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Honor Killings in Europe

by marco Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 07:44:26 AM EST

A few weeks ago, I posted a comment in an Open Thread about a Pakistani girl named Hina Saleem, living in northern Italy, who was killed by her father because she was dating an Italian man.

No one responded to the comment, which I chalked up to the thread having already died out.

But after listening to this BBC radio program about "honor killings" among minorities in Britain, it occurred to me that maybe my comment was simply old news, as they say.

There are few things that are more enraging to me than the fact that people kill their own daughters, sisters, cousins and granddaughters for "bringing shame" on their family by dating someone they do not approve of.  And yet to my shock, I find out that this has been going on regularly in Britain for years.

What the hell is going on?  What continent is this?  What century?  I thought this was atavistic stuff going on among savages* in Baluchistan, not among Europeans* in England and Italy (and other countries?).

Why have we not heard more about this?  Is it because the media doesn't want to be accused of sensationalizing and inflaming a marginal and insignificant issue?  Where the hell is the outrage? (Update [2006-9-4 23:34:6 by bruno-ken]: Migeru answers these questions in the last part of a comment below) Are Western societies going to allow this barbarism to occur within their own borders?  Are the criminals being punished to the full extent of the law?

Adds a whole new dimension to Bend It Like Beckham for me.

Konnie Huq, the host of  Asian Network Report, on which I heard this report, should be praised for bringing attention to this unspeakably shameful and unbelievable phenomenon.Love, "Honour" and Obey
Presented by: Konnie Huq

Promoted by Colman

*Update [2006-9-4 23:34:6 by bruno-ken]: I should not have used the term "savages" to describe the people who practice honor killings, because it was inaccurate, and because it implies irremediableness. As abhorrent as this practice is to me, the term "savage" as applied to people, as opposed to acts or behavior, implies total lack of rationality and socialization. But those who practice honor killings obviously have both. Though I still consider the act itself to be savage -- just as lynchings, aerial bombing of civilians, slavery, suicide bombings, etc. may be considered savage practices -- it does not follow that the people doing these things are "savages".

Furthermore, to call someone a "savage" based on their behavior may imply that the person has no hope of changing that behavior, and thus comes dangerously close to dehumanizing them and devaluing them altogether. For this reason, using the word was wrong, irresponsible, and unconstructive, and I apologize for having done so.



Samaira Nazir was a victim of honour killing. We reveal some shocking attitudes of young British Asians toward so-called "honour" killing.

In July 2006, 25-year old Samaira Nazir's killers were jailed for life. Her 21-year-old brother and teenage cousin murdered her for wanting to marry "an unsuitable boy". Campaigners say so-called "honour" murders in the UK are happening more often and that large numbers of British Asian women across the country are seeking help. Can you help The Asian Network Report examine why "honour"-based violence and abuse is on the increase? The police are trying to understand why these crimes happen - do you?

Shazia's Story

Shazia Qayyum works for Karma Nirvana, an organisation which supports victims of "honour" abuse. Her childhood friend was killed by her father for bringing "shame" upon him and Shazia herself is the survivor of a forced marriage. Listen to her story in full.

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I should hasten to add that from the radio program, the British police do seem to be quite aware of, and quite concerned with, this issue.  It was also at least a little reassuring that the program discusses trials in which not only are the actual killers were convicted, but the real instigators -- usually fathers, mothers and older brothers -- were pursued by the prosecutor (and presumably convicted as well).

Can you imagine: a father, a mother, telling one of their children to kill his sister?  A mother helping to kill her own daughter by holding her down while her son strangles her to death?

What kind of twisted sickness is this?  I know it's only 1 in 10 of British male "Asian youths" (16-34) who say that they think there are cases when honor killing could be justified.  But that's quite enough for me.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 04:54:22 AM EST
at least in Germany.

In the last few years German media also reported on a few cases of honor killings. One was in Berlin. IIRC she was forced into a marriage. Then getting divorced in Germany and living like a "German woman". Two of her brothers invited her to meet them for a talk. She was gunned down by the youngest brother, 18 or so. Allegedly decided by the parents. Why?

Because in Germany, young people (between 18-21 years) normally won´t be prosecuted as adults. Meaning that he won´t get a life sentence but only a 10 year sentence. With time off for good behaviour. So he gets out after 6 or so years. Seems to be an acceptable price to protect the family honor. :(

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 03:08:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was very shcked watching a programme that featured a group of young indan men and women and seeing the complete gulf between their understanding of life. The women were desperate to make their own decisions, to become fully adult and self-determining. But the males felt that these self-same women, their sisters and cousins carried the family honour around and thiat it was their jobs to "protect" the owmen. that is to keep them coralled and restricted so that the men could be free to carouse without fearing some other guy was interfering with their honour.

It was nauseating. What was worse was that it had obviously never been discussed in such stark terms in front of the women and they were becoming visibly distressed as the programme went on as they began to realise what it meant.

Still, no doubt Ted will be all over me for having an opinion on this as well.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 05:36:13 AM EST
It's a lot easier to accept traditional values when you're not at the sharp end of them ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 05:48:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...or any values.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 04:46:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In this radio program one guy says that the traditional values of the communities where these people came from in Kashmir, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, were very unhelpful for young men on the streets of London and Birmingham, even counterproductive; but somehow the traditional values for women -- such as being modest, patient, hard-working, etc. -- were extremely helpful for the women from these communities to succeed and do brilliantly in mainstream British society.  Thus posing additional tension between the sexes, and a cultural disconnect as well.  Unspoken, but I sensed it, was a resentment by the men towards the women for succeeding where they could not.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.
by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 06:15:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That wouldn't surprise me at all.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 06:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's an interesting idea. What values held the men back ? I will listen to the radio programme, but I haven't got the time right now to concentrate on it and would miss too much.

I wonder if it's related to this story ? I remember a Guardian columnist, James Cameron, who semi-retired to indian sub-Himalya to write a book. He had a weekly column about the affairs of his village and he gradually became extremely dismissive bordering on contemptuous of the males who just seemed to sit around and tell women what to do.

He finally became involved over the issue of the water supply to the village, which the women had to carry in pots from two miles away over the hill. He persuaded the men to take advantage of a Govt grant to have it piped over and, although they were keen for the money, were reluctant to actually do any of the digging. Especially fearing that the spare time for the women freed from water-carrying would lead to extra hen-pecking !!!

When JC started helping the women to dig the trench, he was summarily told to leave the village by the next available donkey.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 06:55:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The guy didn't elaborate on what specific "men's values" he was referring to.  I would be curious to know what he meant myself.

Your story about James Cameron reminds me of an episode on a Japanese television program I sometimes watch called Ururun.  Each episode, they send a young up-and-coming celebrity to a foreign country to live with a family there for a week and experience what life is like in that family's community.  There have been episodes in hunter-gatherer villages in the deep Amazonian jungle to Lyon, France.  Anyway, the episode I am thinking of was in village Papua New Guinea (I think), and the men in the village literally did NOTHING all day but sit around in their hammocks all day chewing and drinking the local narcotic, while the women took care of the kids, worked the gardens, went gathering for food, made the clothing, etc.  I think the men would participate in some hunts from time to time and some ritual dances as well.  So one day, the Japanese celebrity -- a woman in her twenties -- basically gets so fed up with the ridiculous imbalance of work that she rounds up a bunch of women and walks over to the men's hut and tells them, "Yo, dudes, you need to get up off your asses and pitch in with some work around here."  In their hallucinogenic stupor, the men did not seem to grasp the radical concept being presented to them, and basically blew them off.

What struck me most about this scene was how readily and eagerly the women of the village agreed to the idea and actually got pretty vocal about getting the men to work.  Amazing how one starlet from a totally alien country could (nearly) cause in one day a cultural revolution to upset the age-old "traditional values" of this isolated village.

I wonder how common such -- to our eyes -- unequal distributions of work load between the sexes were in "primitive" societies around the world.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 07:52:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a perfectly fair split: the men were strategising. It's what we're good at.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 08:00:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole idea of men "supporting" their families by working hard came only in the more advanced stages of the Industrial Revolution. I've never read or heard of a pre-industrial society where free men (as opposed to slaves) worked harder than their sisters and spouses.
by Matt in NYC on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:54:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Culture. What a delightful thing. I'll point out for a start that honour killings are generally considered contrary to Islamic law, never mind any civil law. They're a cultural thing, like witch-burning.

As I understand it, the genesis comes from a tribal system with no central authority to keep order or to punish crime and with loyalty only to the tribe and family. Crimes against members of another tribe/family were punished by the tribe and family or failing that by a terribly expensive feud with the other tribe when they punished the transgressor.

Combine this with a patriarchal culture in which women remain part of the father's family even after marriage and you get the sort of honour killing you see here: the husband, who is sinned against by an adulterous wife can't punish her because that would lead to a feud, so her own family does it. I'm assuming that in principle the family of the man should punish him but given a full patriarchy his punishment is often - but not always - light.

Now mix in the concept that the woman slights her father's honour by her behaviour, add a dash of her virginity being his property - which it was in a world where it had effectively commercial value - and you arrive at the system of honour killings.

It all pre-dates Islam by a long time and exists in other cultures. It's perfectly rational - if intensely evil - in a tribal culture and completely maladapted to the modern world. It's not that different to the concept of forcing a man to marry a woman he has "dishonoured" that was prevalent in our part of the world until relatively recently. The difference is that in a tribal society violence against the groom would have caused a lot of bloodshed."

The practice then spreads to other slights against honour, like homosexuality or being a victim of rape, by gruesome application of twisted logic.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 05:47:39 AM EST
In the program as well, it is explained that honor killing is not religious, but tribal-cultural, in origin, although many people seem to try to twist the Koran to justify the custom (one father who killed his daughter even tried to used the Koran in court to justify it.)

Also, in the program, representatives of concerned members of the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities get together to discuss the matter and steps to bring more visibility to the matter within their respective communities.  From their words, I got the sense that honor killings -- or at least, "honor violence", and forced marriage-related injustices -- were a phenomenon in each of their communities.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 06:19:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an issue in "the West" in any "immigrant" community that has deep roots in the kind of tribal society that Colman describes.

An interesting parallel is female circumcision which comes out of similar tribal backgrounds, but shows up mostly in the UK in various African communities (at the moment.)

The biggest difficulty in policing all this is that many of the women in these communities (the mothers, the sisters) consent or even collaborate in the perpetuation of the practice.

1 in 10 young Asian men have been brought up in this kind of atmosphere. That's depressing, but not entirely surprising. That's between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 families stuck in this cultural timewarp from where the tribes rule. (1 boy per family? 2 boys?)

I have no idea if that number represents historical progress or not, because I have no idea what the pattern of immigration has been in that level of detail.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 08:02:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it not moderately likely that families with this sort of attitude will have larger than normal numbers of children?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 08:04:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh entirely likely. But again I have no idea how many of them turn out to be girls. I was thinking 4-5 children, 1-2 boys on average.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 08:11:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an issue in "the West" in any "immigrant" community that has deep roots in the kind of tribal society that Colman describes.

I have heard it said that tribal/cultural traditions among the Hmong (ethnic group from Laos/Myanmar/Vietnam) and Somali immigrant populations in the U.S. were a factor behind violence, gang rape, organized crime that gangs of boys from these communities got involved in.  But I did not learn enough about the issue to say one way or another how much of these problems were indeed culturally or tradition-based.

I have no idea if that number represents historical progress or not, because I have no idea what the pattern of immigration has been in that level of detail.

Yes, this remark reminds me of something important that you said in our conversation, echoing Jerome, that assimilation/integration of immigration communities takes time, but will happen, if we work patiently and constructively towards that.  I agree with that.  I just hope that as time goes on, the ratio of families stuck in the tribal timewarp is dropping, and at an accelerating rate.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 08:43:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't heard the programme, but if one in 10 Asian youths believes honour killing is sometimes justified, that doesn't mean they've necessarily been brought up in a household that holds those views.

Peer groups, though no longer regarded as the sole factor affecting adolescents, have a significant influence.  One charismatic aggressor can pull a lot of others along with him.  Damning the families of these "1 in 10" extends the pool of blame to up to one in ten British Muslims.  I really don't think that's the case.
by Sassafras on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 08:59:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, British Asians.  My mistake.  Think I was replying to the background Islamophobia on another site I visit.
by Sassafras on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:33:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a great explanation, and as you say, does reveal a certain "rationality" behind it.

Western society, and others, also had (have?) the notion that death is an appropriate punishment for adultery (especially against women).  And I believe, but am not sure, that crime passionnel has been and may continue to be a defense strategy  in cases where husbands murder their adultering wives.  So that much we have -- traditionally -- with these honor killing cultures.  (You also mention what Americans call "shotgun marriages" as another similarity.)

Besides the fact that women tend more often than not to be the victims -- of the crime and of the punishment -- in all these cases, my bigger problem with this way of sorting things out is that whereas it may keep some level of law and order without devolving into bloody clan feuds, such codes are just to vulnerable to abuse through opportunistic hypocrisy at the expense of the woman.

For example, rather than be a way to inhibit women from being unfaithful to their husbands or betrothed, it becomes a way for parents to manipulate their daughters -- and sons -- as economic objects.

For another example, you know the case of Pakistani woman Mukhtaran Bibi?

In June 2002, the police say, members of a high-status tribe sexually abused one of Ms. Mukhtaran's brothers and then covered up their crime by falsely accusing him of having an affair with a high-status woman. The village's tribal council determined that the suitable punishment for the supposed affair was for high-status men to rape one of the boy's sisters, so the council sentenced Ms. Mukhtaran to be gang-raped.

"Sentenced To Be Raped"

Ms. Mukhtaran didn't do ANYTHING.  In fact, her brother was RAPED by the tribe who then punished HER by raping her.  My brain just shuts down with rage when I think about this story.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 08:15:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All appalling. But not that different in mindset to (say) women in Ireland being committed to asylums or sent into convents for inappropriate sexual behaviour or having children out of wedlock. Honour killings are an extreme example of the crappy things societies do to their weaker members but they're not all that exceptional.

Besides the fact that women tend more often than not to be the victims -- of the crime and of the punishment -- in all these cases, my bigger problem with this way of sorting things out is that whereas it may keep some level of law and order without devolving into bloody clan feuds, such codes are just to vulnerable to abuse through opportunistic hypocrisy at the expense of the woman.

That's why we invented laws and societies capable of enforcing them and then spent the next couple of millennia getting rid of some of the more obvious idiocies.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 08:31:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Amen.

it is more than a four....it is warmer.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:24:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just like slavery, it is just a consequence of allowing ownership of other people, isn't it? It's just commercial justice in action, then.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 08:49:47 AM EST
And we should be no less acharné in stamping out honor killings just because it is a foreign tradition, than we have been in stamping out slavery, a native Western tradition.

(Not that slavery -- while long outlawed -- has been stamped out.)

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:06:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry.

I do nto see killing for honour any different or any more repulsive than killing for money, fame, drugs, oil... it is just our western vision of the world that makes it like these.

Killing someone is killing someone..no matter why you do it. Any murder should get the same attention.

In Spain the number one reason for murder is killing women because they "belong" to the husband...and I have not seen any major diary here... and believe..it is a pandemy in Spain...reaching 100 women per year.

Killing is killing.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:04:54 AM EST
Who in Spain is condoning the killing of those 100 women per year because they "belong" to the husband?

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.
by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:09:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody. It is one of the biggest issues of the day. One of Zapatero's major legislative projects was a "gender violence law".

The only thing Europe can do to stamp out honour killings, domestic violence and jealousy killings is to prosecute the murderers and any instigators, and, most importantly, to take reports of abuse seriously and impose restraining orders.

Many wife and girlfriend killers in Spain kill themselves, too, so there is not much that can be done by way of punishment. In some egregious cases reports of abuse had been disregarded, but because of growing public alarm and hopefully the gender violence law, this will be less common in the future. However, there is no way to stop someone from breaking a restraining order, especially if they are suicidal (they kill themselves, too, as I said).

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:16:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I may ask an indelicate question: these killings in Spain are happening among "native" Spanish population or among immigrant communities?

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.
by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:21:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
:)

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude
by kcurie on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:25:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain's main problem with immigrant communities is female circumcision.

These are jealousy killings, not honour killings.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:42:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US and Egypt had a fight over female circumcision shortly after 9/11, if I remember correctly.  It's no more acceptable than honor killings (or jealousy killings).  Are women not supposed to enjoy sex?  If women are to be treated this way, we should not play ball with these countries.  This is one area where I have got to insist on saying, "Excuse me, but to hell with your culture."

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 10:49:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And when I say "nobody", I would venture that not even the killers condone their own actions. They kill themselves, they give themselves in to the police... It is relatively rare that they feel proud or justified about their action, as those involved in honour killings usually are. I don't know of any statistics, but I would imagine when these jealousy killings get to a trial, a "momentary insanity" defence might be used.

The idea of "owning" the wife that kcurie talks about is captured in the traditional saying la maté porque era mía [I killed her because she was mine].

There is a blog entry about this over at escolar.net right now, by the way.

Escolar.net: If she's not mine she shall be nobody's (September 03, 2006)Escolar.net: Si no es mía no será de nadie (Septiembre 03, 2006)
"You must have been petrified to find out what happened, but the thing had been brewing for days... Out of the blue she asked me to get separateed and in the beginning I found it strange, but I didn't take it badly. It was strange to me because our [relationship] was going well.  She had her joob and I mine, the usual quarrels and problems, but out of the blue she asks me to get separated, she gets pretty, she arranges herself. She goes out some nights and I get so jealous and so stunned that I cannot recognise myself. I asked her whether she had someonne else and she said no. I think she must have gotten together with two or three separated women or she must have gotten into a women's association and they brainwashed her. She says she doesn't feel anything about me any longer. I am taken over by jealousy. A strange force takes hold of me that night and I committed those acts which God won't forgive. I saw that I was going to lose her and I also think that I must have dedicated myself more to her and give her her position because sometimes I went too far..."
"Te habrás quedado de piedra cuando te enteraste de los hechos, pero la cosa venía cociéndose de días atrás... De buenas a primeras me pidió la separación y a mí al principio me extrañó, pero no me lo tomé a mal. Me extrañó porque lo nuestro iba bien. Ella con su trabajo, yo con el mío, las discusiones y los problemas de siempre, pero de buenas a primeras me pide la separación, se pone guapa, se arregla. Sale algunas noches y me pongo tan celoso y tan aturdido que me desconozco a mí mismo. Le pregunté si tenía otra persona y me dijo que no. Yo pienso que se juntaría con dos o tres separadas o se metería en alguna asociación de mujeres y le comieron la cabeza. Me dice que ya no siente nada por mí. Los celos me invaden. Se apodera una fuerza extraña de mí aquella noche y cometí aquellos hechos que no tienen perdón de Dios. Veía que la iba a perder y también pienso que debí volcarme más en ella y darle su posición porque a veces me pasé..."
The letter is real. A man imprisoned months ago for killing his wife tries to explain to a friend what happened.La carta es real. Un hombre encarcelado hace unos meses por matar a su mujer intenta explicar a un amigo qué pasó.
If you read Spanish you can look at the comment thread.

Colman, does scoop support trackback links?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:40:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not directly.

I use this on occasion.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:41:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks. Could you add this to the user guide, wherever that's supposed to be?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is nuts.  I could not help but think of Don José when reading this letter: mad passion completely overwhelming one's socialized internal controls.

I wish I could read Spanish better, I would definitely try to read the rest of that post.

When did these killings start?  I have a bunch of questions, which I listed to kcurie below, but I could not find anything about this in English, unbelievably.  Will keep looking.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 10:31:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Never mind.  I just saw your last comment that this has been going on for a very very long time.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.
by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 10:38:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Noone. How could have I said so? I did not say such a thing. I did have a couple of problem with the diary but accusing you of defending "jealous killings", that would be insane ( and I am not insane yet :))

I thought that your rethoric about not talking about honour killings in Eurotrib could be a little bit more tham rethoric and that you actually may think that we should talk more about it. I do not think so. I do not think we should talk more about honour killings.... and my reasoning is clear..there are reasons for killing that are much more common and more widespread..like the example in Spain...and we just do not talk about it. why is honour killings any different? For your narrative it seems the reason could be that these are murders comitted by "foreigners" (imported...if I would have to decosntruct your diary I would say something like "we luckily get rid of it..and those inmigrants briung it back") or that they are more repulsive. I happen to disagree.

The example of Spain was also useful because the "jealous-women property reason" kills two orders of magnitude more people and becuase it is done by "us" (if you consider white male spanish "us") and not by "foreign savages" as the narrative of your diary seems to imply.

But at no point I would accuse you of defending murder... should I get angry for the implied accusation? No, not really.. I guess it was rethoric ( I hope so :) I really hope you do not think anyone can accuse anyone here of defending murder...)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 09:22:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course I agree that all murder is wrong.  But don't you think that some kinds of murder should be handled differently by society than others, in order to understand them and ultimately to stop them?

1 - Because the murders, and their victims, are not getting enough attention (I am fairly new to this issue of honor killings, but based on the radio program I listened to above, the average of reported 13 honor killings a year in the U.K. was called the "tip of the iceberg".)

and/or

2 - Because there may be a different dynamic behind them that causes them to happen more often than other kinds of killing (for example, racially motivated murders against blacks in the U.S. have, I think, a very different dynamic than murders by lone serial killers.)

I asked "Who is condoning such killings?" to get information, not for rhetoric.  I wanted to find out if those murders were honor killings by immigrant families as in my diary, or if they were murders initiated and committed only by the lover or husband.  (From your most recent comment, I gather it is the latter.)

So, the difference -- and I think it is a significant difference -- is that honor killings are condoned by at least one part of a community (a community within a community), and justified by a tradition or ideology.  In this sense, they are very much like lynchings of blacks by mobs by whites in the U.S. at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, to name one example.  I think these two factors -- social/communal approval and justification through tradition/ideology -- may make honor killings more dangerous than other "socially aberrant" killings, in which the murderer does not feel or seek approval of his deed by some community to which he belongs, nor finds motive or justification in some tradition or ideology.

Regarding the wave of Spanish murders of women, I knew nothing about this phenomenon.  It sounds quite scary in its own right, though for different reasons than honor killings.  While honor killings do have a certain "logic" -- a logic which I find scary precisely because it is one that is potentially the source for more and more such murders -- these jealousy killings in Spain do not seem to have a logic beyond the reemergence of some medieval concept of women as men's property, as you wrote.  And despite this lack of logic, this lack of reason, there is this sudden wave of them.  But perhaps there is something more?  Are these murders committed all over Spain, or only in some regions?  Do most of the murderers belong to the same socioeconomic class?  What is the age range of most of the killers?  Could there be a copy-cat effect at work?  Was there some Spanish movie or book or series recently that romanticized crimes of passion, the same way Die Leiden des jungen Werthers set off a wave of suicides when it was published?  And so on.

If there are no such patterns, then perhaps as you say, there is nothing to be done -- no point in diarying about it -- and leave it to the police to do their work.

But this does not mean that no other kinds of murders deserver particular attention simply because "killing is killing".

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 10:08:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who said anything about "a wave" of killings or a "re-emergence" of "medieval" (whaaat???) attitudes? This has been going on forever, as far as I know.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 10:13:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just never had heard of it before.

Also, kcurie's

it is a pandemy in Spain...reaching 100 women per year.

and your

It is one of the biggest issues of the day.

led me to assume that it was a recent phenomenon.  I did not realize this has been going on for so long.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 10:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Awareness is rising, as is anger [especially among women] that this still goes on in supposedly modern Spain. Which is why it is one of the bigger issues of the day. Also, it is possible that these killings went unreported before (shame, honour, again). I don't know.

It is possible that as women become emancipated and economically independent there are more occasions for these situations to arise than previously, but I have no feeling that this phenomenon is, in any way, "new".

I don't think husbands thinking they own their wives is a "medieval" attitude, it's the pathological form of emotional attachment that underlies jealousy.

How many women are killed by their (ex) partners in the US each year? Do we have statistics?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 10:52:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many women are killed by their (ex) partners in the US each year? Do we have statistics?

Jesus.  It's worse in the U.S. than in Spain:

The FBI reports that approximately 1,500 women are killed each year by husbands or boyfriends.

Domestic Violence Factoids

In other words, 1 woman killed by her partner per 100,000 women in the USA vs. 1 per 200,000 in Spain.

I don't think husbands thinking they own their wives is a "medieval" attitude, it's the pathological form of emotional attachment that underlies jealousy.

I may be naive, but for a man to think he owns his wife strikes me as way, way archaic, and yes, medieval.  The feeling itself may be common and current (and pathological), but the thinking that a woman becomes your property just because you marry her, that I think is indeed quite medieval.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:12:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not medieval, it's primate pychology. I am convinced it is the underlying mechanism of jealousy.

Spain got its Organic Law on Measures for Wholesale Protection from Gender Violence at the end of 2004, one of the first points on Zapatero's platform to be implemented. Where is the outrage and the social movement in the US to enact similar legislation? Does the US press report every jealousy killing like the Spanish press does? When you read about one of those in the US, do you immediately thing about "medieval" attitudes?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:23:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Primate psychology when there is a shortage of mates, anyway.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:26:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What function would jealousy serve for primates?  To protect sperm from other males--to protect lineage?  Are there other primates apart from humans who follow lineage through male descent?

Have I no idea what I'm talking about?  This is not a question but I'll end with a question mark anyway?

(I'm thinking of bonobos and chimps--chimps shag and scarper; bonobos shag and shag and shag... Were you thinking of other primates?)

(15 kyu and rising slowly;)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:58:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking of Baboons and Orangutans, as well.

Basically, outside of Bonobos which don't quite shag but mutually masturbate for material compensation and are matriarchal, you have alpha males who keep a harem of females and a bunch of young, horny males who have two choices, go rape the neighbouring bands' females or take on the alpha male.

The Alpha male owns all females and is extremely jealous.

I'm not a primatologist, so take this with a bucketful of sand.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:03:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
two choices, go rape the neighbouring bands' females or take on the alpha male.

Or sneak a bit on the side with a willing female. Happens a lot apparently.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:05:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the sand.  

Toodlie toodlie toodlie...Ah.  There we go.



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:32:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant salt, you know?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 02:17:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 04:57:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(15 kyu and rising slowly;)

I don't believe the first clause. Where are you getting your rating estimate from?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:05:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
igowin.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:29:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Suggested reading. I suggest you get an account on KGS [Kiseido Go Server]. According to this,
The rank display by Igowin is extremely unrealiable and tends to overestimate you by 8 to 15 kyu. Going by my personal experience, if you can beat Igowin at even games reliably, your rank should be 20 - 25 kyu on KGS.


Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:42:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure you know about The Thirty-Six Strategies of the Dark School of Taoism.  I didn't until I read my new book, "Go!  More than a Game," by Peter Shotwell.  Even more esoteric than the Tao Te Ching.

STRATEGIES TO TAKE WHAT YOUR OPONENT HAS

  1. Steal the Beams and Change the Pillars--Look like you are after territory when you are really after influence, and vice-versa.

  2.  Point at the Mulberry and Abuse the Locust--The art of combining tesujis and sacrifices to confuse the weaker players, especially in the middle game.

  3.  Feign Stupidity Instead of Madness--Feign ignorance and make no move rather than assuming knowledge and making rash moves.  Both the deer and the weak Go player are caught by the movement.  "If there is no good move, play elsewhere" is a Go proverb.

  4.  Remove the Ladder After the Enemy Is on the Roof--Allow your opponents to attack repeatedly so that their connections become thin.  When the time is right, then mount a strong counterattack that cuts up everything.

  5.  Silk flowers Bloom in the Tree--If you have made a mistake in reading out a life-and-death problem, don't panic.  Determine if your opponent knows this.  If not, chances are it will hold up for a long time.

  6.  The Host Becomes the Guest; the Guest Becomes the Host--Try to master the art of invasion.

At the local Go club (I went last Tuesday), a very friendly young lad pulled out a 9x9 board, I'm a beginner, he's going to give me a game.  He lays out four black stones.

"Okay," he says.  "You are now in a winning position.  You have all the corners.  The only thing I can do is disrupt you."

Which he did.  At one point I said, "So, are your pieces safe down there on the bottom line?"

"Well, let's see," he said.  "Where could I place my stones to make eyes?"

We pondered.  I found the points.  I was about to place my stone elsewhere.  He said, "The thing is, the vital points are vital for both players."

Later, or was it earlier on, he said, "Some people think you have to win by loads, but in Go you only have to win by one, and you've still won."

I did once beat igowin after it told me I'd lost.  It's a preparation for me, learn the basics kind of situation, I'd be lost on a 13 or 19 board--too many patterns.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 07:09:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're ready to write a Go diary, to follow up on your diary on Sun Tzu.

Check this out: The 36 Stratagems of Go, Military Go Proverbs.

"We have no intel. We can't find the insurgents. When they bomb something, we only know about it afterward. We can't figure them out. Someone said, 'We play chess, they play Go.' All we can do is lose. All we can do is bomb." — Seymour Hersh quoted on Common Dreams


Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 05:06:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do ET readers want a diary about Go from a beginner?  

(I can research a bit, but you are the expert (more more expert than me for sure.)  Your skill vs. my ignorance (in the pure sense of--I not no!  I not no!)...I'd expect your additions to be more interesting and informative than the diary I could write.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 06:07:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But your writing is so much more fun!

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 06:10:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mysteriouser and mysteriouser...

(I've lost the link; the text below refers to the Thirty Six Strategies)

The origins of this book are unknown. No author or compiler has ever been mentioned, and no date as to when it may have been written has been ascertained. All modern versions are derived from a tattered book discovered at a roadside vendor's stall in Sichuan in 1941. It turned out to be a reprint of an earlier book dating back to the late Ming or early Qing dynasty entitled, The Secret Art of War, The Thirty-Six Strategies. There was no mention of who the authors or compilers were or when it was originally published. A reprint was first published for the general public in Beijing in 1979.

(I'm off to the Go group this evening.  Friendly people playing Go in a pub two minutes from my house...I asked in the Chinese supermarket for a Go board...(have I told you this?)

"Go?  No, no Go," the woman said.

"It's called Win Wei in chinese, I think."

(Another woman came over.)

"Win Wei?" she said.  "No, no Go."

"Wi Ki?  Win ki?  It's something like that."

She frowned.  "No.  No.  Oh. Ah!  You speak Mandarin!  I didn't realise.  I speaking Cantonese!"

Turns out the only place to buy Go boards and, more importantly, Go stones is another chinese shop.  The woman there told me:

"You want play Go?  Every Tuesday.  The pub near the station.  After eight."


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 06:42:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turns out the only place to buy Go boards and, more importantly, Go stones is another chinese shop.

Warning: there are three major Go traditions, Japanese, Korean (BaDuk) and Chinese (WeiQi). Korean playing material is generally exchangeable with the Japanese one, but cheaper [the Japanese are extremely sophisticated and can make really, really expensive stuff, but a set of korean glass stones is good enough for all practical purposes]. Chinese playing material is different. Japanese boards are not square, they are in an 11:12 proportion, while Chinese boards are square. Chinese boards and stones are slightly larger than Japanese ones. Also, Japanese stones are biconvex (curved on both sides, like lentils) while chinese stones are plano-convex (flat on one side, like split lentils).

Having gotten Go from the Japanese, Westerners are biased to prefer the Japanese style. I need to get a Chinese set just for collector interest.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 06:50:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At the pub I saw:

--A tiny magnetic set (oh the eye strain!)
--A decent sized wooden board, 19x19, and biconvex stones
--A foldable 19x19 board (I liked that one) and more biconvex stones

(in fact I didn't see any stones that weren't biconvex--except for the magnetic ones)

--a board with a 13x13 on one side and a 9x9 on the other (I liked this one, too--9x9 is a different game, I think, good for beginners like me, but also good for a quick quick session.  But I'm not sure about 13x13.  Is it a halfway house board or does it have a subtlety of its own?  I'm sure it does.  Anyway, for now (coz I'm 30 kyu or thereabouts--maybe 15878 kyu? ;) according to your link site) I'm gonnae learn on the computer (the only opponent free late at night--I'm on dialup so all the online facilities are no-go for me (time = £££)...

I'll write "Can I have an excellent GO set, please?" in my letter to

When you come down for a visit, make sure you're here for the Tuesday evening...

;)

This
message
is
probably
very
squas
hed
if
you
read
it
on
the
ori
gi
nal
pa
ge
.

;)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 07:18:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I forget, where would I be coming for a visit?

In my mind, 9x9 games are the equivalent of 5-minute games at a chess club.

Each board size is its own game. Did you know there is an archaic Tibetan version played on a 17x17 board? I have heard suggestions that as the 19x19 game is perfected [especially if a computer gets to beat humans consistently] we will move to 21x21.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 07:26:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To our new-and-improved flat (now with loft extension!--well, it'll be finished by the end of the month)...down by the sea...50 minutes from Victoria station, an hour and ten from London Bridge...



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 07:33:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
rg, if you and Miguel write a diary on Go, i will be the first one to read it!

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.
by marco on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 07:44:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you a player?

(For non-players who are interested, google "igowin freeware", download the file (less than 1mb), unzip, and you'll be ready to play as well as me!  Hence my thought that Migeru would be a better (=more informative) diary writer.  Everything I know (and don't) is already in this thread ;)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 07:57:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not yet, but I have been thinking about learning.  Maybe I will try that igowin.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.
by marco on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 07:36:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Last night; the pub.  Mobile phone conversation between woman Go player sitting to my left (who is thinking of giving me a game) and her son:

"I'm torn between spending time with you darling, and thrashing the new guy."

Enjoy ;)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 03:59:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Avoid said woman like the plague.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 04:58:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know about that. The plague will kill you horribly and painfully. That woman, however, sounds like trouble.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 05:14:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What function would jealousy serve for primates?  To

It's self-reinforcing: when there's a shortage of mates then males who are careful not to allow other males access to mates and are successful would have more offspring than other males. If the tendency to jealously bred true it would tend to be evolutionary successful.

Note, at this point we're wandering into the joys of, of ... what is the explanation of psychology through flights of speculation about evolution called anyway?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:11:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what is the explanation of psychology through flights of speculation about evolution called anyway?

Oops, I was about to answer something rude...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:16:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Evolutionary psychology"? Doesn't sound right.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:17:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bollocks?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:19:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That could be it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:20:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've had a lot of experience with chimps and monkeys, and I can tell you they are the least faithful of animals, and to their credit, not very jealous either. Competition for mates -- or, more accurately, mating -- can get pretty ugly, but I've never seen a male abuse a female for even the most outrageous randiness.

(Gorillas may be different -- they have alpha males with harems -- but if they are, they and homo sapiens sapiens are the exceptions in the primate sex scene.)

by Matt in NYC on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:09:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:11:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the US press report every jealousy killing like the Spanish press does?

No, I doubt it.  Having said that, I think I may not have used the right figure to correspond to what you call "jealousy killing".  Not all cases of domestic abuse/murder against women can be called "jealousy killings".  I wonder even if the majority of them can be.  So there might in fact be far fewer cases of "jealousy killings" in the USA than I cited above.  (If half of domestic violence murders against women are in fact jealousy killings, than the US is on par with Spain in per capita jealousy killings.)

I would have to look into it more to see if and how jealousy killings are tracked in the USA.  If they are on the scale that they are in Spain (which seems likely, but not certain), than there should be outrage, and perhaps special legislation.

Having said that, I still think there is something quite different between jealousy killings and honor killlings.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 07:55:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I call them "jealousy killings" but it is just "domestic violence" that we're talking about: women being killed by their (ex)-partners.

What Marek brought up honour killings in the Mediterranean basin was so obvious to me I didn't think it was worth mentioning. Part of that may be because it plays into the "Catholic countries are backwards" meme so pervasive in the Protestent North of Europe and, by extension, in the US.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 04:45:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As much as I am bothered by discussions of Lorca, who is often the only Spanish author that Americans are exposed to and leads to them believing that Spain is stuck in the 1930's, it might be instructive to review three of his tragedies:
Blood Wedding
Barren
The House of Bernarda Alba

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 05:32:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have not read Lorca yet; thanks for the recommendations.

What these "jealousy killings" evoked for me were Carmen.  But then again, that is a French work, isn't it.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 06:23:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Carmen is an orientalist [I know the label doesn't quite apply, but the attitude is essentially the same] view of Spain, from a time when the French believed L'Afrique commence aux Pyrenées [Africa begins at the Pyrenees].

Another author whose view of Spain should not be touched with a 10' pole is Hemingway.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 06:29:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of Hemingway's views shouldn't be touched with a 10' pole. Oh, but his writing ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 06:32:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Boring. I had to endure A Farewell to Arms to prepare for a Cambridge English examination and I got pretty tired of his 5-monosyllabic-word sentences pretty quick.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 06:34:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What Marek brought up honour killings in the Mediterranean basin was so obvious to me I didn't think it was worth mentioning.

I thought that was all Hollywood Godfather B.S.

Part of that may be because it plays into the "Catholic countries are backwards" meme so pervasive in the Protestent North of Europe and, by extension, in the US.

I was raised Catholic by a pretty devout Catholic mother, among lots of Italian-Americans who were very proud of their roots in their paese natale, so that might be why I didn't get infected by that particular meme.  (Although that didn't immunize me from some other "anti-Catholic" memes.)

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 06:20:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What Marek brought up honour killings in the Mediterranean basin was so obvious to me I didn't think it was worth mentioning.

I thought that was all Hollywood Godfather B.S.

What made you think the reconstruction of 1950's Sicily in The Godfather was BS?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 06:24:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By default, I assume any "historical fiction" that Hollywood does has really high B.S. content until shown otherwise.

And in the case of The Godfather in particular, the fact that the reconstruction of the 1950's New York mafia world was romanticized B.S. made it natural to suppose that its reconstruction of 1950's Sicily was romanticized B.S. as well.

Not to say that I didn't love it, nor that I don't think it's a great movie!

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 07:43:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe we are differing on our idea of "property".  If you mean by "property", the same feeling that children have when they scream, "That's MINE!  You can't have any," then yes, I would say that this is something common, perhaps even biological, in humans.

Where I differ with you is that I do not think it is any longer common or normal for men to consciously elevate this feeling to a socially (and legally) approved notion of conventional wealth property.  That in my opinion is, if not medieval, then at least "pre-modern" (though Margouillat in his comment above did the push the timeline for "modern" closer and closer to the present time for me.)

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 08:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Property" in the sense of the very common cliche in cheesy pop love songs "you'll be mine" "I'll be yours", whatever...

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 04:40:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't want to play this down one little bit, but it seems to me we have discussed this kind of problem here before, and secondly, we need to be careful of the media. It's a hot-button issue because it really sets off a lot of feeling. And the media like emotional subjects.

What a great media story, for example, the one with the Japanese starlet yelling out the stoned idle menfolk in their hammocks. She's representing all the women in her home country (and perhaps some of the men too, on the grounds that they have to work long hours). That is the cultural reference, not the state of affairs in the village yet another TV team is invading (I don't think I'm exaggerating by saying there have been scores of documentaries shot in a small number of traditional Papua-New Guinea villages). But to think her bawling-out in front of camera changed anything for the better would be extremely naïve, imho. Her team packed up and they all left with some great footage and that was the end of it.

What happens in our societies is different, because our rules and laws are not the same and of course they should be applied (just as girls and women fighting this kind of oppression should be supported). I'd say this though: the notion that a woman belongs to her man (married or out of wedlock) to the point where the man is incapable of accepting any expression of her freedom and murders her, is far from over and done with in our societies (see Spanish example). The rule of law takes time to penetrate. And, secondly, I'd be wary of this:

based on the radio program I listened to above, the average of reported 13 honor killings a year in the U.K. was called the "tip of the iceberg".

Did they give data? Did they explain how the "honour killings" were being covered up, how the coroners (magistrates who inquire into any death considered violent or unusual) were being diddled? It sounds to me like the kind of dramatisation the media go in for (though I'm open to correction).

Once again, I'm not out to belittle this. (Or forced rape, or excision, or in fact any of the horrors and injustices women suffer). But to what extent we should be shouting about it from the housetops, I don't know. As kcurie says, murder is murder, and the rule of law requires us to treat it as such. Over-dramatising the circumstances of murder doesn't, in my view, facilitate due process and the gradual acceptation by all that atavistic practices must disappear.

A sly dig, bruno-ken : your sig line (you explained on another thread) is from Carroll Quigley who contended:

there was no public authority in the form of a state during the European "Dark Ages", only internal controls that were deeply and broadly shared by the mass of people, combined with the private authority of warlords who ruled over them.  His main point, I believe, was that despite the abuses and sufferings of feudalism, European culture and society emerged during that period, and even thrived, without the existence of a State to manage it all.

European society of that time was indeed mostly ruled by warlords in a context of strict (and deeply-internalised) rules of kinship, clan, and allegiance, with particular emphasis on the blood feud. The first burblings of the State, in the form of royal justice, began to bring to that society the rule of law.

I believe we'd all have been horrified by the brutality of (part of) the "internal controls" of the Dark Ages, just as we are by "honour" killings and forced rape. And I believe we need a state to enforce the rule of law.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:30:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I believe we need a state to enforce the rule of law.

Or something very like it.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:32:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where it="a state".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:32:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"acceptation" = acceptance. I'm speaking French ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:46:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ma non!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:59:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm having trouble too with those "false friends"...! (Faux amis, bien sûr!)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman
by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 03:43:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the comment.

I admit, I have had second thoughts about the wisdom of making this into an issue to scream about from the rooftops.  All things being equal, I think it is.  But there is the risk of alienating and isolating even further the very (sub)community where these practices occur, reinforcing, perhaps, such customs as a defensive way to assert their own identity.

But I do not think "murder is murder".  I think racially motivated murder is different than other kinds of murder, for example.  Not because one is inherently worse than the other.  But because the causes behind one are different -- and thus need to try to be remedied and prevented differeently -- than the other.

Obviously purely a layperson's take on this.

Regarding the mediatization of the story, it is very possible that numbers are exaggerated and sensationalized.  But I did not get that impression, as several of the people citing those numbers were part of the British government ande police (who I would suppose would rather like to minimize the severity of the problem).  Also, many of the activists working to end the problem -- all of them in the show -- were Southeast Asian and women.

As for the Japanese media story, I had no illusions that the starlet had any impact on the village culture.  But are you saying that work loads are in fact equally distributed in such villages, despite the way they were presented in the program?

The sig is a whole other issue: I have mixed feelings about it, but when I first read it, I felt it was saying something very important that I had yet to completely grasp.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 08:18:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But are you saying that work loads are in fact equally distributed in such villages

Of course I'm not. I'm saying that developed-world media attention is focussed on making a product that will hook a developed-world audience, and is, if you like, communicating in closed-circuit with its customers. It has no (or possibly a deleterious) effect on the society it purports to be observing. No doubt those traditional villages will change under a whole slew of economic and social and technological influences -- or will be deliberately shut off as an ethno-museum.

This is an argument in favour of cultural relativism, insofar as I don't think it's our task to go to those villagers and tell them to change, any more than missionaries should go preaching this or that gospel. OTOH, as I said above, I accept that it's different in our own society when atavistic behaviour occurs. Helen wrote about this in Brick Lane : The failure of Cultural Relativity and I broadly agree with her. In the name of multiculturalism, we shouldn't be blind, and the standards that underwrite our laws should be equally binding on all members of society. That's the rule of law.

This no doubt means we should support policies that make a priority of citizenship in the wider community. By this I don't mean niggling standards on language and cultural references, that have been coming into style in some parts of Europe, the Netherlands for example. I mean the accent should be on membership of the national (and supra-national in the case of the EU) community and acceptance of its basic standards -- meaning, in this case, no murder cleanses honour, no murder is tolerated.

Media outrage is not necessarily the best way of moving towards this (you point out one of the reasons -- another being the reinforcement of ethnic/racial prejudice against the communities concerned). Better might be to support opposition groups from within those communities and support human rights groups generally, write to draw the attention of political parties and lawmakers, etc.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 03:40:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, where is the outrage?  I've been reading of these killings for quite some time now, and yet I never see the politicians and community leaders speak up.  People cannot behave this way.  I cannot stand this notion of Women As Property.  I don't give a damn about the "honor" of these families.  Where is Tony Blair saying, "With all due respect, fuck your honor"?

We haven't perfected equality for women here by any stretch of the imagination, but we're better than this, and we need to take a stand.  No tolerance for intolerance.  If some father doesn't like the fact that his daughter has fallen for an Italian man, tough.  If people can't accept this, they should get out, and we should offer girls like Shamaira amnesty.  No person should have to live with that threat.  Ever.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 10:43:33 AM EST
Well, as we discussed here on my Brick Lane thread, there is a confusion between multiculturalism and cultural relativity.

I like multiculturalism, an idea that we enjoy the positive aspects of of cultures within an over-arching British context.

As opposed to Cultural Relativity. Where respect and tolerance become confused with a patronising attiude of letting other people live and police themselves within their communities in case we offend them. Thus leading to a form of tolerance that is an unwillingness to act in the majority's interests.

I'm not expressing that well so don't pull me up on the precise details, but in my mind there is a difference.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 10:57:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Treat others as you would have them treat you."

"Killing animals is clearly abhorent."  Well, yes.  In the context of the argument of the militant vegetarian, the world is an abbatoir.  Chrissie Hynde spoke and thought (don't know if she still does) like this.  Supermarkets -- rows of the flesh of dead animals.  Joy in death.

I'm not a vegetarian, though.  Chop off the chicken's head and its dinner-in-waiting.  Waste not want not.  One day a chicken will do the same to me...  That's why I eat free-range organic: for reasons of karma and taste (or are they the same?)

Honour killing is about male impotence, rage, frustration, being egged on, conservative forces, and the women will run, run, and marry tall strong Norwegians and Italians who will get them the hell out of there...  Massive uptake in language courses by pakistani women...the link between rednecks and muslim jihadists revealed: not a woman wants them but the foolish young and coerced.  By their girlfriends shall ye know them!

There are my stereotypes...

...I'm rambling.  My tuppence hahruff!penny forts.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:35:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite alright.  I know what you meant, and I absolutely agree.  I'm all for multiculturalism to the extent that we respect differences, but -- and I think this is what you meant -- not to the extent that it violates what I think are universal human rights.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:44:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Drew, I thought you might get a chuckle out of this.


Karma

Someone who teaches at a Middle School in Safety Harbor, Florida forwarded the following letter. The letter was sent to the principal's office after the school had sponsored a luncheon for the elderly. This story is a credit to all humankind.

Dear Safety Harbor Middle School,

God blesses you for the beautiful radio I won at your recent senior citizen's luncheon. I am 84 years old and live at the Safety Harbor Assisted Home for the Aged.

All of my family has passed away.I am all alone now and it's nice to know that someone is thinking of me. God bless you for your kindness to an old forgotten lady. My roommate is 95 and always had her own radio, but before I received one, she would never let me listen to hers, even when she was napping.

The other day her radio fell off the night-stand and broke into a lot of pieces. It was awful and she was in tears. She asked if she could listen to mine, and I said fuck you.

Life is good.

Sincerely,
Edna



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:26:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what I love about the elderly: They don't care about offending anyone.  They'll, literally, say whatever comes to mind.  I can't help but applaud.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 01:05:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aren't the murderers being prosecuted?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 11:01:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.  I'm just ranting.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 01:09:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with Coleman and Migeru that it's been going for a very long time, even in France ! I mean the killing for honor, jealousy and whatever you want to call it!
Most sedentary agricultural culture has it, with tribal organization (the elders, etc.). The cultures that broke up the tribe system, started slowly to escape from it, because of state, laws, police, etc.

Those are what I call Urban cultures, and they are quite new in time (circa 10 000 years). Since the patriarchal system (the paterfamilias with right to kill), women were not only of another sex, but were a complete society in the society... They had rights till it wasn't a challenge for the head of tribe and the head of family.
They will wait till 1945 to have the right to vote in France...!!!

Up to WWII you could still find in small villages, families sharing the same bed... And incest was quite common.
In Corsica the "honor" thing is quite active but is joked upon by those who lives mainland (but not by those who have a house there, as they blow up quite easily) !

Why are those news headlines surprising us...? One of the reasons is that we see them as being nested in our societies by communities... When those communities are real strangers from far away, we think of it as a "bad" culture, outdated, criminal.
When the communities are home bred, we just wonder why the police, the neighbors, didn't do a thing!

When there are no real possibility for communities to exist (foreigners as locals are asked to integrate through language, civil laws, and education) those problems tend to blend in the sad machismo of everyday life.

In the "Cités", the tribe system is renewed by gangs, in a society similar to Middle-Age that works with "representation" ( no real differences between a Nike model, a common tattoo, etc., and heraldism, same purpose, same means !
If you look at it from those kid's side, they're the new Ivanhoe's, proving everyday their valiantness...

They respect their friend's sister, but will jump on any other, not of the group...
Just as those knights did with peasants girls, while respecting the noble woman of their hearth!

The way we changed our society in several centuries will be the way other will find to change theirs... Time is needed, or else we'll have bloody hands !

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:04:05 PM EST
Let's hope someone some day links to this discussion the next time the Wingnutosphere claims that Left-leaning Westerners coddle Islamists out of respect for "diversity" and "multiculturalism." I'm sick to death of reading that "feminists" (aka feminazis) supposedly remain silent when Muslims commit these crimes.

I would go even further than most of you, however, and propose that "traditional values," in every society, are almost always flawed and destructive. The whole idea of the "noble savage" living satisfying, contented lives was always nothing more than a (heterosexual) male wet dream.  

by Matt in NYC on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:30:21 PM EST
I would go even further than most of you, however, and propose that "traditional values," in every society, are almost always flawed and destructive.

Some parts of them are.


The whole idea of the "noble savage" living satisfying, contented lives was always nothing more than a (heterosexual) male wet dream.  

I've never quite worked out where that one comes from. It's a powerful myth.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:32:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it comes from our idea that it can't be all that hard to live together in a group.  The myth of the noble savage comes from noble savages met by colonialists.  There are many tales of content folk meeting colonisers and then whump!

Since the agriculture and trade was so good, the Taíno had plenty of extra time to make crafts and play games. One of these games was similar to soccer. With plenty of leisure, the Taíno devoted their energy to creative activities such as pottery, basket weaving, cotton weaving, stone tools and even stone sculpture. Men and women painted their bodies and wore jewelry made of gold, stone, bone, and shell. They also participated in informal feasts and dances. The Taíno drank alcohol made from fermented corn, and they used tobacco in cigars.

The Taino developed the hammock (the name derives from the Taíno term hamaca), which was first encountered by Europeans on Hispaniola. They were readily adopted as a convenient means to increase the crew capacity of ships and improved the sanitary conditions of the sleeping quarters; old straw -- which was commonly used for bedding in earlier times -- quickly became rotten and infested by parasites in the damp and cramped crew quarters of sailing ships. The cottoncloth hammocks could be easily washed if they became soiled.

It's always been, I say wildly, about resources.  Those who had them a-plenty could afford to kick back.  But also, it's about, well, culture, and tribe size.  We're great, but those guys and gals up the road are a right bunch of gits.

So, there have been throughout history tribes of happy, harmonious humans living in peace and not picking on any members beyond the occasional battle-between-two...  In fact, there are as many now as there have ever been.  But none of them is as big as a country.  The numbers were typically (he guesses wildly) fifty to three hundred--or a thousand?

Once you can't say hello to everyone...

Anyway, I am one of those who belive that the Taino (for example, and if not them then one or more of the tribes on the pacific islands, or in the Thai rainforests, or high on the Mongolian plains) were "noble savages" in the sense that it is meant.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(should be blockquote from "Since the agriculture..." to "...they became soiled."  The quote is from the wikipedia article on the Arawak.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:44:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, there have been throughout history tribes of happy, harmonious humans living in peace and not picking on any members beyond the occasional battle-between-two...  In fact, there are as many now as there have ever been.  But none of them is as big as a country.  The numbers were typically (he guesses wildly) fifty to three hundred--or a thousand?
I once heard or read that we're somhow "wired for" or "capable of" maintaining a social network of about 100 people. That is, you can't have a human community that's much bigger than that and is based on direct interpersonal relations.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:52:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And there's no reason to believe even such a small community will be harmonious.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:56:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...unless you've lived in one.

My personal number is three hundred and sixty five.  The days of the year.  If I did a great gig, everyone cheering, the business done and there: satori!  For all of us!  The orgone wave!

And then, after the gig, I could, in principal, have a chat with every last one of them--the last conversations enjoyed over coffee as the sun rises higher.

Sometimes, perhaps (again wildly), the need for security precludes friendship.  Therefore, the insecure find it hard to aggregate in large harmonious numbers.  A society which encourages such insecurities, or believes that three hundred people cannot live their lives together in human reasonable contentment....Lin Yutang..."Humans are neither angels nor devils, they are humans, and we just need to rub along; this is the chinese way."

Nah, he never said that.  And he was talking about a mythical China.  Still, I thought of another "noble savage": Chief Seattle.  Turns out there is a controversy over his famous ecological speech, which starts, according to one version:

THIS EARTH IS PRECIOUS
How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
ALL SACRED
Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.
Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.
The white man's dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man.
We are part of the earth and it is part of us.
The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers.
The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man--all belong to the same family.
NOT EASY
So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves.
He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land.
But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us.
This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors.
If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.
The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.

Maybe these are fantasies seeking realities.  But when good things realise themselves, like magic, poof!  Wow!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 07:39:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say the Taino are the exception that proves the rule (although I do also wonder what it's like to be gay and Taino). The overwhelming majority of "traditional cultures" would have had Hobbes nodding his pointy little head.
by Matt in NYC on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 01:11:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's the Hobbes quote:

"During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man.

"To this war of every man against every man, this also in consequent; that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law, where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the cardinal virtues.

"No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."

Each culture, to survive, must build a system in which the majority can eat, procreate, and sleep, and to some extent experiment with the world outside (bad phrasing...) without bringing harm to their neighbours.  

Is your statement about the overwhelming marjority a guess?  A statement of belief?  Do 'traditional cultures' lack the laws Hobbes describes as necessary?

(I was thinking of other "noble savages" (not all my choices, but well known): Jesus, Mohammed; Buddha; Saladin (all English sp., I know); Father Christmas (aka Santa Claus)..."Noble Savage" is there to undercut the "western" (?) attitude of superiority.  It was used as a term of denigration by racists; but it means "the person you call 'savage' has more nobility than you, who claim nobility (of action, though, idea, or title from king/queen...I'm losing the thread...)

My (wild) guess is that for every f*ked up group of humans there will be another group which is not f*ked up.  The malign lose out to the inspired; the rotten are overtaken by the budding.  T'was ever thus.  We are part of nature, not apart.  "Good" needs "Evil" to exist--they are opposites.  All societies (cultures?) will have a list of "good" and "bad" which means no more and no less than, "We (those making the laws) have determined that we do not like (for reasons explicit or covert) behaviours X, Y, and Z."

Perhaps I'm trying to say that our cultures (wherever we may be) are as 'traditional' as 'traditional' ones; and as good and as bad.

:)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 05:24:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On our side of the pond, it is supposed to come from Jean-Jacques Rousseau (who took off with the maid anyhow)!

Of course the "Eden" theory was there before and it is interesting to note that in the popular myths that goes with biblical texts (found in the Midrash) the first woman was Lilith, created from void like, and as equal, to Adam!

She seemed to find Adam not "active" and brilliant enough and took off with the local "charming prince" with his nice snake tattoo !

Adam went wailing around that every animal species went by two and that he was now alone... So Eve came from his rib (part of himself, or "life" in Gilgamesh odysseus), was "his" to bully, not like that wrench of Lilith... (that in the meantime populated the rest of the world)..

I just love those old Sumerian's  bed time stories...

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 04:08:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't Rousseau also put his own children into an orphanage?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 04:21:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes... All five that he had with the maid... !

After all, he revived Socrates' "good vs nice" (Le beau et le bon ) about Nature being "good" per se ! The Greens should get him another statue !

The counter-revolutionaries used his writings a lot to stop "progress"
(beginning of the industrial era) and keep thing the way they were.. Before (it's good)! Just like Tolkien and Lewis Mumford...

Uh-oh... Reminds me of some pieces of news...!

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 04:38:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hate to say this, but isn't there a whiff of racist subtext to this journalism? The narrative seems to be that these murderous savages have arrived on our shores and are continuing to do these pre-medieval things while walking among us. Perhaps if they kill their women they'll kill other people - maybe even us - too?

Well. I agree with kcurie that murder is murder. A rummage through various stats shows that in the US women murder a significant number of husbands/boyfriends too. The number is between 50% and 70% of the male stats, depending on which year you look at. Women are also more likely than men to murder their children - the ratio is something like 60:40, with around 20% more children than women being killed in total.

I don't have stats for the UK. I'm sure they'd be interesting.

Against this we have 3000 road deaths in the UK ever year, and more than 8000 as a direct result of alcohol.

I'm pretty sure the stats for stress related deaths are a similar order of magnitude.

And of course the thousands dead and hundreds of thousands injured around the world as a result of various popular military misadventures.

So someone looking at the culture from outside could easily conclude that we have some inconsistent beliefs about death, and when it does and doesn't matter.

Which is why I'm concerned about the subtext. Is it maybe not so much that the deaths themselves are shocking - which of course they are - but that they're happening over here, in enlightened Yurp, where we don't do these things? Or that we might be standing next to these murderers as we personally commute to work?

More objectively, Yurp has its own differently fatal narratives. Is a death more important because it happens as a result of someone's else's cultural mindset than because it happens as a result of our own?

This - obviously - isn't to condone honour killing, which I think is entirely abhorrent. But it's not floating aloof in a moral vacuum. There's a background noise of other kinds of violence to consider, and they're just as irrational in their own unenlightened way.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 12:56:18 PM EST
I hate to say this, but isn't there a whiff of racist subtext to this journalism? The narrative seems to be that these murderous savages have arrived on our shores and are continuing to do these pre-medieval things while walking among us. Perhaps if they kill their women they'll kill other people - maybe even us - too?
I hate to say this, but there is a whiff of racist subtext to the blogging, too...
What the hell is going on?  What continent is this?  What century?  I thought this was atavistic stuff going on among savages in Baluchistan, not among Europeans in England and Italy (and other countries?).
especially in view of the fact[oid]s
Jesus.  It's worse in the U.S. than in Spain:
The FBI reports that approximately 1,500 women are killed each year by husbands or boyfriends.

Domestic Violence Factoids

In other words, 1 woman killed by her partner per 100,000 women in the USA vs. 1 per 200,000 in Spain.
And to answer kcurie:
In Spain the number one reason for murder is killing women because they "belong" to the husband...and I have not seen any major diary here... and believe..it is a pandemy in Spain...reaching 100 women per year.
part of the reason why this doesn't get blogged is that it is reported in the press, there is public outrage, and government action to deal with it. Poemless once said that blogging thrives in thee areas that the mainstream press cannot or will not cover which, at least in the case of Spain, is definitely not the case for domestic violence.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 02:27:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hate to say this, but there is a whiff of racist subtext to the blogging, too...

I was afraid of that, but I knew the risk that such language could easily be overinterpreted as racism.  (I should not, I now believe, have used the word "savages" -- and plan to change that -- not because the word is racist, but because it is innaccurate, and because it is irresponsibly inflammatory, and for that I regret using it.)

As far as "race" goes, it has nothing to do with this issue except for the accidental fact that the people who mainly practice these honor killings in Europe (and in the U.S., I have found out) are of a different "race" than Europeans and Americans.  Although I was not aware of it, it turns out Europeans in the past regularly committed in honor killings that were socially approved and justified by tradition and ideology.  And I noted in another comment that white Americans often killed blacks in lynchings that were socially approved and justified by tradition and ideology.  So to repeat:  Race has nothing to do with it; all races are liable to commit such crimes.

especially in view of the fact[oid]s

I don't follow how these factoids have anything to do with race or racism.  Also, I cited those factoids perhaps too rashly concluding that there were more "jealousy killings" in the U.S. than in Spain.  Please see this comment.

part of the reason why this doesn't get blogged is that it is reported in the press, there is public outrage, and government action to deal with it. Poemless once said that blogging thrives in thee areas that the mainstream press cannot or will not cover which, at least in the case of Spain, is definitely not the case for domestic violence.

I had not thought of that, but I fully agree.  That is precisely why I blogged it: I thought there was not enough awareness and outrage about it.  But surprise surprise, I seem to be the last one to the party, and based on many comments in this thread, there seems to be quite a bit of awareness already in Europe about this problem, and the more I read up on it, the more I realize that the public authorities in Britain (and I would imagine other countries) are quite aware of and engaged in addressing the issue.  If I had looked into it more thoroughly before, then I might have been reassured that everything was being done already that could be done and have not written about it at all.  I don't know.  I can say I've learned a great deal from the comments.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 10:40:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My use of the word "racist" was a rhetorical excess, too.

I was bothered not only by the use of the word "savages" but also by the singling out of Baluchistan. What do you know about Baluchistan? How does it relate to the specific facts at hand? What is "Baluchistan" a symbol for? This reminds me of people who have no experience of it generalizing about the American "deep south" or "midwest" and throwing around the names of a couple of misplaced US states as if to add credibility to their regurgitated stereotype.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 04:50:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My use of the word "racist" was a rhetorical excess, too.

Well, I do agree that there was a "whiff" of racism about my language, so I think your point was fair.

What do you know about Baluchistan?

I know little about Baluchistan, except the little I read about it in Ahmed Rashid's book TALIBAN as well as what I have read in the press: that it is supposedly one of the most violent parts of Pakistan (no doubt thanks in large part to the War on Terruh) and more importantly is dominated by the sort of tribal rule under which honor killings are condoned.  Also, I (mistakenly) thought that Mukhtar Mai was from that province (she is from Punjab).  

I said Baluchistan because I did not want to say "Pakistan", as my impression is that this practice happens mostly in the tribal communities and not across the country.  I chose Baluchistan because that was the one name I knew for sure was one of the provinces in those tribal regions.

Having said that, what little I thought I knew seems to be correct:

Balochistan remains one of the most conservative provinces in Pakistan and women are expected to wear the hijab unlike in many large cities where there are fewer restrictions. The Baloch adhere to a clan-like structure and code of honor called mayar that bears some resemblance to Pashtunwali, but with significant differences including the Baloch hierarchy and allegiance to Sardars and subordinate Waderas, both tribal chieftains, that the more individualistic and egalitarian Pashtuns lack.

(Wikipedia)

As for whether honor killings are practiced there:

Unfortunately, the province of Sindh has topped the list as a total of 2228 cases of "Karo Kari" were reported officially during January 2001 to December 2004. However, the least number of honour killing cases were reported in Balochistan where only 287 incidents had occurred during the past four years.

"Alarming rise in honour killings in Pakistan"

and :

Crimes of honour are an archaic custom deeply rooted in the tribal societies of Baluchistan and the Northwest Frontier Provinces, as well as those of Punjab and Sindh, where they are known as karo kari killings.

Is honor killing a never-ended monster?

Perhaps I should have "Sind" instead of "Baluchistan", but do you still think mentioning "Baluchistan" was misplaced?

How does it relate to the specific facts at hand?

As I wrote in the diary, I thought honor killings only happened in places like Baluchistan.

What is "Baluchistan" a symbol for?

Baluchistan is not a "symbol" for anything.  It is simply representative of a place where honor killings are practiced and accepted.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 05:51:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now I just found this, which is also interesting...

Wikipedia: Honor killing in national legal codes

The Special Rapporteur [to the UNCHR] indicated that there had been contradictory decisions with regard to the honour defence in Brazil, and that legislative provisions allowing for partial or complete defence in that context could be found in the penal codes of Argentina, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Peru, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and the Palestinian National Authority.
Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Israel, Peru and Venezuela? Note the absence of Pakistan, where honour killings are a real problem, and where government action is insufficient or half-hearted
Pakistan: Honor killings are known as Karo Kari (Urdu: کاروکاری ). The practice is supposed to be prosecuted under ordinary murder, but in practice police and prosecutors often ignore it. Often a man must simply claim the killing was for his honor and he will go free. Nilofer Bakhtiar, advisor to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, stated that in 2003, as many as 1,261 women were murdered in honor killings. On December 08, 2004, under international and domestic pressure, Pakistan enacted a law that made honor killings punishable by a prison term of seven years, or by the death penalty in the most extreme cases. Women's rights organizations were, however, wary of this law as it stops short of outlawing the practice of allowing killers to buy their freedom by paying compensation to the victim's relatives. Women's rights groups claimed that in most cases it is the victim's immediate relatives who are the killers, so inherently the new law is just eyewash. It did not alter the provisions whereby the accused could negotiate pardon with the victim's family under the so-called Islamic provisions. In March 2005 the Pakistani government allied with Islamists to reject a bill which sought to strengthen the law against the practice of "honour killing". The parliament rejected the bill by a majority vote, declaring it to be un-Islamic.
So, the problem in Pakistan, unlike in the UK or Italy, is that honour killings are not prosecuted despite being ellegal, which is realy an indictment of societal mores. But the social movement against it does exist.

And, while we are on the topic of honor killings, what about Acid Attacks?

Acid attacks are a violent phenomenon that primarily occur in parts of certain South Asian countries, such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and are often perpetrated by males against females. Perpetrators of these attacks throw acid at their victims, burning them. The consequences are multiple: permanent marks on the body, disfiguration and potentially blindness.

The chemical agent used to commit these attacks is usually hydrochloric acid, widely available in South Asian countries as a toilet cleaner. Because the chemical causes severe disfigurement, not death, this easily accessible chemical has become the popular weapon for attacks against women who refuse sexual advances and offers of marriage made by men. Acid attacks are not often classified as domestic violence, because they usually originate outside of the home.



Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 06:22:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hate to say this, but isn't there a whiff of racist subtext to this journalism?

Although it is possible, and does happen, that a person -- i.e. the presenter of the program, Konnie Huq -- can be racist towards their own "race", it is rather rare, isn't it?  Throw on top of that the fact that all of the people in the radio program (aside from police and government officials) who were active in trying to stop honor killings were members of the same cultural community in which these practices occur, and you compound the improbability that they were involved in the issue because they are racist towards their own community.

As Migeru notes below, I would say if there is whiff of racism it's more in my diary than in the journalism.

Is a death more important because it happens as a result of someone's else's cultural mindset than because it happens as a result of our own?

I think a death may warrant, if not more "importance", then attention, not because it happens as a result of someone else's cultural mindset rather than as a result of our own, but because the cultural mindset behind it behind it is one that has the potential to generate more and more deaths of a similar nature.  It also may warrant more attention because the killing violates principles which our own community has affirmed as fundamental to our society (even if they were not until the recent past); this is different than merely because the death is due to a cultural mindset other than our own: it is a cultural mindset that offends and insults the commonly accepted norms of our society, i.e. our mindset.

This is not to say that special attention warrants howling from the rooftops, as I have done in this diary.  The best way to address this issue may in fact -- just like for terrorism -- be through quiet but diligent police-work combined with gradual and progressive economic and cultural reintegration of potential criminals.  Several comments on this diary have made consider this to be very likely, especially since it is now clear that there is wide awareness already in mainstream European society that honor killings are happening there.  If I had also known about them before reading the article and listening to the radio program, I don't think I would have been as shocked.

There's a background noise of other kinds of violence to consider, and they're just as irrational in their own unenlightened way.

I think precisely because these honor are killings are not irrational, but have a fairly well articulated logic that distinguish them from other killings -- including, I think, jealousy killings (although there seems to be some sort of logic behind those as well: the crude logic that women "belong" to their male partners) -- they should be given careful attention.  I think the more there is a logic, or an "ideology", if you want, behind a sort of killing, the more potentially dangerous it may be in the long run, and thus the more attention and concern it may deserve.

That's why I think killing someone because she or he is a homosexual, or South-Asian, or a doctor who performs abortions, is not just like killing someone in a bar-fight for example, or because you were robbing them.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 10:13:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Couple things.

  1. - let's remember that honor killings were until fairly recently a reality in some Western, Christian cultures as well - think Latin America or Southern Europe (where women also happened to wear black robes and covered heads btw.)

  2. Debating whether or not this is true to 'real' Islam or not is sort of besides the point. Like with Christianity in the Christian areas where honor killings took place, religion is the ideological buttress of the patriarchal system which leads to these crimes.

  3. There's a difference between women being killed out of jealousy by their partners, or by their brothers/fathers for reasons of honor. The former is in part a manifestation of gender hierarchy, but it can't be reduced to it, honor killings on the other hand are about enforcing male dominance, pure and simple. That's illustrated by the fact that jealousy results in violence by women against men as well as the reverse, though on a lesser scale than the reverse. I haven't heard about men being killed by their relatives for flirting with Western women.

  4. It is wrong to take the position that each killing is equal, or even more absurd, that as lots more people die in accidents, why worry so much about this. Violence aimed at enforcing oppressive social norms or hierarchies are far more dangerous than random deaths. In the old South most violent deaths were intraracial and had nothing to do with racism. But the reason why we care more about a lynching than a barfight or robbery gone wrong is that the former was about upholding a repressive ideology and social structure, the latter wasn't.  Honor killings are the most extreme form of enforcing patriarchal social norms.
by MarekNYC on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 02:18:40 PM EST
Debating whether or not this is true to 'real' Islam or not is sort of besides the point. Like with Christianity in the Christian areas where honor killings took place, religion is the ideological buttress of the patriarchal system which leads to these crimes.

I didn't see a debate. It's relevant because attributing the crimes to Islam is incorrect and feeding into a nice little crusader narrative about barbaric Islam.


I haven't heard about men being killed by their relatives for flirting with Western women.

I think I have heard of cases where they were killed for relationships with tribal women though.


Honor killings are the most extreme form of enforcing patriarchal social norms.

Yup. They're especially damaging to society for that reason and that should probably be taken into account in sentencing.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 02:46:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I have heard of cases where they were killed for relationships with tribal women though.  

Yes, but again, that's about enforcing the patriarchal society. Men who undermine the norms that the women of the society are supposed to obey are also subject to punishment, albeit on average less than the women. That's why I spoke of punishment for flirting with westerners - the fact that women who do so are punished while men aren't while they occasionally are for flirting within their group shows that this isn't about enforcing sexual morality but about controlling women.

I didn't see a debate. It's relevant because attributing the crimes to Islam is incorrect and feeding into a nice little crusader narrative about barbaric Islam.

True but we shouldn't pretend that religion doesn't play a major role - facts that help out unpleasant ideological campaigns remain facts.  PS. 'crusader' - ugh. Let's skip the stupid propaganda terms. The Muslims enforcing the patriarchy aren't 'islamofascists' and the people creating a generalized anti-Islamic discourse aren't 'crudaders'.

by MarekNYC on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 03:20:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Muslims enforcing the patriarchy aren't 'islamofascists' and the people creating a generalized anti-Islamic discourse aren't 'crudaders'.

I don't know about that. They're building on the stereotypes generated by the crusades. They seem to be in the direct succession.

The only reason they refer to the Islamists as "Islamofascists" is that they don't seem to consider theocracy such a bad thing...

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 03:46:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We'll have to agree to disagree. But I promise not to take DoDo's advice of responding to poor historical references like 'crusader' by pretending to take seriously equally silly ones like 'Islamofascist'.
by MarekNYC on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 04:34:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am being somewhat snarky about the crusader reference, though I do believe it's one that some of the religious right types would love to take onto themselves and that a lot of the folklore that informs their view comes from that time. I have a diary on it in the works ... though the works is current stacked high with part-assembled diaries.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 04:39:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for saying much better what I was trying to say above to kcurie in this comment.

(I did not mention your first point; I was not aware that honor killings were practiced and approved in the West until recently as well.)

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Mon Sep 4th, 2006 at 07:43:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
About the persistence of traditional values in the Mediterranean basin, there was a very famous controversy in Sicily about 15 years ago surrounding a book called Volevo i pantaloni [I wanted trousers], by Lara Cardella. We're talking about a region where not so long ago people would hand bloodied sheets from balconies the day after a wedding to prove to the community that the bride was a virgin. There was a recent diary on Rita Borsellino's Sicilian election campaign where it was reported that her supporters hung white sheets from balconies. To Afew and myself, this seemed a clear reference to this practice (see the comment thread).

During the 1990's Balkan wars I was taken aback by images of women from the countryside and the mountains, wearing black headscarves. I felt transported to the 1950's or earlier in Spain or Italy.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2006 at 05:01:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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