- Jul 2016
Crimes against women Can the licence to kill be revoked? “Honour killings”
"In 2015, 1096 women in Pakistan died in 'honour killings'" – That is bad. What is bad, though, about pointing our finger at places where institutionalized misogyny may arguably be worse than in our community is that it helps discount the institutionalized misogyny in our own social order by comparison. And it's that self-satisfying comparison that helps make us be content with consuming outrage over conditions elsewhere instead of being outraged by conditions here that we can work to change straight away.
On top of that, using special vocabulary like "honour killings" makes us understand the place and people we assign it to as irreconcilably different from us. This comes as rape and murder of women committed by men in our own community are motived by a similar sense of ownership of women -- a.k.a. honour. It is our resulting sense of self and other that makes our weekly drone bombings of people in Pakistan register less with us. In other words, we are less outraged by the regular killing of mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, sisters and brothers in Pakistan by our drones and are less prone to become active against that than we care about a slain lion. Because turning people in Pakistan into foreigners by assigning special vocabulary like "honour killing" makes us unable to mourn their death the same way we mourn the death of an animal or the death of people in places we understand as familiar.