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Friday, May 26, 2006

A dishonorable practice, and the consequences, and a tangent 

First off, I'm going to defend myself against my own immaturity by not explicity referring to the name of the Turkish city from which this report originates. Trust me on this one.

From Reuters/Yahoo:

Bahar Sogut was 14 when she shot herself in the head with her father's gun.

Her mother and grandmother, who live in a small mud-built house in a village...in Turkey's poor southeast, said it was her fate.

"She died with Allah's (God's) bidding," her mother, Nefise Sogut, told Reuters. Fate was the only explanation either gave for what happened.

Bahar Sogut was one of 14 people -- 10 of them women and girls aged under 23 -- who have killed themselves this year in...a city of 250,000 people, activists say. Another was aged 12 and threw herself off a building opposite her school.

Rising suicides among women in the mainly Kurdish southeast has prompted the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Yakin Erturk, to visit the region, where rights activists say families are forcing young women into suicide because the government has clamped down on so-called "honor killings."...

Turkey...has toughened legislation on honor killings, carried out against women seen to have tainted the family's name, for example by having a child outside marriage or merely by being the subject of rumor.

Men, previously treated leniently by judges who considered "honor" a mitigating factor in murder, now face life sentences under a new penal code passed last year. Activists say that has made families put pressure on the woman in question to kill herself to spare the male relative from jail....

But this is not just a Muslim thing. Here's a 2003 story from merry olde England:

Police are to examine the scale of "honour crimes" in the Asian community amid growing evidence that women are being subjected to violence and sometimes murdered for refusing to obey the traditions of their culture....

Their perceived crimes can include wanting to go to university, refusing an arranged marriage or having a boyfriend.

While there is a great deal of research into honour crimes in the Middle East, India and Pakistan, until now British police have not examined the problem in depth....

Officers in east London are considering honour killing as a motive for the murder last month of Anita Gindha, 22, who was heavily pregnant. Mrs Gindha, who was born a Sikh but renounced her religion, was strangled in front of her 18-month-old son.

Detectives suspect she may have been the victim of an honour killing, after learning that she refused an arranged marriage two years ago and fled to London.

She later married her boyfriend but no close relatives attended the wedding.

In January, Sahda Bibi, 21, was stabbed to death on her wedding day in Birmingham after refusing an arranged marriage. West Midlands Police have charged a 25-year-old man with her murder and are still hunting Miss Bibi's cousin, who is believed to have fled to Pakistan.

Sudarshan Bhuhi, who runs a helpline for women, said she dealt with two new cases a day of young women fleeing home because they feared violence for refusing an arranged marriage or disobeying a husband. "Honour crimes are one of the biggest ways of threatening women," she said.

"The threat of violence and death stops women from taking their chosen route.

"Women genuinely fear honour killing; it is one of the first things they think about if they are considering doing something different with their lives." Domestic violence is often the first sign that women will be vulnerable to attack for apparently letting down their family.

Self-harm and attempted suicide - which in young Asian women are three times higher than the national average - are seen as symptoms of the pressures on them to conform....

Ram Gidoomal, a leading Asian businessman, said honour crimes were a "distressing practice". Political correctness was in part blocking exposure of what was going on, he claimed.

"Individuals, usually young women, face either being killed by family members or driven to suicide as a result of the shame perceived to have been caused by their behaviour.

"It is time that all those in authority stopped hiding behind the shield of political correctness, which allows the practice of such killings to take place under the guise of a 'cultural norm'."

And before one puts one's nose in the air and says "Christians would never do that" - well, they would:

Faten Habash's father wept as he assured his daughter there would be no more beatings, no more threats to her life and that she was free to marry the man she loved, even if he was a Muslim. All he asked was that Faten return home.
Hassan Habash even gave his word to an emissary from a Bedouin tribe traditionally brought in to mediate in matters of family honour, a commitment regarded as sacrosanct in Palestinian society. But the next weekend, as Faten watched a Boy Scouts parade from the balcony of her Ramallah home, the 22-year-old Christian Palestinian was dragged into the living room and bludgeoned to death with an iron bar. Her father was arrested for the murder....

Faten Habash's murder was unusual because she came from the Christian minority in the Palestinian territories. Her desire to marry a young Muslim, Samer Hamis, so infuriated her family that the couple decided to elope to Jordan.

Faten's father enlisted the family priest to stop his daughter on the grounds that, even though she was 22, all women are legally regarded as minors under the authority of their male relatives. The Palestinian authorities returned Faten to her home where she was beaten and her pelvis broken as she was either thrown from a window or jumped trying to escape. She spent six weeks in hospital. She sought protection under an ancient Bedouin formula for resolving disputes, known as Tanebeh. Abu Dahouq, a lawyer for the Dawakuk tribe, negotiated with the Habash family.

Mr Dahouq said: "Faten believed she had received a guarantee of security." Two days later she was murdered. "This family had no honour, no manners, no ethics," he said. "And the girl was as honourable as could be. All she wanted to do was marry this man she loved. I think the people in her church also have responsibility for this killing. They told this family that their daughter brought shame, so that makes them part of the crime."

The family priest, Father Ibrahim Hijazin, declined to talk about Faten's killing other than to say he called the Palestinian authorities to prevent her from reaching Jordan. But he says other families would have reacted as hers did. "There is no interfaith marriage among Arabs. Catholics here are Christian by faith and Muslim by culture, and in this community it is forbidden for Christians to marry Muslims. It's not good. It's a tribal mentality. I don't accept it, but it is the culture," he said.

Frankly, I couldn't find a lot more about Christian honor killings (although it's possible that these killings occur under another name). But I did find this:

[Elizabeth Kim] re-creates her uncle and grandfather's gruesome "honor killing" of her rebellious mother, who returned to her [Korean] village with the baby of an American GI--a grim event that launched Kim's painful life as a tainted "half-breed" in a society that reveres its ancestry and traditions. Eventually, Kim was left at a Christian orphanage where disinterested American missionaries provided a steady diet of hymns, biblical parables, small bowls of rice and little else. Desperate to be loved despite her forbidden mixed-race heritage, Kim hoped her fortune would change when she was adopted by a white, fundamentalist American couple. However, their pious tyranny was matched only by the harsh, racist abuse Kim endured at school from her classmates....Seeking to escape, she married the young deacon at her parents' church, who turned out to be an abusive schizophrenic. Fortunately, Kim avoids melodrama in chronicling her flight with her daughter from her tormentor....

However, at least one Korean argues that Elizabeth Kim isn't Korean:

[ks-open] Re: half-white "Kim" Chambers [was: Why honor Elizabeth "Kim" Chambers?]
brian myers brianzhi@hotmail.com
Thu, 28 Dec 2000 08:28:18

...[H]er claim to relate information about Korean culture (unlike your claim as a scholar) rests SOLELY on her purported Koreanness. She casually admits to having done no research into the honor killing issue which forms the center of the book. She herself stresses that Sorrows is just one person's subjective account of life in Korea. It is therefore VERY relevant for her readers to know just what her Koreanness consists in: was she raised to the age of six or seven in a Korean speaking household, say?...Or is Chambers' Koreanness simply a matter of maternal genes and a three year infanthood on the peninsula?...

The fact that Chambers cannot change her skin, or that people in society
will react to her as a Korean-American no matter how marginally Korean she
is, would be relevant only if I were questioning her account of American
racism. I am not; it's about the only part of her story I believe. But the
fact that she may have been discriminated against for being K-A - actually,
for being Asian-American, as she states - does not in itself qualify her to
make sweeping statements about Korean tradition.

The name "Kim" was assumed only in the past few years.

The web records a lot of controversy around 2000, but it seems to have died down. Under the name Elizabeth Kim, Kim or Chambers or whoever is still represented by Greater Talent Network.

Let me go off on a wild tangent and look at Mike Warnke:

In June of 2006, Mike will celebrate his 34th anniversary of full time ministry to the lost and brokenhearted. Mike uses his unique comedic style to gain the attention of his listeners. His painful past history as a satanist high priest, hippie, drug addict, pusher and Naval hospital corpsman attached to a Marine Corps unit in Vietnam has taught him compassion beyond compare. He knows, first hand, no one is too tainted for Jesus.

Uh, what?

In 1992, Cornerstone magazine released a cover story (and the longest article in its history) entitled “Selling Satan: The Tragic History of Mike Warnke,” a 24,000-word exposé of Mike Warnke, an alleged former Satanic high priest and now a popular Christian comedian. Warnke’s ministry spanned nearly 20 years. Our article was a take-off on Warnke’s first book, The Satan Seller (Logos Publishing, 1972) in which Warnke claimed to have led over 1,500 other Satanists near San Bernardino, California.

“Selling Satan” demonstrated that not only was Warnke’s testimony fraudulent, but that Warnke raised money for projects that never materialized, was involved in serious immorality while in public ministy, and that several figures in the contemporary Christian music industry knew about the situation but failed to take biblical steps to resolve it.

Warnke's response:

Q. What about the controversy we heard about, where do things stand with this?
A. The Board of Directors of the ministry asked that the information from the Tribunal Board Hearing be made available to any with questions about the controversial article written in 1992. If further questions remain please let us know and we will direct you to one of the Board Members for further answers.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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