"Sweet son of spell check." -Rating Pending
Question #21929 posted on 01/05/2006 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear Horatio,

You know, this response just might get me permantently banned, but I really have to vehemently disagree with about 20% of your response to the Pakistani "honor killings".

http://theboard.byu.edu/index.php?area=viewall&id=21802

First, the story was by the AP, not FOX. Several web sites picked it up, not just FOX. In fact, FOX pared much of the commentary down to pretty much bare facts and quotes from policemen. The original article contains much more gruesome details and (I'm guessing due to the name) was probably written from someone from South Asia.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051228/ap_on_re_as/pakistan_honor_killings

Frankly, I do not know how anyone can read the full account and not be outraged, and I feel very comfortable taking the moral high ground on this. This is not some funny quirk like where the Japaneese think we are weird because we drink milk and they get their calcium from eating egg shells. The man slit a four-year-old's throat because perhaps she might marry someone that she herself choose. (as well as her 7 and 8 year old sisters). This isn't like Argentina where they are concerned that tomato sauce with pasta will damage their liver. This is about women like Mukhtaran Bibi who was gang-raped and was expected to kill herself because of a unfounded rumor about her brother. There are no "buts" about the heinousness of honor killings in Pakistan. Why? Because unless there is an international outcry the government is complicit. Men who kill their wife here in the states will almost always go to prison and probably the death penalty. Musharraf will act only when he gets huge amounts of publicity meant to humiliate him. West Africa is poor and Muslim and they don't have these "honor killings" and neither does Indonesia.

Look, I know you don't mean to say "honor killing is justified by poverty", and I know we have our creeps here in the states. But the US justice system usually takes care of them. Corruption is the true problem in Pakistan. You probably can't stop "honor killings" completely, but you can stop the government's tacit permission.

This is why we are fighting the war on terror. Do you know what Bin Ladin planned for the US after 9/11? Here are his terms of surrender. . .
http://smh.com.au/news/world/bin-laden-without-the-filters/2005/11/17/1132016927094.html?oneclick=true
These are the same thugs who supported the Taliban. We have to win this.


Oh yeah, Musharraf is far from perfect, but who else is there? He has survived a couple of assasination attempts and has taken a lot of criticism from his country because he has appeared to take mostly our side. Sometimes in diplomacy you have to play the hand you are dealt. . .

- Patata Brava

A: Dear Angry Potato,

First of all, opinions and criticisms don't get you permanently banned... you have to start swearing or threaten our lives to get us really worried. But, I'm happy to hear your criticisms.

Thank you for pointing out the original source of the article. But, rather than withdraw my criticism of Fox, I will just extend the same statement to the AP. Associated Press does a great job covering the facts, but very little analysis. To their credit, they never claim to provide analysis (even when they actually do). Fox claims to be fair and balanced, so they still probably deserve the criticism. Don't get me wrong, I read both.

I agree with your general premise. I also found this specific case horrifying, and I'm glad you gave me the benefit of the doubt. That reader asked for a discussion of why honor killings happen, so I did my best to explain the thought process.

You are right. We need to go after this issue. We need to go after a lot of issues like this. I think we should pressure the Musharraf regime to go after these crimes. But, we will probably get the response that they have more important things on their hands. So, we will get nowhere.

But, like I said, I am more horrified by the 2-3 honor killings that go untried in Jordan than I am by the ones that happen in Pakistan. Yes, the numbers are much greater in Pakistan, but Pakistan has a lot more issues to deal with. Jordan should know better.

Anyways, I agree with your premises. I wanted to present that as a complicated issue so the reader would get a better idea as to WHY honor killings happen.

As for your discussion of Bin Laden, yes... I am very aware of what Bin Laden asks us to do. And I am certainly not one to say "Hey... he wants us to sign the Kyoto Protocol... he isn't such a bad guy after all." I have read his fatwas and the 9/11 Commission Report and I consider myself well informed on both the goals and causes of the War on Terror. It is because I understand them that I was willing to present a different side of the honor killings issue (and... Honor Killings have nothing to do with the war on terror. Both are evils caused by misinterpretations of Islam, but they are otherwise unrelated).

Finally, you're right... Musharraf is the best we have, but I really think he is an ally of convenience. Even so, he has sacrificed a lot of legitimacy by supporting the US. We were not happy when he came to power, and we still aren't happy. And, surviving assassination attempts does not qualify someone as a good statesman (Saddam survived assassination attempts too... so that argument is moot). But, I agree... we have to play with the hand we are dealt. Such is diplomacy. Even so, I don't trust him (I trust him more than I trust Ariel Sharon, however... to put things in perspective).

Overall, I agree with many of your points... so I thank you for bringing them up. Even so, I think we need more than a public outcry to combat honor killings... we need to change people and we need to change their environment. How to do that? Well... that is a whole other story.

The neverending story... ahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah....

That is all.

Horatio