Friday, December 09, 2005

Honor Killings Not about Honor

Recently heard this chilling report on NPR's All Things Considered about so-called honor killings in Iraq. NPR Foreign Correspondent Anne Garrels speaks to one family in which this occurred.

A daughter was kidnapped and threatened with death unless her brother quit the police force. The brother complied, and the girl was returned to the family. But because everyone assumed the girl had been raped while she was a captive, the family killed the girl. All for the sake of maintaining the family honor. The report is particularly chilling because the father, in his interview, is so forthcoming about what happened. Without any apparent shame, he explains that honor killings are a tradition.

That story typifies one of the reasons why I am wary of traditions. It's one thing to have turkey on Thanksgiving and another when people use the term tradition to justify, or excuse, hateful behavior. It's a shame that so many people accept injustices as a part of society instead of challenging injustices to further society.

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