Qandeel Baloch, a fiercely independent woman who dared to defy the stringent modesty rules of her culture, is dead, murdered by her own family.
The kind of violence she suffered is called an honor killing, and we here in the West too often don’t realize what’s meant by that. We’re given to trite, pithy comments about how there’s nothing honorable about killing your sister or your daughter or your wife. If we understood what honor meant in those cultures, we wouldn’t say such things.
Hiba Krisht has a heartbroken post up that explores many facets of Qandeel’s death and its impact on those who live with the threat of the same thing happening to them. She also explains what honor is. We need to listen. We must understand why these murders happen if we want to help prevent them.
It’s a funny thing to think about, this question of honor.
And what kind of person do you have to be, for your honor to depend on your family members conforming to a restrictive standard of behavior?
This question of honor. And individuals. And anger and and shame and fear. What kind of human do you have to be?
Perhaps, the kind of human who lives in a society where the standing and reputation of your family– its honor– dictates just about every measure of accessibility and livelihood.
A human who lives in a society where a tarnished family name can mean not being able to marry, get a job, support your family, be accepted in the community. Where sexual purity matters because it means being able to get your girls settled and cared for when they grow up, means being able to have comfortable, respected lives and futures.
(In the damningly narrow sense that encompasses home and progeny and food and clothing, but not bodily autonomy, not safety from marital rape, control, abuse?)
A human who lives in a society where the difference between prosperity and total ruin rests on its honor, where a tarnished family name must be restored by removing the source of tarnishing in order to maintain its status, and thus its livelihood.
(Except the source of tarnishing is the body, person, hopes, dreams, agency, will, of this woman here, this child there, this gay man here…these humans, these people. These people. )
A human who lives in a society where individualism is not sustainable and everything is accessed through the community. Where, whether they like it or not, the main social unit is not the individual, but the family, and the conduct of its individuals does effectively bear on the rest of the family, whether it should or not, whether they like it or not, whether they want it or not.
A human who lives in a society where individuals are disposable for the greater good of preserving the family’s status.
(And violence, control, abuse, to live essentially as property that should be grateful to be claimed and kept with a home and family– that is the tax women must pay for existing. To carry the rest of the community forward. Oh.)’
We’re not talking about honor as a personal feeling people have. This is no abstract principle. We’re talking about honor as a social currency threaded into every meaningful thing, valued so highly that exemptions for crimes of honor are written into penal codes, that convicted rapists are exonerated if they restore their victim’s family honor by marrying her after she’s been ‘ruined’– because the crime wasn’t against her body, her person, but her family’s honor.
It’s not about any individual. Was it ever?
It’s about hinging the functioning of an entire society on the standing of its families, and hinging the standing of its families on the individual conduct of its members, with honorable conduct tied fundamentally to sexuality, shame, what one does with one’s body that is the property of the collective, and never one’s own.
And do we have to keep dying, publicly like this, invisibly in hoardes, for all this truth about honor and modesty and purity, inhered in these particularly Muslim values, to come out? To be permitted to talk about where all this comes from, how it works, why it is killing us?
And how much it is ignored, how little acknowledge, how scarce and meager and misguided the help?
Are you ready to listen to that conversation yet? Are you ready to listen?
Qandeel’s last post expresses the hope that things can change. I hope that change is her legacy.
Atleast international media can see what i am upto. How i am trying to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don’t wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices.
Here this one is for those people only.
Thankyou my believers and supporters for understanding the message i try to convey through my bold posts and videos. It’s time to bring a change because the world is changing. let’s open our minds and live in present.