As people around the world especially Canadians were tuned in on Sunday January 29th 2012 to hear the final verdict on the Shafia family case, the result in itself was very disheartening to Canadians and especially the Muslim population around the world. I myself was following the story since the incident happened back in June 2009. So the ‘breaking news’ flashed on the T.V screens, Social media sites, Radio, and Cell phones near the end of June showcasing the killings of three young females along with a female in her late 50’s. Was it just another breaking news? Or was it something much more then that…
Since 2005, there have been 11 cases of honor killings in Canada, among this total seven of the victims are young girls. There is absolutely nothing honorable about “honor killings”. For the Shafia family, the concept of honor was very much twisted and consequently they soiled the reputation of all Afghan’s living in Canada, United States and elsewhere in the world.
What makes a father kill his own daughters and his wife? Is it because his three daughters, Zainab, Sahar and Geeti had brought shame on the families’ reputation by dressing in less modest clothes and keeping boyfriends? Or is it simply that the male domination in most ethnic families results in such cases. People often use such examples to define the ‘Muslim’ culture as barbaric and backwards. The sad story is that the killing of women is a very common practice; the only difference is that some stories make headlines in the media while others are not given any preference or attention. Stories like killings of Aboriginal women and women in the third world countries rarely come in the limelight of the media, but when they do, cases like the Shafia family murder case- the entire society is shaken up by the outrageous actions of the people involved thus giving the media a power to distort our thoughts and perceptions.
One would wonder, why are females the target of such ‘Honor’ killings? Is it because they can’t raise their voice or is it because they are the easy targets… In 2006 in Ottawa, Khatera Sadiqi, 20, and her fiancé Feroz Magal were shot to death by Khatera’s brother, who alleged she had brought shame to the Pakistani family by getting engaged without her fathers consent. In 2007 in Mississauga, Ontario, father, Muhammad Parvez and brother Waqas Parvez, in their family home, strangled Aqsa Parvez to death. The reason behind this was that Aqsa rebelled against the harsh religious and cultural rules imposed by her father. In January 2009, Amandeep Kaur Dhillon, 22, was stabbed to death by her father-in-law, who assumed that she would bring disgrace to the families reputation if she divorced his son. One thing that is common in all these cases is that the women were murdered in the name of ‘honor’.
The efficient use of technology today, which helped the case to reach its final verdict and found the three members of the Shafia family guilty, was when the laptops that belonged to the family were scanned and there were instances where key words such as “ murder” or “ honor killings” were found on search engines such as Google. This just tells us that this was a planned ruthless murder and makes us aware of how important the use of technology is to help solve such cases.
I am ‘honored’ that as a woman I get to raise my voice but what about the thousand other women who don’t have this privilege? Question remains that is this seen as a good thing in the society that such cases help bring the issues of women to the attention of the general public or is another excuse for people to draw racist conclusions about other cultures?
Tags: Culture and Technology.
Tripp, Rob. “Honor Crimes in Canada since 2005.” The Vancouver Sun. Post Media News, 29 Jan. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Honour+crimes+Canada+since+2005/6069527/story.html>.
Hughes, Graham. “All Three Shafia Family Members Found Guilty of Murder.” CTV Ottawa. The Canadian Press, 29 Jan. 2011. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://ottawa.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120129/OTT-shafia-trial-verdict-jury-120129/20120129/?hub=OttawaHome>.