Maybe there's yet hope for us all!
There was a dishonor killing in suburban Toronto in December 2007. A 16-year-old school girl named Aqsa Parvez was strangled to death by her father, Muhammad. Her "crime"? Acting too Western. In the weeks preceding her death, Aqsa had argued with her family over several issues. She did not want to wear a hijab, the traditional head scarf worn by pubescent and post-pubescent females in traditional Muslim families. (The photograph above is of Aqsa dutifully wearing her hijab. . .and adding her own fashion flare to the customary look.) She also rebelled against the strict rules laid down for her within the household. Her school was aware of the problems and was attempting to mediate. In the meantime, Aqsa had moved out of the parental home and was living with a friend.
In the aftermath of Aqsa's dishonor killing, virtually none of the Canadian media was calling the crime what it was. Some even pandered and went out of their way to depict Aqsa as just another teen with growing pains. The tiptoeing was so extreme that some Canadian newspapers weren't even saying she'd been strangled to death. The tortuously PC language used to describe her death was "neck compression."
So, well, OK, that was then. In my daily Googling of these crimes, I just came upon this article:
The headline actually uses the phrase "honour killing." Bravo to those responsible! This is progress. And, hooray, Aqsa's brother, Waqas, is also being charged. These crimes are often carried out with the involvement of other family members. So I've added Waqas to my rogue's gallery:
No more referring to the cause of death as "neck compression." Now it's being described as strangulation. Do I detect a bit more courage?
What also pleases me is this paragraph:
The Crown will now attempt to prove to a jury that it was that resistance to old-world-thinking, and her embracing a Canadian lifestyle, culture and friends, that resulted in the Pakistani-born Grade 11 Applewood Heights Secondary School student being murdered in a deliberate and thought-out manner.
Yes, this is definitely progress! As my late friend Pammy once said to me, how will we ever properly deal with these crimes if people won't even call them what they are? Indeed.
There is still so much work to do. But, at least in this one case, I am seeing signs of progress. It is a wonderful way to end the week.
And, if the Crown needs an expert witness to solidify their case before a jury, I offer my services. May justice prevail in this case.
Causes Ellen Sheeley Supports
For All Women Foundation