Wednesday, January 9

Honor Killings: The Shame Behind the Oxymoron

I saw a very alarming post on Cao's Blog that I'd like to share with you here. This is something which takes place on a regular basis in Egypt, that we have come to accept it as a matter of fact. The headline is "Honor Killings" (What a stupid name! How can crime and honor both meet in the same term?). Although the subject itself is not new to us in any way, yet this time we are allowed to see the crime from a different perspective.. the perspective of the West, of those who suddenly wake up one morning to learn about this crime through their local newspapers.

The Crime:

An Egyptian cabdriver, who lives in the United States and is married to an American ( Christian) woman, has shot his two teenage daughters when he found out that each of them has got a boyfriend.

Let's check out what was written about this crime on The Dallas Morning News:

Sarah and Amina Yaser Said looked luminescent in their pink dresses, a pink flower in each girl's hair. One might have thought the sisters were sleeping were it not for the matching pink-lined coffins that held them.

Their Christian funeral service Saturday – followed by a Muslim service later in the day – served as a reminder of the promise their short lives held and the needless tragedy of their deaths. Police believe they were killed by their father, a 50-year-old cabdriver.
And the police presence was a reminder that the girls' Egyptian-born father, Yaser Abdel Said, is still on the run.

Amina, 18, and Sarah, 17, who both attended Lewisville High School, were found shot to death in a taxi at an Irving motel Tuesday night.

The girls’ great Aunt spoke with journalists, relaying that Mr. Said had been abusing them for two years, and their mother left with the girls after he found out they had boyfriends and threatened to kill them. She said, “This was an honor killing,” a practice in which a man kills a female relative who he believes has somehow shamed the family.

The girls were buried in a muslim cemetery, because in Islam, the children inherit their religion from their father.

And here's Cao's comment on this crime:

Of course, two years is a very short time. In some countries, the child abuse starts from when they’re very young, like this little girl in Moracco. Even their holy men get into the act. How dare she step on the prayer rug!

Cao ends her post concluding: "Why should anyone object? It’s their religion."

And her reply to my request, asking for permission to publish this material over here was:

"Yes, go ahead, Fantasia. Some say he’s hiding in the neighborhood, but I am more inclined to believe he went back to Egypt where this is acceptable."

Now, please let's quit the crap for a moment and not say these are individual practices that nobody approves of. And don't tell me the story of the four witnesses, cause this rule has never been relied on in real life. Let's talk facts.

Honor killings are a fact that we all hear about without being least alarmed. It is not religion, but some people strongly relate it to religion. There is no stronger proof than the fact that only Muslim countries witness this kind of crimes.

Egyptiana had written about this issue earlier, and she rightly entitled her post "They Kill Women in Egypt". And you will find much of what I am going to say here to be written in my comment on her post.

Violence against women in Egypt has been on the rise recently due to many social, economical and cultural factors. Yet those factors can never act as a justification for such crimes. Honor killings seem to be practiced without minimal hesitation, and are in fact considered to be glorious acts in some cases.

The murderer, who kills a female relative, is raised to a heroic level by his community. This actually increases the number of totally innocent female victims, because the men in their families do not really care much about finding out the truth. They instantly take any suspicious signs or casual talks running in the neighborhood as a chance to become heroes. Those are usually very marginalized people, who would happily do anything, including murder, to find a meaning for their lives.

The result: 65% of victims of honor killings were found to be virgins according to autopsy reports. Now, you would expect a country which suffers from a moral crisis like that to do its best in fighting against those crimes and make sure not to encourage this kind of twisted criminal thinking. However, the damn miserable crisis in the case of Egypt is that our laws treat honor killings as if they were justified.. even if the judge presiding over a certain trial is 100% sure that the killer had other motives behind the murder.. or that "rumors" related to the victim's conduct in this case have only served as a golden chance, or excuse to perform the act and escape punishment.

Criminals found guilty in those cases won't be executed!!.. Because there is an article in the Egyptian law which gives "honor killings" a different status in deciding penalty for murder charges! Article 237 of the Egyptian Penal Code reads “Whoever surprises his wife in the act of adultery and kills her on the spot together with her adulterer-partner shall be punished with detention instead of the penalties prescribed in articles 234 [permanent or temporary hard labor] and 236 [hard labor or imprisonment for a period of three to seven years]. While Article 17 of the Egyptian Penal code allows judges to decrease the sentences given in the case of murder when they decide that the condition of the murderer requires so. Such reductions reach as little as six months that could also be spent during the trial. Therefore the murderer can escape being imprisoned and walks free.

Which means that basically any murderer whose victim happened to be a female, can plead that it was an honor killing to be able to escape execution. And this happens a lot. There was even a case where the murder was committed for theft (and it was very clear from investigations), yet because the murderer was a distant relative of the victim, his lawyer suggested that he claims it was an honor killing in order to receive a better sentence. This is the real disgrace in my point of view. The law is encouraging people to go about killing females in pursuit of glory. And the press is just disgusting in the way it covers those crimes. The journalists use their imagination to attract readers at the expense of social and legal justice. They make the victim turn into a whore who destroyed her family, being sure that she can never come back to defend herself.

A true example from court cases: *
In the court case No. 831 of 1998 in Qena, a girl's father and brother killed her. She was mentally retarded and suffered from psychological disorders. She used to go out of the house without permission. She also used to spoil the food when cooking and ruin some of the household equipment. Her father and her brother could not tolerate her any longer. After her mother's death, they both pushed her to far away place so that nobody could see them or hear her voice. They both strangled her with a red shawl she was wearing; they also hit her hard on her back and tummy with a stick and left her dead.
The court found out that there was no proof that the girl's chastity was in question. Both the father and the brother said that they killed her because of their deep concern and fear that she might get involved with a stranger due to her frequent trips outside the house. In spite of the fact that the court was sure that the two men had committed murder of first degree, yet the judge used article 17 of the Penal Code and gave the father a verdict of imprisonment for ten years only.

Now, Let's have a look at statistics which reveal horrible facts about honor killings in Egypt (1998-2001):
Murder of a female for being suspected 79%
Murder of a female because of adultery 9%
Murder of a female to hide incest 6%
Murder for other reasons 6%
Degree of relationship between the victims and the murderer:
Husband killing the wife 41%
Father killing the daughter 34%
Brother killing the sister 18%
A man killing his female relative 7%

I believe this says it all.. I want us for just once to be able to look our problems in the face and see the damage caused by absence of justice. What remains is to be brave enough to put an end to that. Whatever your motive might be.. whether it be human rights, sympathy, concern for Egypt's image, concern for the deformed image of Islam, or rejection of violence.. all motives in the end will lead to one way: Honor killings must be treated as any other murder crimes, without any discrimination or justification.
*Information copied from an expert paper prepared by Fatma Khafagy, The Association of Legal Aid for Women


Amre El-Abyad said...

Dear Fantasia,

You have got a reporter's instinct. I agree with your call for doing something about it.

The Koaran doesn't make any diffrence between female and male adultry! And the old punishment of stoning is to be carried out on both the man and the woman. Thus, Under the islamic rule to which the propenets of honour killings stick, a sister should shoot her brother if he gets a girlfriend!

Do you know that coptic families in upper Egypt kill their daughters when they commit adultry!.....It is more about our culture- eastern christians and Muslims alike!

raaasa said...

Another outstanding and well-needed effort, Fanta. Thank you for that.

I'd like to be able to tell you that I am shocked, but sadly, I am not because these stories are all too common.

I am, however, deeply saddened by the facts, and even more so when I consider all the necessary factors that enable this event and events like it.

In my flat in Alex, I could hear my neighbour upstairs being beaten regularily by her husband. Of course, I was told not to meddle in other people's business.

(On the other hand, I should make sure that my collarbones are covered or that I don't come home late etc. etc. because of what the neighbours would think.)

This is just one very little example of many many possible ones that enable this type of travesty.

Ultimately, it is the law that tells people what is and is not acceptable. If the law justifies men to treat their women and children--as in the case of child-kidnapping, which I hope you will also tackle at some point-- as chattel, men will continue to believe that it is their right, nevermind their right BUT THEIR DUTY AS MEN, to perpetrate these crimes.

I have a lot to say about all this, but, honestly, at the moment, I am just much too sad with all this.

raaasa said...

Dear Fanta,

I was poking around the internet to find out more about this horror in Dallas and came across an American blog with a set of suggestions of how the U.S. should interact with middle-eastern nations. Interesting thoughts there. I thought this would be of interest to you. What do you think?

MerMaid said...

dear Fantasia:
This Post reminded me of the old arab movie ( Doaa El Karawaan)when Hanady's uncle killed her PRETENDING that this is Honor Killing.i will never forget how cruel was he and how oppressive.
The whole concept is baseless in Islam,as we were never told to kill two people suspected to commit adultery,as this incident itself(adultery)has its own conditions and rules to judge it as adultery.
Not every two persons should be killed if they were suspected,so we will have the whole community murdered.
This Father wo had killed his two daughters,he would have better told them that (Oh,daughters,,i dont like that)and discuss with them instead of killing them and committing murder.
How can someone kill another one?
HOw can a father kills his daughters?
which Honor here??
Yes This whole concept should be Uprooted from this society.
especially Upper Egypt as its most common there.

Thanks Fantasia.

Hassan El Helali said...

ويستمر مسلسل الحثالة المهاجرة من بلاد الجهل والتخلف والغباء وانتقالهم إلي بلاد العلم والحرية والنور حاملين معهم أفكاراً عفنة وعادات وسخة في عقولهم المتحجرة من عصورهم الحجرية مما يعتقدونه هوية وأصول فكرية ودينية لا غني عنها... فبئس ما يعتقدون

هو يشعر بالشرف وباقي العالم (المتحضر) يشعر بالقرف

مروة الزارع said...

I dont know why I tell you
I in a state of fragmentation
I convinced if betrayed women
They deserve killing
Could have also committed crimes
Under the name of honour
I dont know the truth, my dear, well
Search will be in the Koran and I will return


I wish to visit me and participate in the new topic

I need you view

egy anatomist said...

my question is: why is there a relationship between "honor" and "women"?

A man in our societies, who may not in love with his woman, could kill her if he suspected her behavior.

he doesnt kill her out of love. he kills her cuz he thinks that he will be the mock of his people if he didnt.

bardo why?

cuz there is an underlying assumption that the woman who betrayes her man is a victim of his sexual impotence.

so, the betrayed or even the suspicious man kills her wife to implicitly declare: my great potency was not sufficient for this bitch and she went searching for others.

but the abovle analysis doesnt really apply on these cases when the victim is a sister or mother or cousin.

why a man kills her sister or daughter if she proved or suspected 2 be perverted?

I think because he will be, indirectly, accused of sexual impotency also.


the man who cant govern his "hareem" - "the inferior weak objetcs" is a man whose manhood is in doubt.

he cant be imagined as a sexually strong man. he cant be looked at as the figure of manhood. how this semi-man could please a woman while he cant even control his whores at the streets? again, we will be back 2 the same point. over-sexualizing everything in the east. arabic east in particular. life is sex here.


why it is too bad for a man 2 be looked at as impotent?

cuz in these historically fertile
societies which depend on abundance in population and plenty of kids in order to work in the land and farming and be able 2 survive, in these societies people are soo keen of having kids. alot of kids. this means life. kids mean life. kids come through sex. sex is life for them.

the man who cant do sex is a burden. they dont think if he is a patient or wtever. he is a burden. he is a threat. he is a disaster. he is a bad omen. he must be socially assasinated.

anyhow.. this chain could continue till we reach the beginning of life. for our societies still living in these early phases of development.

Bravo Fanta.. u r wonderful.. god bless u dear :)


Amre El-Abyad said...

@ Egy anatomists,

I think your point makes sense, however I don't think it is the only factor. Part of it goes as well to the Arab chivalrious traditions, where it was big shame to have the women of clan captured by the enemy and used for sex. Marriage with the consent of the tribe( the parents in our modern society) was a proof of how powerful and brave the boys were good at defending the tribe so that noone ever could lay a hand on the women by force.

We also have got a racist factor at hand, since Arabs are among the most racist people on earth. Therefore, it is a big a shame to have an Arab woman touched by a foreigner.
Tribe has been reduced to familly over time- while Islam has fused with nationalism and become an indespensible part of Arab identity. It is worth mentioning, that eastern orthodox( not Roamn orthdox in Russia and greece) are regarded by catholics and Protestants to be more of Muslims than Christians!!!

raaasa said...

Interesting insights here. I am confused with your final comment though. Could you please clarify your meaning? Do you mean that Eastern Orthodox, as in Russia--possibly Eastern Europe--and Greece, are regarded by Roman Catholics and Protestants to be more Muslims than Christians? I was under the impression that Copts were also under the heading of Eastern Orthodox, so are you including them in this category too? And, where did you find this information or how do you know this?

Amre El-Abyad said...


there are are significant doctrinal differences between Roman orthodox in Russia, Greece and Serbia on the one side and the eastern churches like the coptic one, mainly in Egypt, Ethiopia and less significantly in Syria and Palestine. Or the Assyrian church in Iraq and Lebanon and Syria.

All those churches are considered very strange among wester churches, because of their unitarian approach . Some authors consdier the unitarian approach to be an eastern trend, and find the eastern churches, including the coptic one, closer to Islam than christianity. At a popular level ,however, christians- especially Russians and eastern Europeans consider those churches to be more like mosques( I learned that from christian friends)

Fantasia said...

dear amre,
thanks for allowing me to see a hidden side of me. mmmmmmm.. reporter's instinct?.. i guess i should experiment more with that and see where it leads me.
i believe honor killings are more of a patriarchal cultural thing in the east. that explains its spread among christians in upper egypt. the idea of ownership that defines the relatinship between males and females in a family, encourage men to use violence against women. and they may even decide to end the lives of those women for a number of reasons.
what i don't understand about honor killings though, is the murderer's rashness in carrying out his sentence of execution. both the murderer and the victim are scandalized after the crime is committed. thus, for example, killing a girl depending on mere suspicions, will dishonor the whole family, whether she be guilty or innocent. what kind of honor is that?

Fantasia said...

dearest raaasa,
so sorry to cause you to feel all this sadness. i know it is just devastating and heart breaking to hear about these crimes in the 21st century.
what you said about you egyptian neighbors, the curfew, the back talks... are a few examples of the daily stuff that all females here are forced to live with. hopefully, you are currently relieved of those pressures for now.. yet, the majority of other girl never had the chance to enjoy a short break away from that.
this is one reason why i always tell myself that i gotta be understanding when girls themselves stand against their rights. they've become programed in a way. if you press their reset button, they might not be able to refunction at all. and i think this is a common fear that women here tend to hide behind religious claims, or talks about traditions, customs, the oriental value system...etc
i'd like to thank you for the topic you suggested.. actually, child kidnapping is big worldwide. and i happened to bear witness to one of those cases.
ahh.. seems that talking about women rights is endless. let the people who used to blame me for having a monothematic blog get a grip!
great points, raaasa. hope you'd write more when you feel better.

Fantasia said...

dear raaasa,
so thankful for providing this link. i was hoping for a long time to find the west (especially USA) at last being able to come up with realistic strategies in the middle east. this guy's recommendations nailed some of the most vital issues at hand.
i believe that the US trusts its knowledge of the middle east too much, that they tend to take it for granted that know what is best for us more than we do. this caused them to pay (and they will be paying for quite a long time ahead) a huge price.
finally, there is a someone who tells them that they ain't doing any good. democracy is not a periority in today's middle east AT ALL.. there are much more demanding issues at hand. there are problems in the foundations of the existence of a civil state in the middle east. there is ignorance and extreme poverty. there are real challenges that hinder development. there is religious extremism. there is social injustice. there is violence and sectarianism.
how can we jump all these issues to get into the western train of democracy?? it doesn't make sense at all.
the US (especially Bush's administration) has been focusing on increasing pressures on the egyptian regime in order to force egypt to make the leap towards democracy, while totally disregarding the real problems that are threatening the very presence of this regime. this could not realize that their pressure is only making things worse for them and us. i don't know why they were insisting on following this WRONG strategy!
and on the other hand.. yeah.. they are continuing to support the fundamentalist regime of saudi arabia!! what's that for God's sake?
very important article, and excellent thought.. i agree with most of the suggestions he mentioned. and i believe that we should encourage the west to go down this other road. we might disagree on many issues, but we should not disagree for disagreement's sake even if there are actual benefits for us.

Amre El-Abyad said...

Dear Fantasia,

I have some simple questions for you. Do you think that the U.S is working for the the region's welfare?

How do you expalain its alliance with the Shah, Sadat and Saudi Arabia in the seventies to boost radical islamism, so as to undermine and root out progressive trends in the Arab world?

How do you expalin its funding and training of the Jihadists in Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in the seventies and the eighties?

How do you explain its alliance with the medival mullahs Iran to highlight sectarian discourse and dividing people along religous lines, in order to destroy and wipe out the most promising, most secular and most educated Arab state?

How do you expalin its creation of a terrorist entity so called israel in the middle of the Arab world? Insofar as I know, Israel was the first state in the region where identity is forged on PURE RELIGOUS BASIS. What is worse the justification of its existance is merely based on holy sacred religous texts!? The natural reaction to the creation of that malignat entity, was the rise of the fundamentalist reactionary radical Islamism. It was not a coincidence that the Muslim brotherhood grew considerably in size and influence in the midst of the terrorist activities carried out by the zionist gangs in Palestine.

There will never be any progress and change in Egypt, unless there is a radical change in our culture. We have to learn dissent , regain our confidence and quit this thousands of years old Egyptian hypocrytical tradition of prostating onself to the strong and powerful. This culture is detremintal to the soul and freedom of mind. Free people accept change and adopt quite easily because they have no hidden dark rooms within. They can admit that they are wrong when they realize they are wrong, they will never be pretentious because they have nothing to hide. They believe in things and themselves, and they use straight lines to get where they want. They know how to fight the tendencies to be low, immoral parochial, narrow minded which are naturally found in all human beings in this world. But, we are human, because we have created "culture" through which we conquer ourselves and change our ways.

Confident, FREE people, go into the future without fear. On the other hand, past for them is source of pride. It makes up existance for them, it shapes their vision and determines their goals. On it we shall build, we can modify- but it must always be there, as it remains the glue that preserves our dignity and soul. On pure pragmatic basis, integrity, courage, high morals, condifdence are basic ingredients for progress, industralisation and freedom. The hypocrits, the PIMPS and those who succumb can never achieve anything, becausre the integrity within is broken. Consequantly, no collective power can ever be expected from those people.

One last thing, Egypt is my country, therefore if a foreign power dares to control it, tell it what to do, or even interfere remotely in its politics, I will nail its proponents onto the wall, even if they were the most influential and richest percon in Egypt.

The Alien said...

honor is always related to women, that is the cause of all this. it is not about religion at all. it is a result for the patriarchal society we live in.

the facts and numbers u write here are vey true. our law is shame, we all know that. but why noone can talk and ask to change it? i think because now it is related to religions.

Fantasia said...

dear mermaid,
yeah.. reading your comment i remembered faten hamama saying "wein hanady ya khal?" and the uncle replying "hanady ra7et f elwaba".
it is that easy! any girl who is suspected of having a boyfriend "troo7 f elwaba"!
when i was like 7 or 8, i asked my dad what the word "waba" meant (of course we were watching the movie).. he told me it meant oblivion or void. i didn't understand what it meant back then.. but when i grew older and i realized the genius of taha hussein, i discovered that "elwaba" is the perfect word to discribe the female condition in a society like ours.
whether dead or alive, most women are stuck in their local waba. they are marginalized, oppressed, discriminated against, denied their basic rights, and act as the passive sponge that should absorb all the aggression and violence of patriarchy.
honor killings are just a normal part of this chain.. a natural outcome of total female paralysis, and the toxic web of notorious laws (that have nothing to do with justice) which aim to maintain the status quo.
how can a father kill his daughter?
1- by convincing himself that killing is not a crime, but an honorable act of proving manhood
2- by being supported by a long history of male abuse and violence against women.
3- by knowing that justice will not reach him.. as laws were designed by men, and the judges are men.
4- by the help of a patriarchal society which in fact encourage to kill

thanks for your comment

Fantasia said...

dear hassan,
i don't know what those people expect when they raise their kids in a different society (which holds values that they are totally against)?
they wanna go with their stone aged, tribal minds to make money in the rich countries.. and they want to transfere their caves there and keep hiding inside them??
why didn't he go to live in Saudi? afghanistan? or any other cave or tent that would be a safe haven for him? in this case, he would have been free to slaughter his daughters and enjoy the fake honor he is after.
you are right. he surely wants to disgust the others.

Fantasia said...

dear marwa,
well, i don't believe any search is needed.. God did not allow any human being to kill another. what about a father killing his daughters?
i will make sure to visit your blog soon. i was just too busy lately. best regards.

Fantasia said...

dear anatomist,
i know that you are multi-talented.. but seeking you step into this kind of analysis is new and scary.. you are competing on my domain, man :)
i'm just kidding of course. i was delighted to read your great insights here.
actually i was saving this topic for later.. yet as you have already opened the subject, allow me to add my two cents here.
what you said is true. in underdeveloped societies (mind you, i consider a society like ours to be underdeveloped rather than developing. i believe this is a more precise description that allows us to see where we stand.. specially in human rights, which is mainly a social issue before it becomes political or legislative) male sexually plays a central role in defining social relationships and interactions.. whether they be male/female or male/male, and in some cases female/female, as the majority of females in those societies are but mere shadows of their male dominators.
what you said about men's fear of impotence is in fact very true.
scientifically speaking, all men undergo this stage during their sexual development. the scientific term for this mysterious fear of impotence is called "castration anxiety".. it is a freudian term that explains men's constant fear of losing their power.
freud claimed that a boy develops this anxiety when he sees a girl's sexual organ!! he thinks that somebody has chopped off her penis! that's why he lives in fear of having his own penis chopped off.
i can't blame freud for not making sense here.. it is enough that he was the first to attempt giving an explanation of this unexplanable phenomenon.
nowadays, it is better to refer to this fear as the result of male phallocentrism.. which basically means that a man's penis is the center of his thoughts and behavior. in some cases (especially in underdeveloped societies) this may lead to all sorts of abnormal or even criminal behavior.
there are even records of massive hysteria related to what is known as "penis panic". yes, it was observed that male members in certain societies suddenly show symptoms of GRS (genital retraction syndrome). as funny as it goes, this hysterical outbreak has taken place in egypt at different times.. the most recent, and famous, of which is the rumor about the israeli manufactured belts that were thought to make men who wear them to lose their sexual ability.
a similar case was recorded in sudan in 2003, when the sudanese men went suddenly hysterical and started to forward SMSs warning against what they claimed to be "penis melting"! yeah.. they really believed that israel has sent them a curse that would cause their penises to melt!
so, as crazy as it sounds, i have to agree that men can kill to keep their penises safe and sound.
in this case, a victim of honor killing will resemble a human sacrifice to the local community, in order to provide a proof of this man's loyalty to the diabolical pact he made with other fellow men.. and in return they would bestow him with honor of manliness.
the law in this case is encouraging this kind of female slaughter.. promising the murderer an eternal, reputable, heroic masculinity for the cheap price of a few years (or months) in prison.
thanks for the brilliant comment. a real anatomist you are.

Fantasia said...

dear amre,
i seriously don't understand the reson behind your questions which are totally irrelevant to the topic at hand. does any of those questions have anything to do with honor killings?
i agree to every single word you said in the last 3 paragraphs. but if you really wanna know my answers to your questions, i gotta know why i am asked to do so. what's at the heart of this? is it to pledge allegiance to something? is my loyality to egypt being in question for some mytersious reason that i don't know of? please enlighten me.

Amre El-Abyad said...

Dear Fantasia,

I dont give myself the right to question motivations of other people, simply because I must do as I would be done by.

Secondly my questions came as a reply to the following:

"very important article, and excellent thought.. i agree with most of the suggestions he mentioned. and i believe that we should encourage the west to go down this other road. we might disagree on many issues, but we should not disagree for disagreement's sake even if there are actual benefits for us".

"so thankful for providing this link. i was hoping for a long time to find the west (especially USA) at last being able to come up with realistic strategies in the middle east. This guy's recommendations nailed some of the most vital issues at hand".

My last phrase clarified what I think is the right reaction towards anyone who ask foreign powers to interfere for changing us. By the way, that doesn't necessarily mean treason or disloyality, those people have a self-perception of being liberal, deomcratic and enlightenbed.


Fantasia said...

dear alien,
i can not say no. yes, in some illogical, incomprehensible, twisted way honor killings are for people seen to be related to religion.
i don't know how this can be possible, but it seems that the idea of punishing adultery has been transformed into "honor killing"!
well, in islam this punishment has to be proven through 4 witnesses.. if only 3 persons testify that they actually saw the act of adultery, still this does not prove it. they gotta be four.
and the punishment (of both adulterers) is carried out by the law, (that is by the state) not by the husband, or a relative. that is sharia.
according to egyptian law, adultery is a crime of the female only. the male partner (who also committed adultery) can in fact turn into one of the witnesses against the woman he was having sex with.
when it comes to a husband catching his wife red handed (that is, in bed with another man), the law states that he has the right to kill both, or his wife only if the other man managed to escape (and in this way we will never know if she really committed adultery or not), and receive a reduced punishment. but if the opposite happened and the wife killed both, the wife is executed.
after inas eldeghedi's movie "3afwan ayoha elqanoon", this article was changed, adding that that "a wife who kills her adulterous husband IN HER MARRIAGE BED can also receive a reduced sentence".. which means that a wife is adulterous anywhere on earth, while a husband is only adulterous in his marital home! now, this is really stupid and tragic. what the hell does it mean?

yet, the majority of honor killings have got absolutely nothing to do with the act of adultery. the victims in those cases were the subject of rumors and back talk. why would i have to consider a murder driven by talk to be justified? if i killed someone because i heard he was a spy, does this justify killing him, even if it was found out that he truly was a spy? and why is rage considered to be a "special condition" that deserves mercy? we're talking MURDER!

so as you see the whole thing is bogus. and these laws can never be constitutional in any way.
there are many who talk against them and condemn the discrimination they defend.. but nothing happens. even when something does, it come out pathetic.

Fantasia said...

dear amre,
now i see where the problem is.. and thanks a lot for the threat, or let me say warning, that you aimed to send, thinking that i am one of those people you refered to.

look, amre.. i don't like being defensive when there is absolutely no need for me to be. i believe you read the recommendations i was talking about, and i believe that you read my reply to raaasa in full. and i also believe that your pair of eyes did not catch a single phrase that would mean that i encourage the west to control us.

if you think that people who are realistic and practical are nor as patriotic as the vocal, theoretical idealists, then i would strongly recomment that you read my post on binary oppositions (niqab or bikini). i am not pro bikini, dear amre. and you ain't pro niqab either. so i don't think we should be interrogating one another in such a humiliating way.

read both pieces again(not the pieces of the bikini), the article published on the link and my reply. you will find out that i adopt your same principles. yet, i am someone who would take them a step further.. from dreamland to the actual world.
i can draw a rocket on paper and then fold this paper at throw it upwards. in a way, this is launching a rocket.. but you don't expect such an act to be hailed by the people or talked about in the news, do you? while a rocket launched by NASA will naturally receive this kind of attention.

USA has got its interests in the region. this is a fact. and what prove this fact are the questions you asked me (except the creation of israel, which was the work of britain).
does the US interfere with our affairs? it does. does my objection to this fact change it? it doesn't. will my objection to this fact remove the cause of its interference (the american interests in the region)? no it won't. do i have the right to object to those interests? now here is the problem.

let's imagine the following scenario:
amre has got influence over a region that has the power switch to all my facilities. amre is dangerous cause his interests conflict with mine. amre is dangerous because there are people who live in his home who hate me and want to destroy me. those people are poor and not well educated. they live in the worst conditions. they hate amre because they think he is the reason behind their problems. they hate him because he keeps friendly relations with me (although we not really friends). some of them think that amre is corrupt and not religious, and they are planning to rule the house according to religious rules. they have got allies where my power switch lies. i can't upset their allies. and i can't upset them because it would upset their allies. so i can only be tough with amre. i will pressure him to improve the conditions inside his home. i know that amre can not do that without my help at the time being, and i must make sure he will always need my help, so that i can use this help to guarantee that he will remain friendly.

now the few intelligent people in amre's house know that there is nothing that can be done at the moment to stop me from interefering with them. therefore they can either talk about far future dreams about the ideal situation for this house, hoping that time will give amre, or any other person in his place the chance to achieve it. (in this case the hope is not certain, and the dream is too idealistic.. it may not become real at all.. but should be there as an inspiration and an image of how things should be.)
they imagine that all amre's neighbors will wake up and realize that they should all unite, and work together, even if amre became their leader. they imagine that those neighbors would stop planting weeds in amre's garden. they imagine that all the neighborhood will start improving their conditions together and refuse my interference. there is nothing wrong with that. hypothetical idealism is not wrong in any way.

on the other hand, they can start working on the ground, making use of any possible routes which would bring them closest to their dream. they will be realistic to know that my presence and the presence on my interests in their neighborhood are facts. they know that they can't avoid my interference, although they will be careful to make it clear that they don't welcome it. when they see people in my home trying to convince me to reduce my pressures on them, they are ready to encourage those people to go on in their efforts. they will try to prove that my old strategy was wrong. they will convince me by pointing out the points of agreement between me and amre. they will convince me by letting me see that reducing pressures is for my own good as well.
and so on.. they will continue gathering points for their favor. relieving some of the pressure laid on amre's shoulder and helping him with improving his home conditions. is this wrong in any way? does it contradict with the dream of the dreamers? do all the people have to sit there dreaming?
dreaming is sweet. i have nothing against it. but some people have got to work on turning those dreams into reality. and as there is no hope for miracles in real world, then there are millions of things to be done to give us the right to dream in first place.

raaasa said...

Dear Fanta,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and thought-provoking responses. I really do appreciate the thought and effort you put into interacting with your readers and explaining your thoughts clearly.

Also, although I think I’ve said it before, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your space in which we can freely interact with and explore each other’s ideas, measuring the value of new concepts, keeping what works or what might be worthy of further exploration, and discarding what doesn’t or at the very least, throwing the ideas out there for feedback from the rest of the crowd. So again, I thank you.

I’d like to respond to Anatomist’s early comment about women and honour and so on. I’ve given this some thought and here is what I’ve come up with so far.

Here’s the problem, well, actually, one of several: man’s honour resides in his women—mother, sister, wife, daughter—who dominates totally by controlling their movements, lifestyle, behaviour, appearance, words, and so on. I think this is even more of an issue in a very repressive society—socially, economically limiting choices-- or when the government allows little opportunity for opposition.

The whole point of this domination, beyond the obvious social and economic benefits, is to completely contain and suppress the women’s sexuality (justified by man’s effort to prevent fitna or societal chaos).

Of course, female sexuality will not be contained because if the man is so focused on this, even breathing will be deemed as too sexual. And so one by one female liberties are removed by the man. He tells himself that this control is over all of the women in his family so that these women don’t give other men any kinds of sexual ideas because that, of course, would lessen his masculinity or male-ness in society and in his own eyes. Really, it is all about him. It is a male-male game, this control of women because it is showing off to other men, like male lions in a jungle showing off how tough they are.

Man’s control of women carves out most of his self-identity as a man. A real man, after all, is a man who has sex with women. Through sexually dominating the woman, he proves his manhood. (I suspect this is the real reason that homosexuality is so taboo.)

Of course, here, not only does the man totally dominate his wife, he sexually dominates her as well. From the beginning of their relationship, through the “carrot and the stick” approach, his jealousy, demands, tantrums, fits, and accusations, his “training” of her continues. Because she sexually attracts him, it is never possible to contain her sexuality completely—enough for his liking anyway. This turns out to be a real losing game with the wife because in order to safeguard his honour, he turns her into a neurotic mess. The wife is expected to be something like Mother Teresa in public but something like Haifa Wahbe at home, especially in the bedroom. Furthermore, I think these kinds of schizhophrenic expectations have severe and dangerous implications for women’s psyche, mental and possibly sexual health. If I am not mistaken, Nawal Al-Saadawi wrote about this based on her experiences in her medical practice.

Generally, I think the man completely loses it—whatever sanity he had to begin with-- when he loses control of the woman he thinks he should be dominating and controlling. It is well documented that most killings of women in abusive relationships throughout the world happen when the woman leaves or tells the man the relationship is over.

Egypt Rose said...

Hi Fanta,

I was going to write something about the same topic but as you write first.

الحرامي المعفن اللى ضحك على بنت عندها 15 سنة واعتدي عليها و اتجوزها بعد كدة .. بيقتل بناته الاثنين علشان ايه ..

انت شجعتيني اكتب على جرائم الشرف في مصر

Amre El-Abyad said...

Dear Fantasia,

I second Raaaasa above in thanking you for opening that forum.

The scenario you have put down is quite interesting. Actually reaching your conclusion is inevitable, given the set of assumptions in scenario. Alas, that scenario is not represantative of the palyground.

First of all U.S interests in the region are not only about oil. Of course Oil is power, control over growing econmoies, global supply and the current world order. Yet, it is the threat of the resurrection the alternative Arab civilisation- the historical rival model of the Greco-Roman western one- that is pushing the imperialits to press us.

Secondly, you made an assumption that the majority of poor Egyptian hate the U-.S and want to destroy it, which is not altogether true, the majority want a better life- that is all.

Thirdly, you made an assumption that 300 million Arabs are helpless and can do nothing about their own destiny except going along with American will.

Fourthly, you assumed that education is the magic word, it helps of course but that is not the perfect answer to our dilemma. Instead, education is outcome of culture and not the other way round, although they share a dilactic relation. The westernised, enlightened elites in Egypt, Saudi Arabia , Lenbanon, Morocco are jsut as ignorant as the unfortunate majority, however they have learned to parrot western ideals and visions which t have turned them into clones vanguarding the imperial interests. It is worth mentioning, that I have noticed that most English and French speaking press in the Arab world is quite conservative , reactionary and dumb; that is despite of their self-image of being liberal and progressive. They are under the influence that the mere use of foreign language, and being able to parrot western conceptual models, objectives and apsirations would suffice to grant them a title of being liberal. Hence, it is the form rather than the content that bestows value. It this strata that you posed as Amre in your model. Here, it seems as if you have turned a blind eye to to the fact that southern elites, like Al-Soud...etc are actualy a part of the north- they are the good loyal subordinates. That in turn shall take us to my fifth point.

Fifthly, you totally over looked the leftists, Arabist progressive powers in your scenario where ou rextricted dissent to Islamists. The Iraqi, Cuban, chinese, models would the best reply to you.

Sixthly, you assumed that our Arab brothers are planting weeds in our garden, which is totally an undfounded and a chauvinistic claim; it is simply not true. For example, Hadn't it been for the Arab natiolaist feelings inspired by Nasser, Soviets would have never financed, and backed Egyptian devlopment econiomically and militarily. Let'slook at the exitentialistic threat Egypt faced in 1973. Iraq supplied Egypt with Scud Bs prior to the war to deter any israeli incursions into the Egyptian depth. In syria, Demascus would have fallen, hadn't it vbeen doe the armoured divisions Saddam Hussien sent to save Syria, althou the Iranians had mobilised their army on Iraqi borders to prevent full intervention. IN Egypt 2 Iraqi sky hunters squadroons were bombintg the Israleians in Sinai, and according the the diraies of Saad El-Din Shazly they were called for in name by our infantry.

Seventhly, you posed the real tangible Arabic culture and civilsation which is actually the sole tangible solid reality in this shacky, airy, yet magical region. What you actually pose as fanciful and dreamy is the possibilty of masses regaing their self-contiousness and standing up agianst alliance of foreign and domestic opressors. And by the way you are being self-contradctory here, since advocating feminism in a Arab country is by far more of a drreamy idea that regaing the collective Arab national cognition.

Last but not least, in our last debate you claimed that you agree with everything I say. Thus I wanted to share with you and your lovely readers my vision for Arab liberation where emancipation of women and healthy balanced gender relations are an integral part it. It is actually one of the basic foundations of a healthy progressive society. However, it is impossible and unrealstic to copy the western feminist ideals which are deeply rooted in theAnglo-Germanic matriarchal society. To my opinion a fusion of feminism with nationalism that takes into account the fact that we a re patriarchal culture. the closest thing I can think avbout is Hitlers's or Mosslolini's vision of women withing the national movment. That was just an illustrative example asI am not calling for copying them.

P.S I didn't warn you. I only specified what I think should be the attidude of Egyptians towrds such calls.

egy anatomist said...

الأعزاء فانتازيا وعمرو (مع حفظ الألقاب)

سعادتي غامرة بنقاشكما، الذي أراه "الفريضة الغائبة" لدى النخب العربية العازفة عن التحاور، والمقبلة بنهم على التناحر. أحييكما

لتسمحي لي سيدتي بالرد والتناقش مع العزيز عمرو الذي تدهشني موسوعية معرفته واخلاصه لمبادئه. مع اعتذاري لكِ عن هذا الخروج السافر عن موضوع البوست الأصلي

عزيزي عمرو

سأطرح أولا النقاط الرئيسية التي فهمتها من كلامك. كي يكون واضحا الأساس الذي أبني عليه وجهة نظري. وأتمنى ألا أكون قد أسأت فهم أي من لأفكارك الرئيسية. كما أتمنى أيضا ألا تكون القراءة بالعربية مرهقة لك بأي شكل

أولا.. أفترض أنك قومي يساري. لست ماركسيا في رأيي كما يبدو. إذ لا مكان مقدس عندك للحتميات التاريخية وعلاقات الانتاج

ثانيا.. من ناحية النظرية السياسية، فأنت "واقعي" – على عكس ما قد يبدو - تؤمن بأن الصراع الناتج عن الطبيعة البشرية الأنانية أو عن طبيعة النظام الدولي الفوضوية هو قدر حتمي على بني البشر

ثالثا.. أنت تميل أيضا لرؤى هانتنجتون وغيرهم حول التفسير الثقافي للعالم القائم على أسس أنثروبولوجية وإثنية

رابعا.. أنت ترى أن الغرب يعمل على هدم آمال قيام دولة عربية موحدة لما يشكله ذلك عليه من خطورة ثقافية (حضارة إسلامية/عربية في مواجهة أخرى إغريقية/رومانية) واستراتيجية ثانيا (دولة عربية ضخمة الموارد قوية للدرجة التي تمكنها من لعب دور قوة عالمية عظمى)
خامسا.. أنت ترى السياسة الأمريكية تحديدا في الشرق الأوسط (الوطن العربي) تسعى لتحقيق الهدف المذكور في "رابعا" عن طريق تشجيع ودعم وتقوية الأنظمة السياسية الرجعية ومحاربة وهدم الأنظمة التقدمية العلمانية. وتضرب أمثلة بتحالف أمريكا مع السادات وآل سعود وملالي إيران، ومعاداتهم لمصر عبد الناصر وعراق صدام

هذه أهم الأفكار التي كونتها من قراءة تعليقاتك هنا. وعلى أساسها أعقب بما يلي

أتفق معك في أن هناك هدفا استراتيجيا غربيا مفاده عدم السماح بظهور "خلافة عثمانية" جديدة في المنطقة قد لا تكون رجل أوروبا المريض هذه المرة بل قد تكون رجل العالم القوي بالنظر لتغير الوضع الاقتصاد/استراتيجي في المنطقة خلال القرن العشرين. وفي هذا السياق يبدو واضحا السبب المباشر لقيام إسرائيل.

هذا الهدف متحقق بامتياز حتى هذه اللحظة، ولم يواجه تهديدات جدية إلا مرتين، الأولى على يد محمد علي والثانية على يد ناصر.

قد يكون رأيك أن تجربة محمد على تشبه تجربة ناصر في طريقة استدراج كل منهما وتحطيم قوته العسكرية ثم اجباره على الانطواء داخل حدود مصر. إلا إنني أرى وجه شبه أهم وأعتقد أنه يعطي أهم دروس التجربتين: فشل تجربة كل منهما في ترك أية آثار إيجابية على المستوى المؤسسي أو الشعبي أو الزعامي. بل والأكثر من ذلك: قيام الأنظمة اللاحقة بالارتداد المتطرف على تجربتيهما بينما يتفرج الشعب وأحيانا يهلل.

أحلل ما سبق بأن هناك خللا جوهريا في كل من نظام محمد علي (عدم ارتباط محمد علي بتراب مصر وبالشعب المصري وعدم إدماج المصريين في تجربته) ونظام عبد الناصر (مساوئ الإدارة الديكتاتورية) أدى لقطع الاستمرارية والتراكم السياسي اللازم لأي نهضة سياسية.

أستمر في التحليل فأجد أيضا خللا أساسيا يخلط بين المقدمات والنتائج في التجربتين. فالصين الذي تضرب بها مثلا (أعرف أنه في سياق مختلف) تتبع سياسة خارجية محافظة هادئة تتحاشى تماما الوقوع في مواجهات قبل آوانها. بينما قام كل من محمد علي وعبد الناصر باستباق المقدمات وانتهاج سياسة خارجية هجومية في وقت لا تسمح فيه قدرات الدولة (عسكريا واقتصاديا وسياسيا) بالصمود.

يقودني ما سبق للنموذج الأوروبي الذي اتخذ الطريق الطبيعي في التطور إماما له. فليست البداية توحيد الأمة سياسيا ولكن خلق بيئة مواتية تعتمد على تدرج محسوب. أيضا أعيد التذكير بالنموذج الصيني. وأتأمل النموذجين الألماني والياباني. وأرى فيهم دلائل واضحة على كل من خطورة الخلط بين الهدف الاستراتيجي والتكتيكات المرحلية، وعكس ما سبق المتمثل في بناء دول حديثة قادرة ثم نفكر بعدها فيما نفعله بهذه الدولة.

لا أسمى ما سبق رجعية أو تخاذل أو كل اتهامات اليسار الشهيرة. أسميه نضج وعدم انسحاب سيكولوجي من الحاضر ومواجهة مشكلاته.

في الأوضاع الراهنة لا أرى عالما عربيا موحدا بأية طريقة. لا أختلف أبدا حول وجود مقومات حقيقية تجعل هناك أمة أو دولة عربية واحدة بلا شك. لكن أرى أن هذه الدولة مازالت في طور التكوين والإنشاء. وأرى أن انهيار الخلافة العثمانية أثار شعور الضياع وفقدان الهوية بين شعوب المنطقة، بالإضافة إلى أزمة شرعية سياسية مستمرة، فضلا عن الفراغ الأمني الذي استدعى القوة العالمية. أرى العالم العربي ينقسم حاليا: مغرب ممزق متناحر سياسيا وشعبيا (المغرب والجزائر والبوليساريو). مشرق منشطر بإسرائيل وعداوة شعبية واسعة بين شطري الشام وبكيان اصطناعي عازل (الاردن)، خليج موحد لدرجة كبيرة، ولكنه أبعد ما يكون عن المشرق والمغرب العربيين، وهناك تناقض في المصالح بين الخليج الثري والباقي الفقير يرقى لدرجة العداوة. لا أمل في رأيي في الحديث عن الـ 300 مليون عربي والمليار هندي وغيرهما. فالشعوب لا قيمة لكثرة عددها إلا بمقدار تماسكها السياسي وانتظامها في مؤسسات تحرك وتحشد

لا أستطيع أن أفهم السياسة الأمريكية في المنطقة كما تفضلت بذكرها. فتحالف أمريكا مع من ذكرت (مع انها تحالفت أيضا مع نظام الشاه العلماني) لا يبرره في رأيي إلا سياسات براجماتية آنية تختلف من مرحلة لمرحلة. لا يبدو لي سيدي أنك تقدر كثيرا المنظور الليبرالي أو المؤسسي في فهم السياسة الدولية. السياسة الأمريكية لا يسيطر عليها فقط شخص الرئيس أو الإدارة. أمريكا تتحالف وتفك تحافاتها وفقا لحسابات متغيرة وليست ثابتة في رأيي. وهذا لا يمنع من تأكيدي على موافقتي إياك حول الهدف النهائي (عدم قيام دولة عربية موحدة). المشكلة أن أمريكا – والغرب – لا يجب أن تزعج نفسها كثيرا بهذه النقطة، إذ أن الدول – والشعوب – العربية كفيلون وحدهم بهدم أي أمل لهذه الدولة الموحدة. الأسباب: تخلف البناء السياسي في الدولة العربية الجنينية. عدم نضج النخب والصفوة بما يكفي للتخلص من التبسيطات المبالغ فيها للواقع ونظريات المؤامرة الأحادية. التخلف المعرفي والعلمي للشعوب. فشل التنمية الاقتصادية لعقود طويلة. قوة تيار التأسلم السياسي (نعم أمريكا هي الداعمة الأولى له)

أنت تربط الدعم العربي الواسع لمصر في ظروف معينة بشخص القائد أو طبيعة الظرف التاريخي (حرب)، وتنسى أن كل هذه وفرات عاطفية لا تعني شيئا في الواقع. بدون وجود مصالح حقيقية بين شعوب المنطقة (غير الشعارات والأهازيج القومية) لن تكون هناك رغبة في التخلي عن الشوفينية المحببة للنفس والتنازل عن بعض السيادة من أجل دولة عربية جامعة

الحياة ليست فقط صراعا وسياسة عليا. اليسار لا يقدم حلولا ناجحة للمشكلة الاقتصادية. الصين لا تتبع نظاما يساريا. هو نظام سوق حر لا تمتلك الدولة فيه عناصر الانتاج. كوبا لا أعرف هل أنت جاد في مناقشة نموذجها؟ هل سيستمر النظام بعد كاسترو؟ هل هناك معجزة هناك سوى كاسترو نفسه؟ فنزويلا.. ماذا سيكون وضعها من غير البترول؟ لا أعتقد حقا أن المشكلة فقط في الفكر اليساري. أراها في الأدلجة الزائدة عن الحد الذي تجعل الاشتراكية ناموسا أو قرآنا وليست نظرية قابلة للتعديل والتغيير. أرى ملايين البشر خرجوا من دوائر الفقر والتخلف وعدم التنمية لآفاق أوسع في شرق آسيا. أراهم فعلوا ذلك استنادا لأنظمة سياسية عقلانية براجماتية وليست يسارية

لم تقدم أية حلول فيما قرأت من تعليقات. ما هو اقتراحك لتغيير الثقافة بالطريقة التي وصفتها؟ أرى أن ما ذكرته بخصوص فضل الثقافة الإيجابية الشجاعة الحرة ينطبق بصورة أفضل على المستوى الفردي وليس المستوى العام

لا أرى أية مشكلة في اعتناق القيم الثقافية الإنسانية التي تراها – أو يراها آخرون – غربية. هي ليست غربية. الغرب يطبقها. هي قيم إنسانية خاصة بتطور المجتمعات البشرية. طرق أفضل – أو أسوأ – لإدارة حياتنا الاجتماعية. منها ما يصلح لمجتمعاتنا ومنها ما يحتاج لبعض الابداع ومنها ما قد يضر. التغيير يتم عندما تتوفر ظروفه الموضوعية أولا. اليابان أمامنا. تحديث غربي شامل. وسواء حدث انقطاع مع الماضي التاريخي أو لم يحدث فلا أظن اليابانيين يشعرون بالتعاسة والخضوع والذل بسبب تحالفهم مع أمريكا القاتلة بالقنابل الذرية

أشكرك على صبرك على القراءة


سيدتي فانتازيا: حاليا، أقوم بمذاكرة تعقيبك على تعليقي الأول. أخيرا عرفت حضرتك بتشتغلي ايه: طبيبة نفسية ولا شك : )

رقاصة هانم: منبهر بتحليلك.. متفق مع معظمه.. سعيد بإثارة تعليقي لهذه الأفكار اللامعة في عقلك الجميل


تحياتي واحترامي للجميع

last of the mohicans said...

My heart goes out to these young girls.
we should condemned such an act whether it be in Texas or in any other place.
however we should treat crimes not as exclusive to any one culture because if we do the Arabs would look good compare to many western democracy, for the ratio of crimes in some cities in the US for example would surpass that of the entire Arab world.
my fear is that some of us are turning into self hating whenever any thing happens we try to blame it on the Arab world or culture etc.. and that's not going to help.
trying to strip the Arab world from any thing that is good does not serve any purpose either.
as for Saudi royal family they are heart and soul pro west and not fundamentalist as some may think, as a matter of fact they were undermining progressive Arab movements all along in behalf of other powers that would not like to see that happened, now the oil issue is not what the west is really after for it was available to them exclusively not only that but the US dollar is the backbone of the oil trade so it's a win win situation here.
back to the issue of the young girls killing many of the respected commentators agree that education is a factor and i totally agree on that along with working on social awareness by the intelligentsia and to try to bring the society to a balance where extreme wright and extreme left can come to an agreeable point instead of fighting the windmill or worse yet getting recomendation in how to live from mark stein!!!

egyptian feminist chic said...

Last of the mohicans, I dont think the issue is comparison of crime rates... it is more that fathers are supposed to look out for their daughters well being... girls grow up trusting their family, and loving them. The fathers should set an example for young girls... at least this is what comes naturally for so many people. What we see in these honor killings is more than just an ordinary crime. We see the control and manipulation of a human being that is beyond belief. Most people would sacrifice their lives to save their children, but the chauvanistic culture dedicates that these men murder their children, and the men blindly follow the orders. If these men were raised differently they would not have commited these crimes. and the part that realy troubles me is how people hail them as heroes who saved their honor (sharaf). Now the only culture that condones these kinds of murders that I am aware of is the arab/middle eastern culture... If you want to discuss crime rates abroad, this is a different story... they are usually in poor cities, with fights over gangs or drug deals..etc. so murders there happen, and they are expected, but the murderers are punished as murderers and not hailed as heroes. Honor killings are far worse. They are commited by people who are not on drugs, and are not criminals, and they are not commited against an enemy or an adversary. They are commited against their own flesh and blood whom they should protect. I am not defending these murderers, but I am sure that killing their daughters is heart wrenching for them, yet the chauvanistic cultures control them so much, that they sacrifice their own children to make others happy.

You know after reading about those murders, I wondered how did this man feel while doing this to his own daughter?? In the article about them in the Dallas observer, they said that one of the girls called the police after being shot, and told them I am dying... so this means the father saw her suffering and dying , yet had the heart to turn his back and leave her to die alone in the cold. The other point is he did this while living abroad and not in an oppressive society... so when did killing his own kids become part of who he is rather than what society dictates? How did he turn so evil? where does the influence of society end and his own ingrained evil ideology begin? How did an egyptian turn out to be like that, and how do we stop others from becoming like him?? And the biggest question of all.... why oh why in this day and age do people still tolerate customs that are so damaging to everyone? I believe a man who commits such a crime will never be emotionally stable. He will have flashbacks and nightmares, he will forever be haunted by the images of his dying daughters. I believe his wife, the mother of these chidren will never forgive him, and his family life will never go back to normal. I believe the girl's siblings will be emotionally scarred for life. This is a loss for everyone on so many levels. There is a loss of life, a loss of family, and a loss of people's productiveness and contribution to the community. So who benefits from these tragedies, and if no one does, why do people carry these traditions on? If a girl is wrongly accused, who is she to turn to for protection? If her own father can't protect her then who can? Since men are told they are responsible for their family's well being, and this is what they try to do all their life, what is so different about the well being of his daughter when it comes to protecting her reputation? These people need to step back and take a long hard look at what they are doing.. they need to rethink the concept of "elsharaf" and they need to be held accountable for every murder they commit in the name of family honor. Shame on them for being so cruel, and shame on society for encouraging them. Such a shame.

Dr. Eyad Harfoush said...

Dear Fantasia,
Sorry for the late reply, you said it all in your headline, expressing honor killing term as an oxymoron one. However, the Egyptian law as you discussed, were mainly influenced by doctrinal obligations, as well as traditional powers. Is it time to change it now? I say yes, but I am afraid if changed, it will be to the worst. If such a law encrypted in a secular era, was affected by temporal conditions of doctrine and traditions, what can we get now?

Around the reason men kills their spouses, daughters and sisters, I think it is mainly the propery feeling. In case of a husband, I can imagine the feeling of betrayal with all its pain, only if he loves her. However, in all other cases, I think it is the feeling of humiliated property. We shall never change in this regard, before we purify our doctrines from the human interferences in it, with all the layers of human interactions, those turning women into heritage.

Greetings to Amre and Egypt Anatomist. Who surprized me with his level of cosmopolitan knowlege.

last of the mohicans said...

Egyptian chic I agree, and if I may add there is no honor in killing. what i meant such pshycopathic behavior need to be treated as such, poverty is one of the reasons for sure but what do you make of places that have it all yet still have a staggering amount of crimes not only related to gangs etc.. but believe me in home as will, from a spousal abuse to girlfriends killings.(I happen to live in one of these very rich cities where such crimes are daily occurrence) it's just insane and there is no rational behind it that can be understood by the sane individuals.

Fantasia said...

dearest raaasa,
thank you for those kind words. i feel blessed to be surrounded by such an exceptional group of people who have chosen this spot to interact and express themselves. and it is my absolute pleasure that all of those brillant minds here accept me among them.
i don't believe there is any need for me to add a word to your excellent analysis of the masculine psyche. you are right. and your thoughts are strongly related to the the analytical theory of anatomist.
there are endless applications to this valid theory. men who are rejected by women, either in the beginning of a relationship or after it has already been established, are deeply scarred because their back mind translates the rejection as an insult to their penises.
i shall talk more about male sexuality in a future post.. so i'd better keep something to say then.. but you will be amazed at how true your analysis is.. especially when you talked about sexual domination and the double roles expected to be perfected by the wife in conservative societies. if you are interested in reading more about this issue, i would recommend nawal elsadaawi's book "Women and Neurosis", which is a splendid reference. although it was written in 1975, yet you won't believe how accurate it is in describing the present time.
unlike what most people are trying to force others to believe, sex does indeed play a central role in our lives.. even more than it does in the west.. and this also i will talk about in a different post :)
please don't hate me for not saying it all now. i don't mean to keep you anticipating. it is just that there is no way to explain this briefly, and i would really like this important clue in understanding male behavior be fully exposed.
sincerely grateful for stirring up so many ideas. your discussions truly keep my head buzzing and ideas constantly branching. ahh, i feel most alive on this page really.

Fantasia said...

dearest egypt rose,
i was over the moon when you said that my post encouraged you. i can not forget your huge support when i was starting this blog. you are such an amazing inspiration, and it is my honor to inspire one of great topics.
honor killings are such a shame.. their continuous existence in the 21st century is a bigger shame.. and our law's encouragement of them is the biggest shame of all.
write my dear, and light the way. i wish to write it on every wall. i wish to put stickers in the metro and public buses. i wish to write it on road signs. i wish to hold it up high on a banner.. "thou shall not kill"
honor killings kill honor

Fantasia said...

dear amre,
thanks for the compliment. this forum was created by all of those who contribute in the discussions.. and i believe they are all highly intelligent persons with lots of potential, regardless of any differences in opinion.

i so much liked what anatomist said in his response, and i hope that what he expressed so well can bridge any possible gaps and make you realize that we ain't standing on opposite poles.

allow me to explain that my hypothetical scenario was just an attempt to give a simple example that i hoped would clarify points which you misinterpreted in my reply to raaasa. therefore, it is not meant to be a full analysis of the arab-american relations. indeed it was too brief and too simple to suggest this possibility. so, i don't see why you concentrated on what was missing there. i was hoping that we discuss the message behind the example rather than the example itself.
i am not trying to reach any conclusions. i was only setting things straight and untangling those threads you knotted in coming up with your judgement.

still.. i say:
1- by power switch i meant all american interests and not just oil. securing oil resources is a central target of course, but i meant that this region has the keys to america's existence as a super power.
2- i did not say that poor egyptians hate america. i said the majority of people hate america for its policies in the middle east which rely on violence, sanctions, and placing pressures over arab regimes.
3- i did not make the assumption that 300 million Arabs are helpless and can do nothing about their own destiny except going along with American will.
i said they are not powerful enough to stand againt america or prevent it from protecting its interests.. and there is a huge difference between surrendering and being realistic. in fact, there is nothing realistic in going along with the american will.
4- you said, "The westernised, enlightened elites in Egypt, Saudi Arabia , Lenbanon, Morocco are jsut as ignorant as the unfortunate majority, however they have learned to parrot western ideals and visions which t have turned them into clones vanguarding the imperial interests."
don't you think it is not right to generalize in this manner? and what is your proof anyway?
besides, the foreign speaking press is not not targetting the local reader my dear. and of course you know that all major newspapers worldwide have got their local print and their international print. why do you think they do that?

5- i didn't overlook the leftists.. i actually included them among the intelligent inhabitants of your home (in the example i mentioned). of course i don't mean that all leftists are intelligent. i meant that the egyptian intelligentsia, or the elites, have got people of different orientations.
6-talk about the past as you wish, but if you design your plans according to an outdated worldview, or let me say arabview, then you are totally removed from reality. yet, if we are to talk history, we must bear in mind that those arab regimes have got nothing else to do at the time.. bearing in mind how their people were incredibly influenced by nasser and emotionally attached to what he stood for.
now, please, let's move forward in time, shall we? don't you think our dear neighbors are planting weeds in our garden? how do you explain the UAE's military cooperation agreement with France, which was signed just several hours ago? of course in addition to the US military bases there.
how do you explain the exaggerated welcoming of Bush in gulf countries? as the reception he received there is no way comparable to the reception he received in Israel! and please read how the american press itself has commented on those pathetic scenes of gold gifts and dances. like this one for instance: "the sheikh of Bahrain welcoming his exceptional guest with a golden sword -- the symbol of loyalty and submission, meaning"
and also please check this link:,8599,1703515,00.html

now, tell me what you think.

7- i strongly disagree with your seventh point. egypt has always been leading the region in the field of women rights. and i want to know: how would you define arab culture today? which culture are we talking about exactly? of the ethnic nature? of the religious nature? of the tribal nature? of the oil values? please give me a clear CONTEMPORARY definition.

8- please go quickly through the posts on this blog and tell me where i said that i wish to "copy the western feminist ideals which are deeply rooted in the Anglo-Germanic matriarchal society"!! and what kind of feminism can stem from a patriarchal society?

amre you got some things mixed up.. feminism, like socialism, like marxism, like secularism, like islamism, like all the "isms" in the world.. they don't belong to the origins of their terms, they belong to humanity at large. it is a long history of human civilization. you can not say that feminism did not exist in ancient egypt, even if the term had not existed. and you can not claim that communist societies never existed before marx.

hope you'd give it more thought. always a pleasure to interact with your idealistic hypothesis :)

Fantasia said...

dear anatomist,
thanks for taking the time and effort to write these wonderful points and being kind enough to share them with us here.
i am as delighted as you with the conversations going on here, and i hope that we would be able to set a good examples for others to follow. i believe it is our duty, more than anybody else, to exhibit the beauty of difference and the possibility of an intellectual dialogue that has no room for hard feelings.
you bestowed such an honor on me really. i can not believe that egy anatomist is studying my humble reply! oh God! that is too dangerous to believe :)
grateful for your encouragement and valuable input.

Fantasia said...

last of the mohicans,
i guess there is no need for me to reply to your first comment.. EFC did more than great in taking care of that.
as for your second one, i believe that you asked a question and then answered it. yes, actually the people who commit those crimes are either psychos or on drugs. still they don't have any advantages while facing trial.. they are tried for murder of the first degree. there is nothing so called as an honor killing case in the legal system where you live, i believe.

Fantasia said...

dearest feminist chic,
you are officially my sister in arms now. and i am so looking forward to your first post which will be published very soon.
i was so touched by how you described the murder scene, and how the father walked away, knowing that his own daughters are losing their lives.. i just can't imagine it.. it is too cruel that one has goosebumps thinking about it for a second.
i don't know how such an evil inhuman tradition take full possession of a person and drive him to commit a horrible crime like that. this is against the basic human (and even animal) instinct.
getting into the criminal mind must be so tough. yet, we should always seek to understand how the minds of these few persons, who jeopardize the life of many innocent people, function at the time of committing the crime. it is clear that violent and abusive indiviuals are most apt to kill. and i can't help making a link between encouraging men to be violent and aggressive, and the large number of male criminals/murderers. it is not that females are weak. actually, when women kill, they make a mess, the crime scene is usually horrible as well as the method used. female criminals are mostly impulsive.. and those who commit murder either do it in cold blood or out sheer madness.
in fact, i've come accross this link recently:
it is clear that there are lots of things to study about gender.
i guess when someone is brought up to believe that it is good to be aggressive and violent, then he is basically a criminal in the making. thus, not turning into a criminal would be the exception rather than the rule.
i will have to give this more thought though, and study it as well, before developing it further.
i still have many things to say really, but it is getting late, and i am making a huge effort to keep my eyes open and my mind focused.
just before that, i wanna welcome you onboard once again. sorry for being late in my replies. busy days run too swiftly as you know. good luck with your upcoming post dear.

raaasa said...

Dear Fanta,
Awesome, awesome, awesome--as always, just awesome. No pressure in tackling all the issues at once. And certainly, no need to apologize--I will relish your posts when you are ready to release your thoughts in a form you are comfortable with. It's good to know that my thoughts contributed a bit of a spark to the ongoing discussion. That's already more than enough.

EFC, I am thoroughly delighted to be able to look forward to your electric thoughts and riveting commentary here on a regular basis. You can be certain that I am not going anywhere. My prediction is that the room will become even more crowded than it already is.

Anatomist, thanks for your kind words. Charming and encouraging as always.

Amre, thanks for explaining more fully your comment concerning Eastern Orthodox faiths and so on. I can't say that I am convinced, but at least I understand where you're coming from on all that.
About adapting Hitler's vision for women, I believe that his somewhat limited exclusively "kuche, kirche, kinder--,ie. kitchen, church, and children" role has already been adopted by a large number of families in Egypt.

I came across a follow-up article to the Dallas murders of which I am posting an excerpt, with the link, below. As I was reading it, I felt there were many other threads relevant to this discussion to consider--too weary at the moment to do so:

According to a Dallas Morning News report, Yaser Said was a rage-filled, troubled man. Almost 10 years ago, his wife and daughters told police he was molesting the girls; they later recanted. He was not faithful to his prayers or his mosque. He was, it appears, a sociopath obsessed with female purity and willing to use violence to enforce his will. This kind of man exists in every society. But Mr. Said comes from a shame/honor culture in which this form of sociopathy is not only tolerated but validated as a positive social value.

What's more, experts say that while educated, urbane Arab Muslims don't practice honor killing, they tend not to condemn it, either. And not all Muslims leave this barbaric code behind when they emigrate to the West. In two separate meetings with members of this newspaper's editorial board, Mohamed Elmougy, a prominent North Texas Muslim community leader and Egyptian immigrant, defended violence, even deadly violence, against women and homosexuals. Though the term "honor killing" did not come up in either discussion, Mr. Elmougy explained that violence against sexual outlaws is acceptable to defend the family and the social order.

"The way we view it, we don't look at it as violent," he said. "We look at it as a deterrent."

Well. When you have a community acculturated to the belief that women (and gays) who break taboos deserve to be beaten, even killed, out of some twisted concept of the common good, you can be sure there are innocent people enduring silent, anonymous suffering.

Rafia Zakaria, an American Muslim woman starting a legal defense fund for battered Muslim women, told The New York Times recently, that Muslims "are reluctant to look within to face their problems because it will substantiate the arguments demonizing them."

It would be preposterous to believe that all, or even most, Muslim men are wife-beating brutes. But it also would be irresponsible to ignore the cultural and religious teachings that create an environment in which females who don't behave as males command deserve to suffer.

And it would be immoral not to confront them.

The Said girls had a funeral at the Dallas Central Mosque. One imam talked about the primary importance of the family in Islam and of the responsibility parents have to keep their families strong. These are arguments used to justify honor killing.

But if a word against honor killing – or violence against women – was spoken in English at that service, no one heard it.

Fantasia said...

dear dr. eyad,
right you are.. and good question: "what could we get now?"
i believe maintaining a civil law will be a great achievement in itself.
the egyptian national council for human rights is currently focussing on correcting the flaws in citizenship measures, which is basically concerned with religious freedom. i thus expect that 2008 won't witness much changes in the field of women rights. citizenship rights is important of course, and i am so happy that the egyptian government is finally willing to pay due attention to this issue.
but do citizenship rights only entitle religious rights? i mean, women are also citizens, aren't they? yet they are discriminated against in many laws and they can not be considered full citizens.
i believe women issues should be included in this file. i hate monovisions and dividing things according to momentary agendas.
if we are to open this file, let us address all that is related to it, once and for all.
and that brings me to the answer to your question.
if women legal rights are discussed in the same pathetic way, that is taking each law seperately and exposing it to the people on the street, wishing to receive support, then taking the tour from religious sheikhs to the constituational high court.. we would really reach nothing.
that's why i don't understand what's keeping those in human rights organizations from placing enough pressures to include women rights among the recommendations for citizenship rights reform.
this is a golden chance. it is receiving lots of support, even from those opposing it, cause they can't expose their ugly faces openly in this respect. but treating women rights seperately (and also following the system of one law article at a time) gives those opposers a strong chance to interfere and place obstacles.
do you think people in egypt are ready to accept the idea of equal citizenship rights? can we wait for them until they miraculously discover that it is a must and that it is for their own good? of course not.
the same goes with citizenship rights for women.
having said that, i must salute EFC for her post on female places of worship. this is something that we strongly need in egypt. if there is to be a unified law of places of worship, then why not include places of worship for women? why not include the right of women to lead prayers and give religious speeches?
if women rights are always dealt with as part of human rights in general, we won't have to deal with the same amount of uproar and unneeded controversy i think.

Fantasia said...

dear raaasa,
can't thank you enough for your sweet words and active participation.
the update you provided on this story is also a valuable addition, i have to say.
honestly, i don't believe any true egyptian can tolerate reading this about his own country and its culture! what are we waiting for to wipe out this shame and remove this disgraceful stain that a bunch of psychos have marked all egyptians with?
and why do some religious figures give the impression that such practices have got their justification in islam? what the hell does it mean to say "we don't look at it as violent"? what the fuc* is it then?
are those people insane? why do they always speak and act in a suspicious way? what have they got over their heads that they don't wanna expose? what on earth can be uglier and more evil than defending a crime?
such persons should be put in jail, seriously. this is what true blasphemy is. shame on them.

Amre El-Abyad said...

Dear Eg Anatomists,

Thank you very much for your kind words. It means a lot because they came from you. Also allow me to thank you for postulating my radom notions in an elaborate famework.

Actually, I do agree with many of the points you have laid out.

Nasserism failed to continue because his vision was not instiutionalised. But let's say time was not on his side.

You have already said that China is different context; So, to be consistent you must acknowledge that south east Asia is also a different contxt. The north finaced and ´invested heavily in Taiwan and south Korea so as to contain the communist encrouchement in south Asia.I would even dare to claim that Vietnam would have been China2, hadn't it been for the massive unprecedented destruction wreaked by the U.S. The two aforementioned facts actually complement eachother I wil adress your point regarding soultions in my reply to Fanatasia.

P.S I prefer reading and writing in Arabic , however I have no access to a Arabic key board here. Another factor, I can read ancient Arabic poetry, and I express my emotions better in Arabic. Yet since I am new into writing, My work and studies are carried out in English, so I ma more used to English when it comes to methodologiacal writing. i can switch to Arabic but it will take more time. Besides Wrting is a very tough process for me
Dear Fantasia,

Well, in our last debate you literaly said that you agree with everything I say, then you here on this post you also agreed with Eg anatomist points regarding the existance of real and tangible consituents of an Arab nation. Paradoxically enough, you nit picked on my my seventh point which you shouldn't have done, because it is implicitly presumed that you are convinced with it. Anyway, here is my reply to you :

A culture is defined as :Models of and for reality (by C.Greetz).

So, I could say that it is any socially inherited and subconsciously implanted patterns of behaviour, believes, attidudes, norms for intraction , a general disposition, subconstial instructions, arts, methodologies....etc.

Looking at this defintion, although it should be taken a priori the existance of an Arab culture which is an undeniable fact. We come to believe that there is a common Arab culture of the the Arabic languge, music which is of genre quite distinguished from western, Iranian or Indian music, even when it comes to western music Arabs tastes ar very close. Arab kitchen and food is quite distinguished. Values, ethical codes, morals are very homogenous in the Arab world. There Social structures, societtal norms are veryin duistrinct in Arab culture. Moreover, there is deeply rooted realization among Arabs, though quite understanably cynical most of the time that Arabs have a comon destiny and share the same culture. There are variations among this collective culture of course, however they are negligible compared to the variations among north and south Germans, Indians and chinese.

There is a common Arab civlisation which wraps the above mentioned collection of intrinsic culture in the region so called the Arab world. It is sashred by all Arabs and it is the legitmate hier of the very interwined ancient Arab history in Babylon, Egypt, Phoencia, the same way Europe is the Legitmate hier of the Greco-Roman heritage. MOre importantly Arab civilsation - the integral sum of the semitc peoples. It is, indeed, a continious evoloving, metamorphing cilvisation. In the medival times Arab civisation achieved break through that surpassed the classic Greeks in terms of experimnetal sciense, mathematics, theology, logic, arts, organization and humanitarian tolerant values

Now to address you point regarding moving on in time. Actually I wish we could, unforunately conditions are not yet set. The developed world is in a post industrial era, where all overarching interpretations and ideologies have become quite disfunctional in societies where science, technology and busines have merged, human values have been replaced my consumerism and a totlaitarian market dictaroship. In order to regenrate themsleves and ensure the continuity of the system where consumerism and dog eat dog ethics are prevailent, there must be competition which will lead to social disparites, however, the poeple in the north have reached a stag where it is very difficult to have them marginalised or disenfranchised in favour of ruling elite as its in the third world.

The optimal way out will a neo-colonialism where the south is kept the way it is so as to ensure the continuation of the current world order. Globalisation, free trade, environmentalism are al instruments that are being used to legitemise and freeze the staus quo of the third world.

Egyptian anatomists. Hadn't it been for Mao cultural revolution and communism China would have been able to adopt to a free market econmy. By the way, most of china is as retarded as Egypt except for the eastern cost and Bejing. Also remember what happened to the students revolt in 1989. If China had succumbed to the American pressure for premature politcal liberalisation, we would have been a big mess there. Also remeber that the communist party still holds a firm central grip on the state, and the economy is quite planned. The free market policies are quite regulated, sometimes restricted to certain areas and certain added value investments are particularly encuraged. The role of the party is ensure that everything in China is working for the benefit of people.

Back to Fantasia.

You examples regarding the recent defence pacts between gulf states and the U.S are directed towards Iran. What couldthey, Iraq that used to protect them has been invaded by Iran and the U.S. the horrible crimes and ethnic cleansings carried out by the Persian barbarsa are really scary.. terribly scary.

Regarding the Arab support. Yes a large bit of it was emotional, except in case of Iraq, where it had instiutionalised a prgressive pan arab vision of the counry with a big dedcation to progress cosmopolitanism, modernisations and catching up. Actyually the Baath and Nasser were qyquite rivals. Yet they had an ideal dedication to their principals.

Also Fanatsia I am not against English and french language press as such, rather, It is the content that I am concerned about. Never the less I think that Al-Ahram weekly is really good.

Dear Raassa

Thank you very much for your valuable commnets it told out a lot on gender inequalities. Yey alow to clarify I am not calling for adoting Hitler's visions- I simply used tehm as an illustrative example. Basically I ma a notional scoialist where stae comes from as the first priorty. Consequantly, the prgress of the state and Arabism will be the apparatus used to dilute Gender inqualities, since we all ant a healthy society. And that can be achieved without empowering women since the sxual repression among both women and men is destabilisng factor. At the present it is the cause of many social, econmoic and even political problems heeeee. The women are power in Scoiety they can do all the acticvities traditionally monopolised by men of men as long as they are loyal to Arabism


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"When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid" - Audre Lorde