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Arts/Society Shining a light on honour killings' dark corner

Discussion in 'Language, Arts & Culture' started by Archived_Member16, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    source: TheStar.com - Canada - Shining a light on honour killings' dark corner

    Shining a light on honour killings' dark corner

    [​IMG]
    HANDOUT, VANCOUVER PROVINCE/THE CANADIAN PRESS PICTURE ARCHIVE (left), FACEBOOK
    Amandeep Atwal, left, was killed by her father; Aqsa Parvez's father and brother await trial in her death.


    One Canadian expert on honour killings believes mental illness may play a role

    July 25, 2009 - THE STAR, Toronto
    Daniel Dale
    STAFF REPORTER


    We are shocked, naturally, when it is alleged that honour killings have occurred in Canada. They seem alien, inaccessible, at odds with everything we know about our country. How could a primitive thing like that happen in a progressive place like this?

    Curiously, the very cultural permissiveness that makes such crimes so jarring may help explain what leads to their occasional perpetration in North America and Europe.

    Honour killings, as the four Kingston canal deaths may or may not have been, are those committed against females whose suspected social transgressions are perceived to have shamed family members, usually males. Liberal societies provide opportunities for social experimentation that may not exist in some immigrants' native lands.

    "It's easier for women to say, `Maybe I'll live by myself,' or `Maybe I'll live with another woman,' when they're not in some of the countries that they're coming from," says Marianne Mollmann, advocacy director for women's rights at Human Rights Watch.

    "The decision to not conform to the gender role you're supposed to play, that's what often leads to violence within the family. Where there are more opportunities for that, that could create a situation of abuse. But it's just so hard to say."

    Where honour killings are concerned, it is hard to be definitive about much. Nobody knows how many occur each year, though they certainly number in the thousands; statistics are spotty, the motivations of perpetrators impossible to comprehensively catalogue.

    Kingston police would not say why they have charged the father, mother and brother in the deaths of three Montreal teenage girls. Chief Stephen Tanner said the behaviour of one or more of the girls may have been a factor.

    Honour killings occur for a variety of reasons. A 2005 Cairo Association of Legal Aid for Women paper discussed cases in which women were killed for becoming pregnant outside of wedlock or through incest, for committing adultery, or merely for being the subject of community gossip.

    The killings occur most often in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Islam does not sanction them, however, and non-Muslims also commit them.

    In 2005, a Christian Palestinian man killed a daughter who wanted to marry a Muslim. In 2003, the Sikh father of British Columbia's Amandeep Atwal, 17, killed her when he learned she was dating a white boy.

    The father and brother of the late Mississauga teen Aqsa Parvez, 16, are awaiting trial for her 2007 strangulation death. Parvez, friends have said, refused to accept her family's demand that she wear the hijab. However, other friends dispute the allegation.

    Honour killings tend to occur in communities "that control every aspect of women's lives, including their body, speech and behaviour," says Lindsay Mossman, an Amnesty International Canada campaigner for women's human rights.

    Ill-informed religious zealotry animates some "honour" murderers. Some perpetrators are encouraged by cultures that tolerate or encourage their violence. And in some countries, honour killing is legitimized by sexist law. Under Iraq's penal code, for example, an "honour" defence can reduce a prison sentence from life to one year.

    Culture and law, however, cannot be solely blamed for the phenomenon. The great majority of residents of patriarchal societies with lenient laws do not kill. Amin Muhammad, a Memorial University of Newfoundland psychiatry professor who has studied the relationship between honour killings and mental health, says he believes some honour murderers have undiagnosed mental illnesses.

    "We have found psychopathic traits in people who are perpetrating this crime," he says. "You know that mental illness is a taboo, a stigma, here also; people from that part of the world, they don't approach a mental health specialist."

    Alia Hogben, executive director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, says the question of whether the Kingston murders were prompted by honour concerns should not distract from the basic facts of the case.

    "Whatever the rationale is," she says, "whether they think they're doing it for the honour of their family, or because they're jealous, or because they want to control the women – all that becomes, of course, interesting to discuss. But it shouldn't take away from the focal point, the fundamental issue: that women were killed."
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Soul_Jyot ji

    Thank you for never waivering in your quiet advocacy! Ever since I joined SPN you hav been steadfast in educating all of us about this horror. We should not turn our faces away.

    Narayanjot Kaur
     
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  4. harbansj24

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    It is a fact that sometimes, the deviant behavior of of an offspring (whether boy or girl) causes acute social embarrassment to the parents. The best way for the parents is to say in an straightforward manner that they do not approve the behavior of their child. Honour killing solely by the parent is a totally unacceptable deed and I do not think it is sanctioned by any religion. The article rightly hints it as an undiagnosed psychiatric problem.

    A few years back Bibi Jagir Kaur, then President of SGPC was accused of honour killing of her daughter. But as is common in India such things get influenced by political considerations and they taper away.
     
  5. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Harbans ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    I would like to say something before I respond or think aloud with you about your post. I have 2 kids of my own. A girl Jaskeerat 19, Trimaan a boy 14. So, I am talking about this as a parent.

    You write:

    Can you please elaborate what you mean by the deviant behaviour which causes acute and social embarrassement to the parents and how did it come about?

    We all know that behaviour of any kind and sort takes time to build up.

    Where were the parents when this was happening to the kids? Were they playing their part as parents in a right way when they saw their offsprings rowing their boats in tubulent waters of life in a dangerous manner which in result made them have this deviant behaviour?

    How old are these kids and how they reached to that behaviour? Where did they get tools from? Where was the anitdote from the parents to combat those dangerous tools that the kids had attained?

    Please share your wisdom with us about your above statement.

    Before saying something in a straightforward manner when perhaps it is too late,it seems, do the parents also tell them their own frailities and carelessness and lack of closeness and guideness which attributed to the childern's bad behaviour which may affect the rest of their lives?

    Do they take the blame first for not been able to give the right tools to their children when they needed them the most?

    I do not find any honour in this kind of barbarity. Here honour means ego and not being a real parent when the child really needed his/her parents. It is DISHONOURBLE to the humanity no matter what kind of a religion a person belongs to.

    Jagir Kaur should have been rotting in jail as a lousy parent and a criminal. Akaal Takhat should have given her the harshest Tankhah ( ex-communication is not one of them) and helped the police to make the case against them.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  6. harbansj24

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    Tejwant ji,

    Sometimes we do see some children do things which are criminal or not ethical. This can happen in spite of the best possible upbringing and supervision by the parents. It is known that the child inherits some samskars from the parents and some it gets from sources which we cannot authoritatively identify.

    Even Guru Ramdass ji's eldest son Prithi Chand caused endless trouble to Guru Ramdass ji and the family. This does not mean that Guru Ramdass ji did not bring up Prithi chand properly. Similarly there can be several examples from world history.

    On your next question, I can again quote Guru Ramdass ji. He openly disapproved Prithi Chands unethical behavior and ordained Guru Gaddi to be passed on to Guru Arjan Dev ji.

    On your next two statements, I in agreement with entirely.

    Gurfateh and regards
     
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  7. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Harbans ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    You write:

    Could you please elaborate the above with examples and in details because I am a bit confused in what you are really trying to convey?

    Dis-honour killings normally take place in the diaspora for either of the off springs, especially for the girl marrying a person of a different caste and or of a different religion. There is nothing criminal about it but it may show that we as parents were not in presence when it was needed the most during this metamorphosis in the off spring was taking place.

    Yes, we know the facts of our Sikh history. But this should not become mere a non-chalant parable of our own justification to be told to our children but a lesson for us to learn from. After all the society has progressed a lot from that time and there is a big lesson to learn from it rather than making this an excuse that as our Guru Ram Das could not do anything about his son, how can we?

    Sikhi is all about learning. We all know Sikhi is the only way of life that evolved in 200 some years where as other religions only took one generation. We can derive a great lesson from our Sikh history for our personal evolution as Sikhs.

    This would be a great disrespect to our Gurus and to their Gurmat teachings in my opinion.

    Yes, you may quote it if you wish, but only if the quote is taken as a lesson for us to learn from so we can correct ourself and steer the things in the right direction when they go off track rather than as a justification of helplessness and our inability as parents.


    Tejwant Singh
     
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  8. harbansj24

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    Tejwant ji,

    I think you wish to concentrate on parents total responsibility on upbringing of the children especially during their impressionable period of their life.

    I would like to clarify that I am not an intellectually inclined person. But I feel that SPN has also space for ordinary Sikhs like me to express and test their views. With this proviso, I will try to exchange my views as best as I can.

    I cannot agree more with you when you say that parents cannot abdicate their responsibility during the period of metamorphoses of their children. I would even go further to state that parents have responsibility even beyond this critical period.

    When I say children get their Samskars not only from parents but from other sources also, then we should not rule out the possibility that soul also carries a burden of the past which are known as past samskars. Besides the child is also exposed to external environment. This is what I have gathered from my limited exposure to general pool of knowledge on spirituality. This does not mean that parents should give up their responsibility. As I have said, they have a continuous responsibility to guide and try to reform their offspring right from its birth till their own last breadth.

    However when it comes to the crunch, and the if offspring has been involved in a behavior which is unacceptable, then the parent has to say unambiguosly that they do not accept that behavior.

    Sikh history also tells us that Guru Ramdass ji continously tried to reform Prithi Chand. There is also a shabad of Guru ji in SGGS which points to this. Guru ji has written in great anguish "Kahe poot jhagrat sung Baap.............." The essence being: "Oh why do you quarrel with a father who has brought you up in the best possible manner. Toubling such a person is a great sin". But inspite of his continuos and untiring efforts, Prithi Chand did not reform. So when it came to the crunch, Guru ji openly said that his behavior is not acceptable and nominated Guru Arjan Dev ji to Guruship.

    We can also say that what Akal Purakh does is for the best because that signalled the beginning of a glorious and unparrelled era of selfless sacrifices in Sikh history.

    So while the parents should never abdicate their responsibility towards their offsping, Waheguru in His wisdom some times wills it otherwise.

    Gurfateh and Chardia Kalan
     
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