Quotes from the book. Commentary by yours truly. :)
"He makes me feel special, beautiful, and smart. He respects me, and cares about my wants, needs, and thoughts. He's not like my brothers or my father. I've never seen my father ask my mother for her opinion. He just orders her around and treats her as if she doesn't matter, as if she's just there to serve him. My father treats me the same way. Michael's different; he always asks me things and he listens to what I have to say. My opinion matters to him. ... It feels good to be treated as if I'm important." (pg 92)
-- Dalia to Norma about the guy Dalia was interested in
"Sweetheart, you need to watch what you're saying. Your anger is speaking now. Dalia is only one of thousands of women this happens to every year. I'm sure the others had mothers, sisters, and friends who were just as upset as you are now, but they realized, as you will in time, that nothing can be done about it. They suffer the loss in silence and then find a way to move on, as you will." (pg. 168)
-- Norma's mother attempting to comfort her daughter
"And I suppose I owe you an apology for my loving your daughter like a sister, and finding her loss unbearable and your apathy over her loss infuriating. If so, I apologize for being human. I'm afraid that our God has created me with a very low threshold for pain, and I lost control. I envy your strength, Mahmood, for upholding your family's honor. After all, what is a life in the face of honor? I suppose that because I'm not a man, I can't comprehend such apathy, such disregard for human life. I'm sure you must be right. I mean, what can a woman know or understand about a man's honor? After all, it's a man's place to control and maintain the code we must live by. And I guess Dalia, in your eyes and mind, stepped outside the boundaries. You had the strength to do what needed to be done, and there's no room for emotion in honor, I suppose." (pg. 178)
-- part of Norma's forced apology to Dalia's father; she'd accused him of murdering someone innocent and was forced by her own father to apologize or risk her own honor killing
"All women killed in cases of honor are prostitutes. I believe prostitutes deserve to die." (pg. 202)
-- attributed to former Jordanian Minister of Justice, Abdul Karim Dughmi in August 2001 in response to a question about honor killings in the case of rape
Note: It's estimated 90% of women killed by honor killings are virgins. After these killings, autopsies are done to make sure of this because if the women were, in fact, proven to not be virtuous, the families could then go after the men who "ruined" their daughters. It's a shame the women have to die in order to prove their innocence. Who am I kidding? It's a shame women have to die period! And what about the men who keep prostitutes in business? This man believes prostitutes should die...what about all the Arab men who go to the West every year or go to Syria and other places and use the sharmutas' services? This double standard infuriates me!
This book shared stories and described how often men gloried in what they did to "restore their family's honor" and how they were hailed as heroes and as "gods" as the author of this book put it. While she emphasized this honor killing stuff was cultural predating Christianity and Islam (indeed she says it "has roots in the code of Hammurabi and Assyrian laws from 1200 BC, which declared a woman's chastity to be her family's property" -- pg. 194), she tends to accuse Islam for keeping them down. The reason is that Muslims control Parliament and when King Abdullah, a man with little political power as he's only a figurehead, stood as an ally to women's group in support of amending all laws that "discriminate against women and inflict injustice on them," the draft was defeated "since the Islamic Action Front holds the majority of the seats in the Lower House." The IAF believes those supporting doing away with these honor killing provisions "were trying to demoralize Jordanian society, and that the West was using the women's issue to push Arab women to abandon their honor and values and to start acting like animals." (pg. 199)
Well, since I'm Western and a woman, I must be an animal. So...y'all ready for this? Hear me roar! I think that about sums up my commentary and what I think of stupid rules by stupid men and a stupid society that puts up with murdering innocent women "for the sake of a man's honor."
If I were an animal with really sharp teeth I think I'd bite someone's head off right about now. Or if I saw one of those men, I'd throw my shoe at him ... both of 'em!
(Please don't ask me if Jesus would approve. I'm being animalistic, remember?)
See this post for more from this book, Honor Lost, by Norma Khouri