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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shafia Trial

Today's post is an angry feminist rant about current events. It's not even that coherent. I feel like I have so much to say, and I've run out of time today to say it. But I must say something.

Yesterday there was a court ruling about a case which has captured the attention of Canadians. The parents and brother of 3 murdered girls and their step-mom were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

The murders were carried out a couple of years ago. The parents and brother pushed a car that carried the 4 women into a canal. All 4 women drowned.

The reason? Licentious behaviour. The girls, aged 19, 17, and 13 weren't modest enough for the Afghani parents. So they killed them.

There's tons more info on the case here:

Every time I have heard this story on the radio, and there have been numerous reportings on it, I have thought, "those fuckers!" I wish there was a death penalty. I really do. I'm so angry at these people. Can you imagine killing your child? Can you imagine killing 3 of your children? They killed a 13 year old girl for slutty behaviour.

The family moved from Afghanistan to Canada. They're a wealthy family. There was a dad, a mom, the older brother who helped to kill them. The three sisters who died, 2 other sisters and a brother. And the dad's first wife who they brought in a couple months later as a cousin who was going to "help with the housework" or something.

The oldest daughter, Zainab was rebellious. She hung out with boys, she wore makeup and clothes that showed her body. She ran away, to a women's shelter. She got married to someone her parents didn't approve of and then had the marriage annulled. Her behaviour was pretty wild in some ways. Not so wild in others. Not so far off the beaten path of teenage-hood.

The second sister, Sahar, was rebellious too. She hung out with boys, took tarty pics of herself with her cell phone. She dated boys.

The third daughter, Geeti was 13. She asked teachers and schools for help, saying they were going to kill her and then recanted in front of her parents. Pictures of her make her look like a child, not an adolescent. She was a little girl.

The first wife, Rona, was 52. She was barren. She wanted to leave her marriage. She was afraid of her husband. Afraid he would kill her.

All 4 of these women were afraid. Justifiably.

There's a sense that the system let them down. They knew they were in danger, and asked for help, from schools and friends and social workers. They were afraid of being killed and they said so.

We are so politically correct as a culture, so stupidly liberal, that we want to believe that every culture has legitimacy even if it isn't our own. And here's the thing. They don't all have the same legitimacy. Some cultural ways, traditional ways, are just barbaric and evil and repressive. Some are just wrong. We need to say so.

Who decides? Well if you don't feel capable, I can do it, thanks.

These honour killings were that kind of barbaric, primitive, evil thing. This man, their father, obviously the mind behind the crimes, clearly felt that he had the rights to power and control over their sexuality. They were killed because he couldn't control their sexuality.

I seriously hope they put him in jail with a thousand other men and he learns something about sexuality there.


  1. This is one of those terrible situations where the death penalty should be used....when there is no doubt of guilt.

    Its reading tragic stories like this that as horrendous as they are they need to be told, there needs to be more support for women in other cultures (more so when they are in a country where this behaviour is rightly so not tolerated) and turning a blind eye isnt the solution.

  2. I've been following this story closely too. It is heartbreaking and absolutely tragic.

    If anything, this is a testament to a lack of services in Quebec. It has less to do with being PC and liberal and more to do with a province that is all about acculturation. There is, if anything, a lack of understanding about how other cultures "work", nor is there a desire to understand cultures that don't fit in with the majority Francophone Quebecois. It's easier to get into intensive, government funded French lessons in Quebec, than it is to get a doctor's appointment or an appointment with a social worker. ESPECIALLY if you are an immigrant.

    The Shafia parents were at one point spoken to about their disciplinary techniques in the household. People weren't tip toeing around them, afraid that they would get in trouble for judging their cultural practices (trust me, google "quebec burqua ban").They were following rules and procedures and frankly, no one gave enough of a shit to get these girls help.

  3. Cannot speak to how things are in Canada, because mouse doesn't live there. But will say here that people are deeply fearful of confronting situations as these under the blanket of freedom of religion.

    When someone relocates to another country, either temporarily (as in travel) or permanently (immigration) they become bound by the laws of where ever they are. So, mouse totally agree with you Sin. It's this PC attitude where we must understand other cultures and tiptoe around their beliefs, which are totally driven by strict religeous convictions mixed in with a whole lot of bronze age ideals about women...

    It's sad, but it's also telling and it's becoming a bigger problem than many would like to admit.


  4. I had n ot heard about this. It seems strange that folks want to come to Canada for the freedom and opportunity and security it provides, but are unwilling to recognize that with those benefits come different standards of behavior....for their daughters and for them.

    I agree with your prescription for these creeps.


  5. I think the thing that makes this so horrible to me is the idea of the girls being killed by the people who they should have been able to trust to protect them. Somehow that breaks my heart and fills me with rage on their behalf, both at the same time.

    I'm not usually an advocate of the death penalty, but I think in some extreme cases it is warranted.

    The three convicted murderers are appealing of course. But the evidence against them is huge. Their appeal is on the process I think. The good news is that they don't have citizenship and can be deported if the sentence doesn't stand up.


  6. Sin,

    That's good....hopefully the sentence sticks tho. Deportation would allow them to continue on with their lives and that would be tragic.


  7. Here in the UK a case like this turns up about once a year - the murder of a young woman commited by family members and justified by them as being honorable because she is "bringing disgrace to the family" in some way - usually by refusing to marry the man they have chosen for her.
    Incomprehensible and totally abhorent. I agree with everything you say ( and you say it so well),except for your call for the death penalty. I have other reasons for believing that a civilized society should never resort to this, but in this kind of case there is an additional reason against it - it would only support a claim of matrydom for the "cause". That's how twisted and sad the whole thing is. That it still happens, even in forward thinking societies - I'm talking about Canada here as this can hardly be said about the UK at the moment - is a sign of how far we have yet to go to banish ignorance and bigotry.

  8. Thanks for writing this, Sin. I share your outrage, of course, and your sadness.

    i could do a rant of my own on how this is just an extreme degree of ways that evangelical and Catholic Christians are heading in the same direction, but that's my own hobby horse, and so mild comparatively that it almost doesn't count.

    This story is just tragic.