Friday, June 23, 2006

Honor Killing and Broken Girls

In the movie Brokeback Mountain, we learn from early on, that when Ennis Del Mar, the character played by Heath Ledger, was a small child, his father made him and his older brother watch the lynching of one half of a gay couple. This image traumatizes him through his life, and is a leading factor in making him viscerally unable to commit himself to Jack Twist, the character played by Jake Gyllenhaal. In essence, it helps stunt his natural emotional growth.

How utterly sad, then, to discover another case of this practice of forcing children to watch the murder of another human being in order to instill the parent's morality in them at so base and instinctual a level, it will be a formative factor for years. But this time, the story is not a fictional one, but rather occurred to a young woman from the Moslem community of Britain while she was visiting the family home in Pakistan.

Samaira Nazir wanted to marry the man she was in love with, an Afghan from another caste than her own, as she felt was her right, after being raised and educated in Britain. Her parents and her brother did not want her to do this. When she refused to marry the men they suggested as candidates for her instead, they cut her throat as she fought them.

She received 18 stab wounds and three cuts to her throat.

All this is horrible enough, though far, seemingly, from uncommon. But Samaira's brother, her chief executioner, had his two little girls, aged two and four, in the room during the murder, for them to learn from it about their future life of submission to his rule. They were so close to the murder, they were blood spattered, mere feet away from it as it was taking place.

So not only did Azhar Nazir succeed at murdering his sister, he scarred his daughters for life in ways that will take them years to understand, let alone heal. Assuming they ever have enough freedom to question any of this.


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