Saturday, July 16, 2016
"Honor" killing in Pakistan
This is horrible:
Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch, who was known for her daring posts, has been killed, allegedly by her brother.
Police on Saturday told Al Jazeera that Baloch's father, Mohammed Azeem, had filed a case against his son Waseem Azeem. The father has also testified against another of his sons, who works in the army and reportedly encouraged his sibling to carry out the killing. Both sons have gone missing.
Waseem was in the family home in Multan when Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, died.
Nabila Ghazzanfar, a Punjab Police spokeswoman said: "We are hopeful that the killer will be found soon, and will follow legal proceedings."
Ghazzanfar added that the initial post-mortem showed that the 26-year-old's nose and mouth had been pinned shut before she died, blocking off her airways. She had not, contrary to earlier reports, been strangled, Ghazzanfar added.
READ MORE: Pakistan's laws fail to check violence against women
The celebrity often divided opinion in Pakistan, a largely conservative nation, as she appeared on television to speak about female empowerment, and often dressed in non-traditional, revealing, clothes.
She began her career auditioning on Pakistan Idol and soon after launched a social media enterprise, posting videos that quickly went viral.
On her final, July 4 post to her Facebook page, which has almost 800,000 fans, she wrote: "I am trying to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don't wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices."
Her apparent "honour killing" has caused outrage.
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, who won an Oscar for a film about honour-based violence, told Al Jazeera that such attacks were an "epidemic".
"I'm very shaken up today. Activists in Pakistan have been screaming hoarse about honour killings; it is an epidemic, it takes place not only in towns, but in major cities as well.
"What are we going to do as a nation?"
Chinoy added that an anti-honour killing bill should be passed.
"It's upon the lawmakers to punish these people. We need to start making examples of people. It appears it is very easy to kill a woman in this country - and you can walk off scot free."
During screenings of Chinoy's recent documentary Girl in the River, in which a father tries to kill his daughter, she had heard people cheering for the father.
"It is a mindset we have to change," she said.
Indeed it is. It may actually be the basis of our current wave of violence all over the world. This piece by Rebecca Traister is very illuminating. An excerpt:
Early reports suggest that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who drove a rented truck through a crowd of Bastille Day revelers on Thursday night, killing more than 80 including at least ten children, may not have been devout, but he did have a criminal record of domestic violence. A neighbor claimed he would “rant about his wife,” who left him two years ago.
This history of domestic violence puts Bouhlel in the horrific company of many mass murderers. Omar Mateen, who last month killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a mass shooting at an Orlando gay club, had an extensive history of domestic abuse. His former wife has claimed that in addition to taking her paychecks and forbidding her from leaving the house, Mateen also beat her if she failed to live up to traditional wifely responsibilities.
And before anyone jumps to the conclusion that killers with Muslim backgrounds have uniquely bad histories with women, recall that Robert Lewis Dear, the devout Christian who killed three people and wounded nine at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic in November, had a lengthy history of violence against women, including a 1992 arrest for rape and sexual violence. According to the Washington Post, two of his three ex-wives had accused him of domestic abuse.
When Elliot Rodger went on a shooting rampage in Southern California in 2014, killing seven, including himself, he left a video in which he detailed his fury, particularly at women who had rejected him. “I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you all for it …You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male.”
Dylann Roof’s racist massacre of nine churchgoers in Charleston last year was tinged with a sense of patriarchal control over women: “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go,” he said to his African-American victims; Roof had been raised in a home in which his father had emotionally and physically abused his stepmother. After Adam Lanza killed 20 school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, investigators found a Word document on his computer in which he had written about why women were inherently selfish. Even Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh had complained about being rejected by a woman.
Recent research done by Everytown for Gun Safety has found that of the mass shootings in the United States between 2009 and 2015, 57 percent included victims who were a family member, spouse, or former spouse of the shooter. Sixteen percent of attackers had been previously charged with domestic violence. A recent piece in the New York Times suggested that the impulse toward domestic, gendered violence may be the thing that draws a few terrorists toward the Islamic State, since ISIS’s practices include sexual slavery and a fidelity to traditional gender norms as recruiting tools for young men.
But that doesn’t make any religion — whether it’s Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel’s Islam or Robert Lewis Dear’s evangelical Christianity — the defining factor in mass shootings. Perhaps these disturbed men — and 98 percent of mass killers are men — are drawn to the patriarchal traditions upheld by some religions to make sense of or justify their anger and resentment toward women. But we might do better to examine the patterns of violence toward women themselves.
The empowerment of women may be the most momentous social upheaval in millenia of human history. Why would we think there wouldn't be a reaction?
digby 7/16/2016 03:00:00 PM