AMMAN â€” A Jordanian man was charged on Sunday with premeditated murder after allegedly stabbing to death his 22-year-old daughter because she became pregnant outside wedlock, police said.
“The father and his brother took the girl on Saturday to a doctor because she suffered stomach pains, and everybody was surprised to learn that she was six months pregnant,” a police spokesman told AFP.
“On their way home, the father stabbed the girl with a sword 25 times in her stomach, killing her immediately as well as her unborn baby boy.” The source said the suspect has confessed to the crime following the murder, which took place in the Jordan Valley.
“His brother was also charged with premeditated murder, while the victim’s boyfriend is being held in custody for his own protection,” he added. [source]
The only thing I could think of after reading this was: when was the last time someone used a sword as a weapon in Jordan? The second immediate thought was: how could two people living in the Jordan Valley of all places, be so oblivious to their surrounding environment and end up pregnant? It’s like wearing a faisali uniform and walking through wahdat. Talk about tempting fate.
My honest thoughts of the day.
I’m a long-time reader of your blog but this is the first time I’ve commented. I usually really enjoy reading your posts and respect your opinions but this the first post of yours that in truth annoyed me.
We get all shocked and outraged when victims of honour crimes are in fact, found out to be virgins post-mortem. ‘Where is the justice in this world, how could people be so heartless?” we ask. “Look world, she was chaste and pure and she did not deserve this!!!”, we cry. But now that the victim was actually pregnant we shrug our shoulders and say “Oh so she had sex? Well I guess she deserved it then. How can she be so stupid, she knew what was coming to her.”
That is basically what you were implying when you compared it to wearing a faisali unform and walking through wahdat.
That is so wrong. Murder is murder. Regardless of whether the victim was in fact sexually active or not.
We should be equally outraged with this case as with any other case of an honour killing, if not more, because an unborn child was also murdered. If we are not, we are no better than the killers because then we are also implicitly condemning the victim based on this society’s skewed notions of what consitutes ‘honour’.
There is so much to admire in Jordan and its people.
But honour killings are Jordan’s shame.
“How could two people living in the Jordan Valley of all places, be so oblivious to their surrounding environment and end up pregnant?” This one is good! Spotlight! Stupidity killed the girl!!!
Damn this subject!! It hurts no matter how many stories one reads or hears
these are honest thoughts ! i think both are valid from a third eye
MH: Thanks for commenting for the first time.
Let me be very clear about what I am saying…
I am obviously against honor crimes, and as a long time reader you’ve probably known that. I too believe that murder is murder. However, there is something to be said about knowingly putting oneself in danger, especially when one considers their surrounding environment and circumstances. So yes, if a faisali-loving fan walks through al-wahdat his chances of being brutally beaten up are at 90% and he is making a conscious choice to put himself in harm’s way. The crime of his beating remains a crime, but there is something to be said about his decision to tempt fate so ridiculously.
This is my point.
Yes, we have honor crimes. Yes, they are horrible crimes. Yes, there is no excuse for them. Yes, murder is murder. Yes, there is much to be done about that from a cultural, social, political and legislative angle. However, in the meantime, we have the status quo and the status quo being ignored so blatantly in this specific case is, in my opinion, tempting fate.
If our most basic human instinct is that of survival, we are therefore creatures that take precautions. We lock our cars and doors. We walk through “safer” routes late at night. We avoid being in certain areas or being at certain events. We take natural precautions because we are consciously thinking of our safety, our survival and the context of those two elements in a given environment.
If you drive a nice car but refuse to take the necessary precautions to protect it, i’m not saying it deserves to be stolen, i’m just saying you probably didn’t do much to avoid that sitution.
The Jordan Valley is a region where so much as being seen with a non-relative male is reason enough to get murdered. It is a region where even the silliest disputes end with someone getting shot (usually below the knees).
Nas, i see your point. But how do you know she wasn’t r aped?
SF: Rape would be speculation on my part. I’m commenting on whatever information i have to go on in the news report. Everything else would be speculation.
I just heard the story yesterday but they said she was 16 ….. so 22 is more mature and more responsible for her actions ….. unless it was rape
honestly i am against honor crimes but this time i really don’t feel sorry for her i agree with u Nas ….. allah gave us brain to think and consider our actions ….. but i just don’t understand why the boy friend don’t get the same punishment …. why it’s always the girl ?
Again, not particularly disagreeing with you but you have to appreciate that this is too sensetive an issue to be giving comical analogies. Given that you do not know that it was/wasn’t r ape related, and given that this is a specific case you’re talking about, I feel that passing judgement on this specific case isn’t appropriate. If you set up a hypothetical scenario with the same givens (i.e. a hypothetical girl makes the decision to be with her boyfriend in the jordan valley area and gets herself pregnant as a result), I’d agree with you – but this is a real case with real people involved…. I hope you see my point.
I also had questions when I read this news: A sword? A boyfriend? 6-months pregnant? An uncle and a father accompanying her to a doctor’s visit?
It’s all possible, I guess, but still, nothing justifies this double murder.
The only explanation is that the young “couple” are completely oblivious to reproductive health &safety. After all, there is no sex education in schools in Jordan and you can bet families in the Jordan Valley don’t talk about this taboo subject to their children.
You know what else is very disturbing.. the fact that she probably did not know she was six months pregnant. Obviously I don’t know the details here, but I have heard similar stories before about girls going to the hospital because of stomach pain and then finding out they’re months pregnant. That tells you something about the desperate need for proper sex education in schools.
You see, if two people in a very conservative part of Jordan with all the risk of being killed for honor still choose to have a relationship and have sex, wouldn’t everyone be better off if this couple knew how to use a form of protection?
If this young woman knew the minute she missed her period six months ago that something was wrong, and if there was a proper support system in place once she’d realized she’s pregnant, then perhaps a life, or in this case two lives, could have been spared.
We just need to stop burying our heads in the sand.
Are you suggesting that a couple having sex in ghor is like walking with faisali t-shirt in wihdat?
OK. Sex is different from choosing to wear a shirt. Spontaneous sex, I think, is more instinctual than say wearing your favorite team shirt. And when one engages in sex, I think that the consequences of such behavior take the back seat, so basically you are comparing apples and oranges.
And for Simsism,
Allah also said that her punishment is not killing. Also, what about the unborn child that was killed in the process? Where did that person go from the whole equation?
Mohanned: I don’t agree with the whole punishment thing it’s not from our religion ….. but she is Jordanian and she knows how people react to this matter …. so why the risk ?
I can’t believe I am talking from this point of view instead of talking about morals and our relation with allah …. but till we come back to our faith at least she should thought about her family and the region she lives in … and u want me to care about a baby his mother know nothing about and i think she never want …. ?
allah yer7am eljamee3
about the baby …. I guess u will understand me wrong …. not that we shouldn’t care about this baby but whom should be the first one to care about him and do the best to protect him from any harm ? isn’t that one should be his mother …. but she was careless and didn’t consider him from the first place ….
“but she is Jordanian and she knows how people react to this matter â€¦. so why the risk ? ”
Oh my..What does her nationality or even religion have to do with her engaging in sexual behavior? It is a human instinct..some call it love, others call it marriage but whatever it is called it is at the end a mean to satisfy an instinctual desire. It is a universal desire.
Presenting the girl and her partner as rational actors who had sex despite them “knowing” the consequences of their behavior should be no means make their “punishment” more acceptable.
“and u want me to care about a baby his mother know nothing about and i think she never want â€¦. ?
allah yer7am eljamee3”
This is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard in a while! That unborn baby has done nothing wrong, and you simply don’t care because the mother didn’t care or know? How did you get to that conclusion? That is selfish and mean at best.
What a shame..
This is totally unjustifiable – we do not live in the jungle. I totally understand the cultural values that we have in our society but this is a crime against humanity. I can see the mild irony that Nas is using comparing it to waering the Faisali shirt walking in Wahdat !
I believe it is about time the authorities really treat this as a crime rather than a ‘social’ behaviour which is justifiable given the background of the incident; it is killing of 2 innocent human lives..! We should not in my view be the judge instead of God for whatever wrong actions others take..!
I apologise for the long comment upfront..
This latest crime, with the little facts we know, is littered with oddities. The choice of weapon stands out as odd to begin with, but even more so is the fact that the sword â€˜just happenedâ€™ to be in the car ready to be utilised for the â€˜moment of passionâ€™ that overtook the father when he found out about his daughterâ€™s pregnancy. How many Jordanians regularly have swords in their cars?
Also, as Lina pointed out, there is the oddity of the girl â€“ 6 months pregnant â€“ asking to be taken to a doctor because of stomach pains. So she was accompanied by no female members of her family, who would be allowed to enter the hospital ward with her (as far as I know male family members are not usually allowed to be present at an examination). I guess none of her sisters or mother were available on this very odd day.
And finally, after her condition was revealed, the daughter was sent home with her father and uncle without apparently being asked whether she feared for her life or not, or wanted to seek protection. The car she was driven back in happened to have, out of all weaponry, a sword. And she was murdered along with her unborn child.
If the girl indeed was tempting fate, (an idea like MH and Mohannad I find very disturbing), then at the very least the story would have to be plausible, believable. With that many oddities, plausibility must be humoured.
[I feel the need to emphasise that any opinions I express are my own, and my own only. They do not represent or speak on behalf of other individuals or groups.]
After reading the post I started wondering about all the things I have to stop doing if I were to be sensitive to my Jordanian environment:
– I should stop trying to get by on merit, and resort to wasta instead. Wasta is a staple of Jordanian culture, and not resorting to it would constitute behaviour â€˜obliviousâ€™ to my â€˜environmentâ€™
– I should also stop arriving on time, (respecting my time and others is not Jordanian behaviour), stop thinking (because we seem allergic to it on a social level), and start honking my car horn with or without reason. Never stop for pedestrians, and instead of spending my time reading and learning, I should just get a PR job and play Farmville all day. That is what my surrounding (west ammani) community does. By not playing Farmville all day I am asking for alienation. Luckily alienation doesnâ€™t come with an execution order; phew!
People do stuff all the time that defies their culture. In conservative areas some people have sex, and in liberal countries some people abstain. It is part of what people do, they have life experiences, and life experiences are meant to be vehicles for growth. Iife experiences change people, they teach them new lessons, they inspire, they drive.
The girl might have grown up to regret her experience, and she would have been able to teach her children the value of virtue in a more reasonable manner, based on acquired truth, not enforced morality. Her children, and her family, would be better off because of the experience she has had.
Or the life experience could have motivated her along a different path; she may have chosen to protect herself and her child by seeking to excel at school/uni, become a brilliant [smth] and provide a better life for herself and her children away from an environment she felt enforced on her a moral code she was not convinced of.
Either way, we will never know. We kill life experiences before they can materialise into that. That may just be why we have so few Jordanian figures we admire or look up to; our moral codes, so stringent, mitigate against people becoming human.
Which brings me to my second point. A faisli fan walking through wihdat camp with his t-shirt on (provided he does not physically or verbally insult its inhabitants) should not be accused of tempting fate either, not unless one excuses crowd behaviour. If we treat masses as publics, then they will act as publics: respecting one another even whilst resenting one another. If, however, we treat masses as crowds, then that is what they become.
If we speak of faisli and wihdat as ethnicities, the absurdity of the premise is easier to spot: is a black man walking down a white street â€˜tempting fateâ€™?
Very well said deena.
I would also add: What makes some classify premeditated murder as “fate”? Does an act being acceptable make it OK or right? Or even worse, does it make it fate, and does it make the victims “reckless”?
Mohanned: regarding the nationality I think u should explain that to our government …..
and for the baby I am sorry I hurt ur feelings ……
“Mohanned: regarding the nationality I think u should explain that to our government â€¦.. ”
You were the one that brought up her nationality and the risks of having sex while being jordanian!!
“and for the baby I am sorry I hurt ur feelings â€¦â€¦”
How insensitive and mean of you to say that! Two human souls were lost and your reaction is this?
“Islam is the solution”! We usually use this in Arabic for sarcasm when someone asks what is the solution! But whoever said this is 100% right. After all, the girl deserves a punishment, but not to the extent of killing her. If this father had a strong believe and enough knowledge of Islam in addition to the fear of Allah, he would never do this.
For me, the only thing I had thought of after reading this was the hate and rage behind the 25 STABS and how the society can put you under the pressure of doing things you (in your heart) don’t want to do -if you know what I mean.
P.S.: What is it behind the new trend of “I always read your blog but this is the first time I comment”? LOL!
“It is a human instinct..some call it love, others call it marriage but whatever it is called it is at the end a mean to satisfy an instinctual desire. It is a universal desire.”
Well, this is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard (when read under the context). We are not animals and should control our “desires”. I do have a desire and passion of being rich but that doesn’t give me the right to use ALL the means available of getting rich…
And no, it’s not something that some people call love, some call marriage. Marriage is a sacred and blessed relationship among all cultures and religions, so you can’t compare it to having forbidden sex without a legitimate relation like if both are the very same!!!
I would like to thank Deena for her thoughtful comment.
And no, I don’t buy the argument that if someone is “tempting fate”, it is understandable that he or she gets killed, hurt or attacked. None of this should be the case. In my opinion, it should not even being used as argument. It plays down the crime that was committed. This was murder. Full stop. And there is no justification for murder.
Some of the comments here remind me of the argument I have sometimes heard in Europe when a woman was raped: “Well, why was she wearing such a short skirt?!” The perpetrator still was the rapist and, in this case of so-called honour crime, the father of the woman. Let’s not mix up who is the victim and perpetrator. It only makes the victim a victim second time round.
Read it in the context of the comment, that is all I have to say. Youth engage in sexual behavior becasue it is instinctual, thus it shouldn’t be compared to wearing a shirt.
BTW, and for those who wonder since when the sword is being used as a murder weapon in Jordan, I can tell you that it’s widely used for the last 4 or 5 years in areas of high crimes by hooligans (Dawaween!) and is considered a new style or fashion among those people. Anyone who lives in Eastern Amman should have an idea about this.
they should make a strong punishment for anyone who commits an “honor crime” .. but it seems the government is too weak or scared to do anything about it ..
you know every time there is an honor killing the same discussion happens .. ohhh this is so backwards .. ohhh this is wrong .. ohhh the humanity .. this must stop .. bla bla bla .. which is not a bad thing but you know .. the first time .. second time .. third time .. then it’s like .. ok we get it .. honor crimes are bad .. do something about it already ..
@SF: your point is seen and is absolutely valid. and for the sake of berevity, let’s assume this is hypothetical. the analogy was not meant to be comical.
@Mohanned: I’m not comparing. It’s just an analogy. If it bothers you that much, ignore it and focus on the premise in lieu of it. That might help. Also i get the feeling you’re not quite grasping the idiom of “tempting fate” do to your emphasis on the word fate in an out-of-context manner.
@Deena: the things you listed as considerations for your jordanians environment are of course things that might make your life easier but do not necessitate survival. you’d be surprised how well-armed the residents of the ghor area happen to be, and a sword in the back of a car does not come as a surprise to me or anyone who frequently visits and mingles with this part of the population. they have absolutely no problem in shooting, harming or killing over the silliest of reasons. when you take that in to consideration, you get a better understanding of what it would mean to be a female living in this environment and you’d probably tweak your definition of “survival” to be more about life and death as opposed to wasta.
secondly, this is not an ordinary case of an ordinary life experience defying an ordinary environment. a girl and a boy having sex while living in the ghor region is not the equivalent of the same experience taking place in amman (which is also conservative by global standards). the choice they made may have involved love or God knows what, but unless they were two mentally disabled people, they were most likely well aware of the high risk they were taking, a risk that runs much higher in their specific environment than in others around Jordan.
as for the analogy. sheesh. everyone seems to find it problematic and i’m thinking of just removing it. if you’ve never witnessed the hooliganism associated with faisali and wehdat rivalries this analogy can fly right over your head. but it is real and it is deadly and it was the first thing that came to mind. if you prefer the black man walking in a white neighborhood analogy then that’s fine too, but let’s tweak it and make it the 1920’s in mississippi.
@fred (and anyone else carrying a similar perception for that matter): this is not being used to justify anything. my opinion is simple on this matter and it is outlined in comment #5. you dont run in to a burning building without the knowledge that there is a high chance of getting burnt, even if your purpose is a noble one.
Nas, thank you for your reply. I suppose we can agree to disagree 🙂 I understand the point you are trying to make but at the same time I don’t think you have considered the many potential situations that this couple might have been in that would have been simply out of their control.
I have to say I agree with Mohanned and Deena. I find it very hard to believe that this young couple were unaware of their environment and oblivious to the social customs and traditions in the Jordan Valley Area, the victim was an adult and I am assuming her partner is around the same age. They would have known that engaging this sort of relationship is dangerous. But this doesn’t mean that the couple weren’t very naive and simply uninformed when it came to intimacy and sex. I’m assuming that’s a major factor here, especially given the appalling lack of proper sex education in this country. It seems that the victim herself didn’t even know she was pregnant, as Deena pointed out.
It’s so easy to make a judgement and say they were ‘tempting fate’ but this case is not black and white….there are so many shades of grey. For one thing, we don’t know if the sex was consensual or not. It may have been rape for all we know -just because they were a couple does not mean that the sex must certainly have been consensual. On the other hand, maybe they really were in love and got carried away and weren’t aware that even one time can actually result in pregnancy. Or maybe they were fully conscious of the ramifications of their decision and decided to have an intimate relationship anyway. My point? Let’s not judge them and look at this case for what it is: cold-blooded murder.
I agree with Nas.
You can even go further and apply the same in any area in Jordan. An act like this is gonna lead to being murdered (usually. It’s the society and I’m not saying it’s right). I’m pretty sure every girl in Jordan is aware that such a forbidden relation can get her killed! So why don’t they just avoid it…
So let me get this straight, the terrorist smadi was framed, and he was a victim, while this young girl knew what was coming..Do you see what I am saying?
I know what tempting fate is, but attaching a meaning or using an idiom doesn’t make an argument more valid. To believe that premeditated murder is some how related to fate doesn’t make the crime more palable, if you will. As a matter of fact I think that such representation of an awful crime as unavoidable will lead to making it more accpetable..Or even make it part of the culture..
as a matte of fact you have awartany as an example, read the last statment of his last comment:
“Iâ€™m pretty sure every girl in Jordan is aware that such a forbidden relation can get her killed! So why donâ€™t they just avoid itâ€¦”
@Mohanned: It is an awful crime, it is wrong, it is unacceptable and I don’t see it as a justified crime or is just a matter of fate. It is wrong. But, on the other side, one should consider the circumstances he\she is living within. I’m not saying those girls deserve to be killed, I’m just wishing they had avoided it… I feel sympathy for them…
not really no. smadi deserves to go to prison even if he was, as i believe to be, part of an operation that was orchestrated primarily by the FBI and their post-911 methods that attempt to maneuver through ethically gray areas. this girl did not deserve to die.
comparing an honor crime victim to a would-be terrorist is, as you put it earlier, comparing apples to oranges.
and no, i am not saying that honor crimes are unavoiadable. in fact, im saying the exact opposite. i am saying that in some cases, and this being one of them in my opinion, they can be avoided.
none of these people deserve to die. these murders are not justifiable. what i’m saying is that here you have a case of two people who did tempt fate due to the fact that they live in a certain environment whereby they are fully aware that being involved with each other in such a way has only one likely outcome: death. when you know the outcome and you still play the game, then there’s a problem with the decision that you’ve taken.
this isn’t about the unjustifable outcome. this is about the choice they made despite that outcome. that’s my problem here.
and i’m not trying to stereotype areas as some people are bound to criticize upon reading my opinions. but living in jordan and being exposed to the different communities in this country is to know that each is different and each is a darker shade of conservatism. each has its one variables at play and those who live in them know them very well.
so, for a boyfriend and a girlfriend living in west amman, the main problem is finding a private space to have sex, because they are still likely to keep a sexual relationship fairly private for fear of scorn from close respective social circles.
in areas like the ghor or say al-baydeh, the main problem is the fear of being seen together at all. let alone being in a relationship. let alone being in a sexual relationship. let alone finding a private space for sexual relations. let alone…
and if west amman and the ghor are too contrasting, then lets stay closer to home and define the geography by west and east amman.
for every action there is a reaction. unfortunately, in jordan, the reaction to being in a sexual relationship can sometimes (and i emphasize “sometimes” for the foreign reader) end in death for the female participant. if this reaction is known – if this consequence, this outcome is public knowledge and everyone is fully aware of it (which we know they are) – then taking that action is to put yourself in danger.
once again, this isn’t a discussion about how unjustifiable the reaction/consequence/outcome is. no one, or at least i’m not, refuting that. again, i’m saying that while this is not what we should have it is what we do have and these are on-the-ground realities.
this is not something that can be easily changed, as many seem to think, simply by the signing of a law or the wave of the King’s hand. these are deep-seeded, cultural beliefs that have been alive at the core of the citizenry for generations. people in jordan who are raised in these environments are aware of them. heck, let’s be honest, most of them accept it.
@MH: thanks for the comment. i believe my above response to mohanned is further clarification on my part.
as for judging them. again, i have to point out that i am merely commenting on the variables i, or any of us have to work with. based on what information has been provided to the public about this case vis a vis the mainstream media, i am led to believe that their decision to have a sexual relationship despite their local environment was not the best decision. i am not trying to say the victim deserves it.
at the same time, insisting that she may have been raped is to insist on speculation in an attempt to emphasize their victimization. which would be equally faulty in my opinion.
to socially comment on something as small as a news report, you deal with the variables you have. my opinion on this whole story is dependent on exactly that: the story provided.
No, I am not comparing apples to oranges..I am trying to identify a contradiction in your pattern of presenting some issues that I feel deeply about. In the smadi case, you presented him a victim, at least that is how I read it. But for the case of this girl- and I am not saying that you justified it- your arguments to me sounded like “She knew what was coming”.
The danger of that kind of thinking is in the fact that it puts us on a slippery slope. It maintains the status quo, by providing the perpetrators with some sort of rationalization for their crimes. People in Badia have sex, they do in east Amman as they do in Afghanistan. Attaching the outcome of “deviant” behavior to a location only serves to cement the rotten beliefs that provided the justification for such crimes. It will become more like “Oh we Bedouins don’t take that, we kill those who tarnish our honor”or maybe some will say: “Those west ammanies are groon”…
I didn’t expect it from YOU. That’s all.
@Mohanned: I am not, nor did I, victimize smadi. i merely presented it is a case where i personally feel a great deal of entrapment was used to take a guy who had certain beliefs and took that and turned it in to intent, matched with opportunity, weapons and the whole 9 yards.
as for this case. i’m not saying “she knew what was coming” in the sense that she could predict the future. i’m saying she (and he) were aware of the likely outcome. again, and i hate repeating myself a million times, this is neither a justification nor a rationalization of these crimes.
the attitude of painting honor crimes with one color and completely ignoring the historical and cultural elements that are alive and well within the various communities that make up Jordan is reflective of a type of ignorance that only western intellectuals who view our entire part of the world as “the other”, would dare perpetrate. these are the same people who think by visiting jabal al-nathif they’ve gotten a good sense of what the rest of jordan is like. none of these communities are samples of the other, they are each unique in their own right. so comparing afghanistan to the badia is just as faulty as comparing the badia to any other specific community in the same country.
the action will have differing reactions depending on the community. in this case, simply living in the ghor area is to know that the chances of an illegitimate sexual relationship will end with a high possibility of death.
to choose to engage in that relationship despite the horrific and unjustifiable status quo (i.e. ignoring it completely) is to put oneself in clear and present danger.
to further put this in its specific context: in this case, the boyfriend was held for his own protection. how many times have you ever read that to be the case with an honor crime that takes place in say, east amman or heck, even in the baqaa camp? usually its the story of a brother killing his sister and turning himself in, rather than hunting down her boyfriend.
in this case they are holding him because once he gets out, there’s a high chance he will be killed by the other family, and that action will likely set off a blood feud between two valley tribes.
i’m not saying let’s accept the status quo…and anyone who has read my blog for as long as you have should be well aware that i’m all for changing it.
but in the meantime, let’s be AWARE of the status quo and not ignore it just because we don’t accept it.
shutting one’s eyes to a reality they don’t accept does not change it.
they just end up walking around blindly and usually that never ends well.
OK..You ignored the second part after Afghanistan which was “Attaching the outcome of â€œdeviantâ€ behavior to a location only serves to cement the rotten beliefs that provided the justification for such crimes.”
Besides the above statements, accepting(or describing) a crime as cultural manifestation might be more suitable for research papers, but not for change agents who try to change the status quo. If you, Naseem, consider yourself a change agent, or maybe an advocate for change they, IMHO I don’t think that you should use arguments as the ones you presented above.
Fighting honor crimes would more fruitful if we stop attaching such acts to location, origins, and such..Do so only serves to maintain the beliefs that led to the crime. I also don’t like to repeat myself a million times, but I do think that by tying the honor crime to a location, a tribe, or even a religion you are only fortifying the existing beliefs. What is needed is shaming those who commit those crimes, naming them heartless criminals, killers of their own blood, domestic terrorists, and baby killers. Portraying killers as victims of ignorance, or the result of being poor,etc… keeps the crime, in a way, “more OK”.
“If you, Naseem, consider yourself a change agent, or maybe an advocate for change they, IMHO I donâ€™t think that you should use arguments as the ones you presented above.”
I’m not selling myself as anything. I’m just another guy with another opinion. that being said, if someone is interested in genuine change then approaching an issue like honor crimes by saying they are all the same, because all jordanians are the same and live under the same realities and all it takes is some legislation and then we’ll suddenly be “civilized”, is deadly, deadly thinking.
fighting honor crimes is to identify why people believe what they do, and those beliefs are inherently attached to locations, origins and local culture. you cannot separate them. in fact, they should be embraced by change agents. they are relaities. they are important variables not to be ignored.
it is not a phenomenon. it is a belief. the majority approves of it and will easily justify it for you.
you are fighting a belief system and to do so by simply putting a label on it and repackaging it is as effective as putting a rotten lung on a cigarette box in hopes it will scare a nicotine addicted smoker from smoking. might change a few minds, but the majority remains the same.
the first step is to understand that this is a belief system and that it is inherent in these communities and that each community approaches it differently. understanding that helps in tackling the issue.
i dont get why people insist that the only way to change a reality is to completely ignore it and shun it.
how can that be effective in a community where the majority are brought up to believe something to be as true and real as the sky is blue?
this is exactly what academics and international ngos do when they come to jordan. basically come in to an area, tell them that everything they know to be true is wrong, and then they leave.
your approach is similar really and my point is that these realities should not be ignored by either the people who hope to change them nor the people who have to live them.
You know, Nas, I expected better from you in this instance. The instinct to blame a woman when she’s obviously a non-virgin is very strong – and it’s not exclusive to Jordan, or Muslim society – it’s the embodiment of the misogyny that practically all of us internalize since birth. And all of us have a responsibility to fight it.
We all know that there is the “right” kind of victim – the pious, wide-eyed woman who was slaughtered and then “passed” the post-mortem virginity test. The “wrong” kind of victim is everyone else, of course. It’s bad PR for the anti-honour killing movement, right? I mean, how dare the murder victim be a human being with messy human experience. We want perfect poster girls, not “fallen women.”
Your analogy is demeaning to the victim and her child. It makes me really sad.
You once told me that it’s not the destination that matters wherein faith is concerned, but the journey. That you believe that people can and should better themselves – which is something I believe in too, even if I don’t believe in the concept of religious society – and find that this murder and some of the reactions to it only further undermine the idea that religious society is even possible. Still, I was pretty inspired by your words at the time.
Well, why don’t you think about what you wrote me, when you consider this woman, who isn’t going to get to strive toward anything on this Earth. And then think about whether or not it’s clever and appropriate to speak about her like you did here.
We’re all corporeal beings on this earth, not wafting spirits. We all inhabit bodies and we all do things with our bodies – and take risks. If you think you’re so much cleverer than this girl, who put herself in “clear and present danger,” think again. None of us are perfect. Except some of us get slaughtered for our perceived imperfections, and others get to pontificate about the slaughter on blogs.
@Natalia: sigh. please take it easy. we’re just having a discussion here.
i’m not blaming the woman in this case or any other case. these are all victims. the reaction itself, the crime committed, it’s all wrong to begin with. i’m not refuting that. no one is arguing the conclusion.
and im not differentiating between honor crime victims. the outcomes for either the “good” or “fallen” women are the same. they die. my argument is made towards this specific case. you guys insist on zooming out until everything is just one big blur and we’re all happy shiny people. the truth is, there are different variables and realities at play and nothing will ever get done unless we begin to understand and accept that.
this isn’t about being a wafting spirit, and taking risks. heck, you get in a car and you take a risk. you get on a plane, you take a risk.
but risks are manageable, no? there are ways to minimize risks, no? and to maximize them as well.
putting yourself in harm’s way it to expect harm to come your way. that’s the premise here.
forget about sex. think about speech. there are things journalists will say to someone they’re talking to in amman that they wouldn’t say in say, al bayda region or in ma3an. the consequences differ. saying one thing in one area might get you a negative verbal reaction, the same thing being said in another area can get you beaten to a pulp.
Going back to my previous comment and assuming this scenario was hypothetical, then I am with Nas in saying that this hypothetical girl’s decision to be with her boyfriend was a risky one – and i think that is the only point Nas is making (albeit in what i think was an insensitive manner ESPECIALLY given that unfortunately this is not a hypothetical scenario). But I think that all nas is saying is that the decision itself was risky, no? I think we all agree about everything else.
Hey, excellent example. Remember that plane crash over Germany a few years ago? The one that killed a bunch of children and was 100% preventable? The one that resulted from the gross negligence and total lack of professionalism on part of Skyguide – the air traffic control company?
I seriously doubt that anyone on this site, least of all you, would be going “well, those children were taking a risk boarding that aircraft, remember that!” or using a cheap and demeaning analogy to try to rationalize such an incident.
Let’s face it – victims of patriarchal violence are treated differently by us. This is a symptom that we all share, no matter what the particulars of a given situation.
Nothing is one big blur – because every life matters. Unfortunately though, the minute sex is mentioned, we all go, “she should have known better.” Oh yeah? Really? And you always stay on the straight and narrow? Some humility, please, ya’ll.
Your privilege as both a MALE member of society and as someone from an infinitely more enlightened background affords you the opportunity to pass judgment from the comparable safety of your existence, and I wish you’d see that. Like I said: we’re all human beings, but some of us get murdered for perceived indiscretions and others do not. So “risk” is really a red herring here.
It’s like owning a very nice car, and then opining that the people who got killed in the cheap POS on the highway were taking “a risk” by driving around while poor.
So your message to those who will have sex in “high risk” areas is: “take extreme precautions, or avoid having sex”..And you consider this a better “solution” than shaming the killers?
“fighting honor crimes is to identify why people believe what they do, and those beliefs are inherently attached to locations, origins and local culture. you cannot separate them. in fact, they should be embraced by change agents. they are relaities. they are important variables not to be ignored. ”
Agreed, BUT, when change is about saving lifes, some variable take the back seat. We live in a state that spends a large portion of its GDP on security, yet we fail to protect women. We live in a state where a queen goes abroad talking about muslim stereotypes and women’s rights while women in her society get killed and the killers are considered heroes. See the disconnect..
Any human being shouldn’t embrace killing for honor. And let us say you embraced it? How would that be more useful than say shaming them and sentencing them to death?
“it is not a phenomenon. it is a belief. the majority approves of it and will easily justify it for you.”
But that doesn’t make it right or more acceptable. It also doens’t mean that we should treat it as such.
“it is as effective as putting a rotten lung on a cigarette box in hopes it will scare a nicotine addicted smoker from smoking. might change a few minds, but the majority remains the same.”
See here you go again. Smoking leads to lung cancer, but that is something that will happen in the future. It is the smoker who takes the risk. Killing your daughter or sister is not an addiction, and it is not something happens in the future.
But then again, lets take your approach and embrace the “reality” and the “culture”. How will that prevent honor crimes? or make them less justifiable.
“i dont get why people insist that the only way to change a reality is to completely ignore it and shun it. ”
Who is saying that? IF REALITY is about TAKING someone’s life, then embracing it means more lifes lost.
That is such a heinous thing to say! how can you blame that girl for her and her son’s violent murder? That is the most warped thing I have read in a VERY long time! ( yet all too common).
Hey all, I am happy to read the discussion and the different views so here’s mine:
1)I see how the faisali wi7dat comment can be controversial, but I think thatâ€™s only because it triggers the accountability issue so letâ€™s get past what words were used because its alot bigger than word-choice.
2)The lack of sex education issue is major. We do not know if the girl had any knowledge about protection, if she did I can bet my life that if she even realized she was pregnant and wanted a way out to protect her from her own family she either would not have known where to go, or knew where to turn to and realized its worse and opted to postpone her doom. I have heard stories that the so called â€˜safe-houseâ€™ for women is actually very similar to jail and the families can convince those in the shelter that they have resolved the issues with the women and later get their revenge.
3) As much as we go on and on about west Amman and those in Ghor might react differently, bottom line is its view as tainting the name of the family and people go to extreme measures to combat the situation. Maybe those in west Amman would send the woman abroad and cover the story up but those who do not have the luxury, have the luxury of the law on their side for the sake of honour. This is the only thing that will solve the problem from its roots.
4) Just like any conservative society, things that happen under the table are alot more amplified. Point being, conservative societies only feed rebellious and irresponsible behaviour. What about the gay communities in the gulf? Whatever happened between this young couple is beside the point, it happened!
5) The man in question is being protected for his own safety while the woman is turning in her grave with 25 stab wounds making her and her baby bleed to death. Safety is a luxury woman do not have in this case. The father must be charged for 2 murders and not one, but due to his confidence in the â€˜justiceâ€™ system and wasta…etc… maybe he will get a few months in prison, a small price to pay for honour. This is truly disgusting and I agree that before we start promoting ourselves as giving woman rights, we must hold murderers accountable, itâ€™s the only way to move forward.
I think a lot of people are missing the “risk” point. The way I see it is purely statistical – i.e. if a girl has premerital sex, history tells us that there is a high probability that she will be brutally murdered. So it is a fact that in the decision to engage in premerital sex, she took a risk. This is from a purely non-judgemental, purely objective stand point. It is a fact.
This is the only point that I think other commenters are not seeing. Otherwise I agree with those before me.
Oh, SF, I get that. And if you go outside, there’s a risk you might get run over by some idiot joy-riding in his parents SUV. Except when you die, I seriously doubt that we’d be discussing the fact that “well, gee, SF did take that risk by going outside, you know, we gotta cop to that, guys…”
Ugh. The sexism. It burns.
They are all in the wrong, the girl, boyfriend, uncle and father. The only one who is innocent is the unborn child!
over ‘n’ out
Yazan Al-Majali said: “They are all in the wrong, the girl, boyfriend, uncle and father. The only one who is innocent is the unborn child!”
How & why are the girl & her boyfriend in the wrong? For being human? For falling in love/in lust? For pursuing pleasure & connection? For violating some vengeful God’s code/some vengeful tribal code/some vengeful patriarchal father’s code?
Were they harming anyone? Who & what would have been harmed if the girl – & her baby – had not been viciously robbed of their lives?
Enough. The only ones who are in the wrong here are the ones who viciously murdered a person they supposedly loved. They should get their sorry asses thrown into prison for a loooong looong time – not for vengeance, but for the protection of society: they are the ones who are a menace to others.
Yes, one has to work on changing mentalities but that can take a long time. Laws also have to be changed to send the message that human life is not cheap, disposable, and that without respect for an individual & her autonomy, you don’t have a society worthy of respect.
Natelie – absolutely nothing sexist about what i said OR the fact that i said it. But I guess i realise another aspect where I differ with what you’re saying. I just think that deciding to walk is not the same as someone deciding to be with their partner. One invloves a trivial day to day activity with a low chance of bad consequences; the other involves a decision to engage in a taboo activity to satisfy an urge with a high chance bad consequences. Now once that decision has been made and the news is out (and the family is seeing red) – there must be a way to pretect the girl. Now if unfortunately she loses her life, whoever murdered her should face the strongest punishment…. Please help me see how this view is sexist.
SF, my name is not Natalie, and I’m not calling you sexist. I am, however, saying that this issue is being discussed from an extremely privileged point of view. And personally, I don’t think that big of a difference between being outside and having sex with someone. These are natural human activities we’re talking about, whether we claim they’re wrong or right is another matter entirely. As I said upthread – some people can get away with having all sorts of experiences and live to tell the tale, and others do not. Why? Because of the power of sexism, and the power of social class.
Natalia – Sorry about misreading your name. Anyway, I actually consider your argument coming from a privileged, vantage point of view. This is the local culture and there IS a big difference between the two. Agree with you that people should be living to tell tales and I am with you that people should experience their lives without being threatened in any way, shape or form. But this is too idealistic of a world. Sexism and social class will always be there. The world is a dangerous place and we need to understand that and act responsibly. Anyway. I think i said what i have about this subject.
“or using a cheap and demeaning analogy to try to rationalize such an incident. ”
…i was actually using those examples because i felt you were saying that all of life is a risk and i was responding to that by pointing that yes, while many things in life are risks, there are things that we do to take precautions because we favor survival above everything else. your response to SF’s comment is incorrect in my opinion and that’s what I was making reference to. risks are based on choices, both of which are manageable and determinable. so you saying that someone is taking a risk by walking outside and getting hit by a car is akin to deciding to have sex in a community where every one of your neighbors knows every little detail about your life, a community that is likely to kill you over honor…
“Your privilege as both a MALE member of society and as someone from an infinitely more enlightened background affords you the opportunity to pass judgment from the comparable safety of your existence, and I wish youâ€™d see that. Like I said: weâ€™re all human beings, but some of us get murdered for perceived indiscretions and others do not. So â€œriskâ€ is really a red herring here.”
I can acknowledge that my position allows me certain privlages not available to others, and I thank God for that. However, this does not mean that my background should make my opinion any less worthy. If anything, the fact that I understand the community this girl comes from and it is a community that I frequently interact with (it is technically my second home in Jordan), should be credited here.
People make decisions based on variables. That’s how decision-making works. Why is it that we cannot acknowledge the fact that these two people made a wrong decision given the one major determining variable that is their environment, while simultaneously rebuking and denouncing the reaction to their decision that is this honor crime.
Why do they have to be mutually exclusive?
Why is it that when it comes to this specific crime, honor crimes, we should focus wholly and completely on the end result while ignoring everything that precedes it? What other crime gets the same treatment?
Why is it wrong to say: this crime is terrible but why couldn’t these two people be more cautious? why couldn’t they find a way to avoid the situation if they knew the dire consequences of it? etc.
“So your message to those who will have sex in â€œhigh riskâ€ areas is: â€œtake extreme precautions, or avoid having sexâ€..And you consider this a better â€œsolutionâ€ than shaming the killers?”
I know this is a rhetorical question designed to ridicule my answer as being in the wrong, but the truth is, the honest answer to this question is yes. If you think shame is the tool needed to “solve” honor killings in jordan then i would be forced to say you must be completely disconnected with the mainstream thinking of the average jordanian. this is a country where the entire judicial system, the entire body of laws that govern all of us, can be, and are, suspended whenever two tribes are at each others’ throats. in a country where the rule of law is not respected by everyone, you think shame is going to work? this is the same thought process that lead us to believe by fining the average jordanian 100jds for speeding and showing a bunch of shaming commercials on tv, the problem of road accidents would be reduced.
and you know what, let me drop all the comparisons, analogies and metaphors, in order to clear this discussion from any debate revolving around semantics.
the truth is, honor crimes is a unique crime. it is not considered to be a crime by most jordanians. it is accepted and it is practiced. you’re not combating speeding cars, which everyone knows its wrong, or even smoking, which everyone knows will kill you. you are combating a belief. a belief that people are willing to kill for, to go to jail for and to die for. and when they do leave their jail cell, their welcomed as heroes in their community.
it’s an inherent cultural belief. simple as that. shaming people out that belief will not work.
if you ask me for what will, i really dont have that answer and much wiser people have tried. education is probably helpful and so would be amending the justice system, but knowing these communities, it is difficult to imagine a stronger antidote to the poison that is an honor crime than religion. this might sound absurd to the more liberally-inclined, but it is nevertheless the strongest weapons (when used right) to convince conservative masses, especially in Jordan.
It is totally, 100% wrong. Because you’re talking about human beings who made a decision that millions of other people make every day, but the only reason there was bloody violence was due to their social position. You’re re-victimizing the victims. It’s no different than claiming that a woman must have “asked” to be raped. Of course, what they did was risky. No way they should be blamed for it though. No. Just no.
Imagine if I went – “O HAI you guys! What’s up? Now, see, my father is totally cool with me doing whatever it is that I want, as long as I’m happy. He’s cool when I have boyfriends, he’s cool when I don’t. I have the freedom to do as I please – be celibate? OK. Be very much not celibate? OK. But you, on the other hand, look at YOU. You poor, down-trodden, pathetic little people. You wanted something so badly, and were willing to risk your lives for it, and one of ya’ll was murdered alongside your unborn child. Don’t you have any BRAINS? What were you THINKING? You know that choice and humanity is only for the privileged.”
It’s good that you thank God for your privilege, Nas. Remember to use it for good, though.
risks are based on choices, both of which are manageable and determinable.
That is a simplistic view of human nature you’ve got there, darlin’.
I heart you, but come on.
I didn’t present shaming as the only solution, it is a small part of the solution. Maybe we should start by asking the leadership to have some courage, not a lot, just a little bit of courage.
It is accepted, but not practiced by all. I am 100% sure that more than 20 women have sex outside marriage, yet 20 or so are killed. Accepting the “Killing” is not the same as killing. Most people won’t kill their female family members if they discover that they were engaged in some sort of relationship be it sexual or casual or whatever.. My theory is that people “accept” such crimes in order to overcome dissonance. It is the way they “validate” and maintain their socially defined roles. I had some heated discussions with some of my friends about honor crimes..The overhwelming majority accept and applaud the killer, but when I ask them if it was their mother or sister or daughter will they do the same? Many refuse to answer while others say that this will never happen..none of them said I will kill her..
So IMHO i do think that shaming works, and I aslo think that people act based on their socially defined roles.
Even though I’m not religious, I would be for the appeal to one’s religion in order to combat this mindset. Whatever would help prevent the loss of another innocent life. I know that this tactic was being used when I first came to Jordan about 14 years ago, but I’m not sure if it has been used consistently over the years. If it was, it doesn’t seem to have helped much.
Maybe sometimes the only solution is enacting & enforcing laws. That’s what it took to integrate African Americans in the US & elevate their status to citizens equal to all other citizens. There is still deeply ingrained racism in some quarters of the US, but the legal system no longer protects the perpetrators of hate crimes. The system may fail sometimes, but the strides made in those civil rights in just a few decades is remarkable.
Why wouldn’t similar steps work for us here? Are Arab sexists more intransigent than American racists?
damn a sword? thats cold as ice
Sesame – Yes they are all in the wrong. The couple are in the wrong because they were having sex without thinking of the consequences. Furthermore they were wrong for not using protection, if you are taking the risk of having sex with someone and your not married to them, the firt thing to do is to try to protect youself . I dont need to explain why the father and his brother are also in the wrong.
Honor crimes in the arab world, specially in Jordan is more than a cultural issue. the ugly crime has political sides as well, this makes this phenomena hard to be be erased from the society, and makes it harder on the activists like you people.
Jordan, and other countries in the middle easet are rolled by tribes and conservative men and laws, that the King of Jordan for example may componsate issues like women rights in retairn for the support for his thrown. as long as the intilectuals, secular, modern ( you name it) is not allowed in the country, this issue will continue and will never stope. the Jordan Monarch is based on the social retardation of the comuntiy and will not servive a cultural revolution or change (if you like). honor crimes will continue and the Goveronment of Jordan ( General intellegence department) will never fight this issue seriously.