Marie Claire tells us the story of “An American Honor Killing“– in which Noor Almaleki is murdered by her father, who runs her over with a Jeep because she…because…well, it’s complicated. Marie Claire calls it an honor killing, linking it with other examples. The Last Psychiatrist makes this interesting point:
First Law of Media: offer the reader the opportunity to debate the conclusions, but force him to accept the form of the argument.
You get to argue about whether Islam allows honor killings: “religion of peace!” “No, religion of hatred!” or whether this is generalizable to all Muslims, as long as you accept their premise that she did something that deeply offended her father and Islam. Put it in the article with an apologetic cop-out:
Although honor crimes aren’t officially sanctioned by Islam, they’re associated with predominantly Muslim countries
They’re not associated with Muslim countries, that’s what they’re called when they are associated with Muslim countries. When they’re associated with rich black guys, they’re called OJ Simpson.
One of the LP’s longstanding interests is the way in which conceptual categories get cemented through sleigh-of-hand– by being invoked in the course of discussion about something else, or presumed, or implicitly relied on. (See his recent discussion of pesticides and ADHD, for example.) At this point, I was getting nervous that we’d be getting a simple-minded mitigation of the awful thing Faleh Almaleki did. But no, and this is why I’m enjoying LP so much. What “honor crime” means in this case is essentially: you shamed me in front of my community, i.e. relatives in Iraq. I was expecting to add some sort of criticism along the lines of “but you don’t know what it’s like in those communities!” but he’s very good here:
It all fell apart because he sent her to Iraq. When he committed to the all-in, hail mary plan of sending his daughter to Iraq to get married, where she either rejected five men as unsuitable(!) or worse, got married to one of them and then went on cavorting with men in the U.S. (!!!!)…
… never mind what Allah thinks, now everyone in Iraq knows what kind of a man he is.
…If you are an immigrant or of immigrant parents then you’ll know: that man was in daily communication with people in Iraq thanks to the stupid internet and mobiles. He was better connected to some Iraqi 3rd uncle than he was to his next door neighbor. And, especially after his daughter returned, those communications were torture. Explaining what went wrong with his daughter, why she wasn’t being honorable, why he couldn’t control her, how it was his wife’s fault, his sons’ faults– in short, constantly on the defensive about how he couldn’t keep his house in order, constantly subject to the criticisms and patronizing responses of an extended family that is so much a part of his identity and so little a part of hers.
Not only was he ashamed, but worse, she was not ashamed at all.
It’s a very interesting discussion.