DH sat shocked and appalled early this morning, reading the latest news story out of Canada.
Our two teenaged kids joined us in the living room, eating their breakfast before the school day. The topic of our morning discussion at 5:30am? The murder of a 16-year-old girl by the hands of her father and brother.
The 16-year-old daughter of a family who immigrated to Canada from Pakistan, murdered by her family. Why? Because “she wanted to dress in Western clothes and have the same freedoms as the other girls in her high school”. By doing so, her father felt disgraced and insulted. So early one morning her brother picked her up from the school bus-stop, brought her back home and then proceeded to strangle her to death just as he and the father had planned, days earlier.
Having read some of the 650 comments on the news article so far, DH’s take on it appears much the same as it is for many Canadians. How can we allow these people to come live in our country and practice the traditions of their culture?
My opinion is somewhat different.
How can we allow this to happen to anyone in the world, regardless of whether it takes place on Canadian soil or the soil in Pakistan, or anywhere else?
My opinion is probably influenced by the book I happen to be reading at the moment, called Half the Sky. Reading through the enormity of abuses carried out against women in most of the developing world dims my sense of loss for the plight of ‘just’ one. Knowing however, that ‘one’ is more than there ever ought to be.
I know dear husband is thinking of the relationship between himself and that of his soon-to-be 16-year-old daughter sitting opposite him on the couch, and is trying to fathom how any father could do such a thing.
I don’t get it either. Much as I try to wrap my head around some of the cultural or religious ‘traditions’ in this world I just can’t understand how people cannot deem such actions to be immoral. To purposefully plan and kill another human being let alone your own child, out of some sense of having lost of your own dignity through their actions.
What bothers DH about the story as well, is how this family came to Canada as refugees. Then, one by one more of the family entered. All living in the same house. All contributing very little to the society in which they were welcomed. All a witness to what happened. They were in the home when this atrocity took place.
He feels they all should be shipped out of the country and back to where they come from if they cannot act in the manner in which Canadians and Canadian laws expect them to. Why should taxpayers support them?
I can understand how frustrating it is to feel like you’re supporting something or someone that goes totally against your beliefs. So, yes, we can ship them out and not allow them access to our society. But what then?
Somehow, someway we have to educate and persuade people that the abuse and killing of others is wrong. That treating women as property is wrong. That the idea of half the population of the planet having little to no value is wrong.
That’s not going to happen if we ship them out and tell them to ‘go back home’. Or turn a blind eye to the thousands of similar killings that take place all the time, just because they aren’t happening in our own back yard.
I remember when this particularly story broke. There were only a few sketchy details being provided, though immediately I said “I bet it was an honor killing”. Sure enough within a couple of hours that proved to be right.
To make this out to be a Muslim or Islamic problem as many are doing, only adds insult. It is far more wide-reaching across continents and cultures, so let’s not get into the whole Muslim vs. Christian argument on this one.
I feel a little ashamed now as dear husband was trying to make a point and being my usual opinionated self, kept trying to thrust mine in there. Not only toss it in the mix, but have it rise to the top of the conversation, over and above the point he was trying to make. They are both valid.
I just think we need to look a little further than our own backyard and remember all those who suffer in this world due to these kinds of belief systems. Not to think that by removing one person, one family, one culture, one religion, we solve the problem. Maybe we don’t see it regularly, in our community, in our news, but it’s still out there. We just don’t want to think about it until it’s moved in a little too ‘up close and personal’ for our own comfort level.