Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Honor Killing

John 8:7
7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.


From the Hindu, March 31, 2010 Chandigarh: In a landmark judgment, a Haryana court on Tuesday awarded the death penalty to five persons and life sentence to one for murdering a couple on the diktats of a ‘khap panchayat’ (caste-based council) for marrying against societal norms in 2007.

What is a honor killing and what exactly is the honor that one is willing to kill for? Can we understand how someone else sees their honor, to the extent they are capable of snuffing out a life to preserve their honor at such costs; usually by also inflicting a high degree of pain. A honor killing is also called a customary killing (sanctioned by custom). We have heard of the call “pistols at dawn,” in books and in history. That too was one form of honor killing, as are blood feuds. The idea that ones honor has been tarnished, insult levied upon ones clan, on the family, to the village, or a group—leading to the assimilated notion that it is an affront to the group—in turn necessitating taking the dire step of killing ones own, is something quite anachronistic and incomprehensible; as furthermore is the thought that only upon the deed being done is the honor restored to the individual/s.

In May of 2007 in the Indian state of Haryana, Manoj eloped with Babli, and married outside their sub-caste (gotra). They had faced opposition from their elders and moved to Karmal. In the meanwhile the Banawala khap had ordered they be killed, and announced a fine of Rs. 25,000 on those maintaining toes with the couple. On June 15, 2007 they were killed in cold blood.

Five of Babli's relatives Suresh, Rajindar, Baru Ram, Satish and Gurdev have been sentenced to death. The khap chief Ganga Ram was awarded a life sentence. The driver Mandeep Singh face charges of kidnapping and conspiracy.

There are other documented cases but one in 1975, the death of the Saudi princess Masha’il was accepted as a honor killing, and made into a film by Antony Thomas, a reporter and director. “
Death of a Princess” is believed to be the true story of her death.

talk posted on Frontline(PBS), with journalist Antony Thomas.

Europe has known such practices since ancient times, and the penalty was stoning under Judeo-Christian law. Among the ancient Romans, the pater familias retained the right to kill an unmarried sexually active daughter or an adulterous wife.

In June 2005 Faten Habash was bludgeoned to death, and her father was arrested for her murder. Faten was a Palestinian Christian, a Catholic by faith and Muslim by culture in Palestinian society. She desired to marry a Muslim. In issues of honor a Bedouin mediator is traditionally brought in. Hassan Habash wept as he gave his word that she would not be harmed, and she would be free to marry the man she loved—all that asked was that she come


John 8:8-11
8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee.
11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

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