Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Honor Crimes in Jordan

Over the last couple of years, thanks to the blogsphere, I've been reading articles about honor killings in Jordan and the outrageous judicial system that lets murderers get away with some of the ugliest most brutal crimes imaginable. Yesterday I read THIS POST by Naseem Tarawneh, and suddenly I'm fueled with rage to write a film that deals with this mess to bring it to the forefront. So, if you have any stories you would like to share, please email them to me as I'll be researching this subject over the next few weeks. Thanks.


Anonymous Jameel said...

Yes, Amin, Arab women have been subjected to unspeakable violence in the name of honor. About 20 women are killed in Jordan alone each year. But if you want to target a more devastating violence that kills far more Arab women than any other social injustice, you can't ignore the Americans. yes, the Americans have slaughtered far more Arab women in one year, then the history of honor killing in 100 years. Most of these women leave children behind and the tragedy does not stop with the murder of Arab women. In Jordan, the killer gets off the hook with a 6 months jail term. the Americans kill Arab women with impunity. We must also address the violent racism that rationaliz3s the mass murder of Arab women by Americans. that somehow someone can say "it's war" and that makes mass murder OK but when someone says "it's honor" it becomes an international issue even though the kill rate is 1/100000 women in favor of the Americans. SO yes to exposing the killing of women for what it is, a crime that goes unpunished. And yes for refusing to give one type of murder legitimacy and rejecting another just because those who are doing the killing tells us so.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Lama said...

Dear Amin, one must remember that what makes honor killing a brand name is not the act of killing women over honor. It's the lenient sentence and the inabilty of the highest authorities in Jordan to issue a decree to ban such disparity in sentencing. The king has the power to do it and to dissolve Parliament until he gets one that will support such a law. Your film should be about why not end this disparity? it should investigate the root causes of this refusal to reform the legal system at the highest levels and whether there is foul play involved in keeping this law on the books.

In most third world countries there is honor killing and it takes more innocent lives than in jordan, but in 90% of those country's the man is punished for murder and gets no special treatment.

So your film should be about a young woman who is trying to change the laws in Jordan but is subject to a number of assassination attempts from sources that turn out to be at the highest level. It's an open ended film. She gets killed, and no one knows how high this goes.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...




2:22 PM  
Blogger Amin Matalqa said...

Lama, that's the obvious angle. I have something else in mind.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Muhammad said...

Salam Amin,
I think it's great that you're tackling such a complicated subject for a movie.

I like to point out that even though this laws seem so "unjust", it took the parliament only 40 minutes to uphold the laws and drop any objections to them.

This means that the problem is not really a simple one of "justice" vs "injustice". Just like all cultural issues, this is a complicated issue that has 2 sides, each is trying to achieve what it perceives as the greater good. pro-Choice vs pro-Life debate comes to mind as a similar issue. and just as that, people on each side feel very strongly that they are right and that the other side just "doesn't get it".

so I just hope that your presentation of the problem won't be simple one-sided one. Try to uncover the debate and bring it up to the surface so that both sides feel represented, get involved, and hopefully reach a solution.

Why some people actually feel strongly for the "honor killing" laws?

I personally do not know (I'm another city dweller with liberal inclinations). Below are some of my guesses:
1- certainly, no one wants to see their daughter, sister, or mother killed. We really must understand why despite their love, they commit this crime.

2- From the point of view of the parents: we had a daughter, something came up, and her brother killed her. The loss of the daughter was great enough, we do not want to also lose the son. Thus, we'd rather our son stays at home instead of prison.

3- morality in any culture tries to protect certain institutions. Possibly, the laws are perceived as a defense line for the institution of family or honor or celibacy). Removing the laws without putting something else in place (e.g. some law to discourage premarital sexual relations, family integrity & respect, etc.) is not acceptable.

4- The solution might not be abolishing the honor killing laws, but modifying them so that they protect both the women and the family integrity.

those are some of my thoughts. I hope you find my rant slightly useful.

again, good luck with your new endeavor, and congratulations on the Oscar submission.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Amin Matalqa said...

I'm mostly interested in a revenge story actually, from the perspective of a guy who loses the love of his life to an "honor" crime.

5:01 PM  

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