This beautiful young woman’s name is Israa (Ghrayeb).
Israa was a make-up artist from a village near Bethlehem. She died a month ago after being rushed to the hospital with severe wounds. Her family members killed her…in the name of honour (simply because of a picture on Instagram!).
Three male relatives of Israa have been officially charged. Will they go to jail? And if so, for how long?
Will their story serve to make others whose brains may become blinded by the same murderous madness stop to reflect: Enough senseless tragedies in the name of a cultural attachment to an ideological concept like family honour. Fruitful coping efforts are possible when we allow our rationality and (psychological) flexibility to operate. Yes, it is possible to learn to solve conflicts without resorting to crimes. Some ingredients that can help deal with bursts of anger may be simple common sense, love, forgiveness, and humour.
Since the beginning of 2019, 19 Palestinian women died in cases of domestic violence, according to L’Orient Le Jour (Israa is # 19).
In 2018, the number of women killed was 23 in Gaza:
There is no impunity, largely because there is no legal protection yet.
A bill that was supposed to put an end to impunity in domestic violence was finalized in 2004. It is still not adopted by the Palestinian Government, even if the Palestinian Prime Minister declared that the protection of women should be reinforced. Despite his good intentions, it is hard to pass such bill. A culture of “real” patriarchy truly exists in this part of the world.
First, let’s stop to think about the term *honour killing*. Victims, mostly women (+ at times men), are perceived as having caused dishonour to their family because of a shameful behaviour, that is judged as being immoral. This real or just suspected behaviour may be refusing a pre-arranged marriage, having been sexually assaulted, appearing in a picture with a man, being suspected of having kissed a man or having had an intimate relation before marriage, being gay, etc.
Why would honour killing be still committed by some in 2019? Why would the so-called honour of a family be valued more than loving one’s children or forgiving them (for any real, perceived, or even simply suspected behaviour)?
Make no mistake. Israa’s story is NOT only made in Palestine. This sad story could have occurred anywhere in the world, including Canada (i.e., the Shafias, if you recall). However, these tragedies occur primarily in Arab and Muslim countries (e.g., Pakistan, Iran). In Arab countries, we can think of Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and sadly even in Lebanon where, in 2011, the Parliament agreed by a majority to abolish an Article, which was used in the past as an excuse to reduce sentences related to honour killing. That was a piece of good news… but, to truly get rid of honour killing, there should also be a general shift in societal attitudes toward gender-based violence, via massive educational programs in all the communities, perhaps especially in highly religious ones. Even if honour killing is more cultural than religious per se, religion may act as a carrying vehicle for it.
Honour killing also occurs in other countries, namely in South America (e.g., Ecuador, Brazil) and in Asian countries, namely Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Cambodia. One must also note that in India, honour killing can occur in all sorts of families, including Sikh (in Punjab) and Hindu.
Like the horrible murders in Kingston, ON, Canada (i.e., Shafia’s family), several cases of honour killing have occurred throughout France and also in the UK (also in immigrant families).
The article in Le Monde above was published in 2011. It is hard to believe that we are in 2019 and such crimes are still tolerated in some other countries.
Related to this, Bambi cannot help but to wonder to herself: Where are our radical Canadian feminists to join their voices to the tireless women (and men) who have denounced this honour killing?
Perhaps they are too busy denouncing rape cultures or patriarchy in our civilized societies? Perhaps they are comfortable in their “safe spaces”, who knows? Or perhaps like our politicians and societies, they are exhibiting political correctness.
Anyhow, Israa’s story ended with her death. Other forms of barbaric stories, also committed in the name of cultural traditions, lead to another form of death (the brutal unsolicited end of sexual pleasure in life). I am thinking specifically of cases of vaginal mutilation in some parts of the world (e.g., 27 African countries as well Yemen, Irak, and Indonesia):
On this differently disturbing note, Bambi would like to end by hoping that Israa is resting in peace now. May her memory be eternal… Israa, in addition to being beautiful, you were a make-up artist on earth. May you enjoy your rest; wherever you are, perhaps somewhere among the *beautiful* stars in the sky.