd al Saud and her beau Khalid Muhalhal were publicly executed in a Jeddah parking lot without benefit of trial.


What is surprising about this tale is not that they were cut down on the orders of the King over their illicit affair. What is exceptional in this case of 'honour killing' is that the male too was punished and that the matter was public. Approximately 5000 women die annually to assuage family pride in what is tantamount to culturally sanctioned murder, and it might be argued that they are the fortunate ones. Photo from 'Domestic Violence in Asia'
No reliable figures are available for those who survive the sundry 'kitchen accidents' and acid attacks. They are condemned because they are suspected to be no longer virginal, have committed adultery, sought a divorce, brought an insufficient dowry, refused an arranged marriage or were victims of rape in societies where their sexuality falls within the purview of men.

Often dismissed as a peculiarity of Muslim societies honour killings occur worldwide, crossing cultural and religious boundaries, and have been reported in the following: There is however, no Qu'ranic basis for the concept of transferable guilt nor extra-judiciary killings.
And their Lord has accepted of them and answered them, "Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, whether male or female, you are members, one of another..."
-The Qu'ran 3:195

Whoever chooses to follow the right path, follows it but for his own good; and whoever goes astray, goes but astray to his own hurt; and no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another’s burden...
-The Qu'ran 17:15

5 Ninjas, 1 Kitten and a Fifth of Vodka!