Murder in the Name of Honor: The True Story of One Woman's Heroic Fight Against an Unbelievable Crime
Murder in the Name of Honor The True Story of One Woman's Heroic Fight Against an Unbelievable Crime Author:Rana Husseini “If enough people read this book, maybe the next time a young woman is being stoned to death for having fallen in love, someone will intervene to save her life." Jane Fonda Chewing gum, laughing in the street, wearing make-up or a short skirt, choosing a boyfriend or husband, or being raped by a brother. All cited as “honorable? motives for mur... more »der. Rana Husseini?s hard-hitting and controversial examination of honor crimes is a fearless, groundbreaking account of a topic that can no longer be ignored. Claiming the lives of 5,000 women every year, the practice is common in many traditional societies around the world, as well as in migrant communities in the USA and Europe. Breaking through the conspiracy of silence, Husseini delivers the personal stories behind many high-profile cases that have hit the news recently to offer an unflinching look at one of the most brutal practices in the modern world. Rana Husseini is a journalist, feminist, and human rights defender.« less
Lenka S. reviewed Murder in the Name of Honor: The True Story of One Woman's Heroic Fight Against an Unbelievable Crime on + 887 more book reviews
A five-star topic dealt with in a two-star book...
As pressures grow among Muslim immigrant communities in Europe (and to a much lesser degree, in North America) for local laws to include 'sharia' (Islam's legal code, based on the Koran and Muslim teachings), issues such as honor killings emerge as hot points. As Husseini points out, male members of a woman's family believe and argue that they have the right under these traditions to avenge a family's honor should the woman violate (or be believed to have violated) their interpretation of religious rules and local mores.
The problem lies in the way Husseini approaches the book. This isn't about honor killings; it's about Rana Husseini and her heroic, courageous crusade against them.... Im sorry but I'd rather decide for myself whether someone's actions are courageous and heroic than have this asserted -- repeatedly -- by the author about herself. She's leading a movement to fight honor killings, which has so far made no improvements to anyones lives. There are endless examples of the multitude of ways they have failed to change the society perspective, by "picking" one law no-one used for honor-killing defense ever, and try to change it. Failing every time. Their utter failure to comprehend that the attitude of the people must be changed, before the law can reflect the shift, is for the most part, sad and disappointing. Presuring the parliament to pass a law, only a margin of the population believes in is laughable. Rana is completely blind to this fact. Its like she is crashing a truck through the glass chandelier shop window, thinking this will do the trick. But as blind as she is, she still thinks of her self as a reformator of human rights. A hero to women everywhere.
What she should be doing is supporting and introducing programs in schools and other public places that re-educate both men and women, that honor killings are not the only way to restore honor. There are other options. Not that the other options are reasonable or acceptable in civilized society, but one has to start with small seps that do not seem to deviate from the cultural norm, to be accepted. One step at the time to achieve social change. Then the laws will follow.
Apart of the perpetual patting her own back for job well done, there is the repetitive bombardment of 2 sentence "stories" of this girl was murdered, that girl was murdered, oh and that one too got killed, oh and the one from over there, and there was also this one from here and the one from the mountains was killed too... It is unfortunately having the opposite affect on the reared then what was intended. Reader becomes "used"to the "Death in 10 words or less" thrown in at every opportunity, somehow the horrible deaths no longer shock the reader. The reader becomes tired of the statistics, the "local paper departed column" style reports of murders. There is hardly ever any "emotional" connection between the reader and the victims listed by bucket-full. This is very unfortunate result of all that effort.
I will also note that I have found serious bias and a great deal of inaccuracies, in her book. I usually dont make a big deal about this sort of thing, but the way she presents her self as being 100% accurate, while trashing other authors to a point of getting their work and their unrelates future works, banned from publishing houses because they named a brand of cigarets that has not been available in Jordan at the time the author wrote/placed the story/book. And that author also cited (patriarchal) family eating practices (men eat first , then the women eat leftovers), this custom is very common in muslim and real societies, and can be found through out the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and some parts of Europe. Rana disagreed with the accuracy though she does not provide any data to the contrary. She just attacked through her group and launched a malicious campaign of outrage which ruined someones career. So, if she judges so harshly then one needs to take her standards and apply them to her own work.
I always do some "fact checking" and this book stood out for two reasons. The very, very numerous inaccuracies (mostly statistical data). The inaccuracies are partly due to the fact that the data she cites is produced by (Islamic) GOVERNMENT RUN agencies, or NGOs with local (Muslim) government/Tribal oversight. All the agencies and NGOs have political bias as to what government shifts and politics they are meant to support based on their donors and their political beliefs. Rana never made any attempt to cite independent sources, nor has she made any effort to check the data she has been given, for accuracy. And she very pointedly fails to note any political/religious "preferences" of the agencies producing the data.
The other bias, and a more subtle one is, that she is very selective as to which atrocities/data she highlights and which she downplays. As an example she states: *Palestinian Women's affair Ministry states factual data: 20 Honor-Killings & 50 Forced suicides. *Egypt: 50 Honor-Killings. *Pakistan 200. *Yemen 400. This info is followed by ESTIMATED Data from UK police of 17.000 female victims of honor violence. Followed by explanation that this included ESTIMATED kidnaping, sexual assault, and murder. Notice how she mixes facts with estimates, apples and oranges. And then honor Murders compared to honor kidnaping, sexual assault, and murder. This is like cats and giraffes. The way it is served to the reader, is very specific. The agenda behind it is to make the "civilized west" look more dangerous and horrible, than the most rural area in Yemen. (Please note that the * before the info stated denotes the suspect data from very a suspect agency.)
Reading the book a reader leaves thinking that though there are SOME honor killings in her home country, Jordan, its really not so bad, and EVERYONE actively works on getting it fixed. And it will not be long before it's a non-issue. But her open dislike of the Kurds shows in her blowing up their number of honor killings to 29 pages and 7 chapters, implying that they are the most blood thirsty minority "out there". But factually Jordan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and most African nations supersede the Kurds 100 to 1. But she only devotes 10 pages in TOTAL to the rest of the other countries (except Jordan). This is primarily due to the high animosity the Arabs (in general) have towards the Kurds. Seeing the Kurds the same way gipsies have been viewed in the century past (think the Hunchback of Notre-Dame).
Over all it is a decent, informative book, bit on the dry side. But one that still flows well (good writing). But it is interlaced with numerous data inaccuracies, heroism that is more discouraging than useful in helping anyone. Her bias is pretty strong, and though out the book. Apart of brining this silent issue to the front, there is not much more to be said about this book. It is an informative read, but one NEEDS to be able to de-code the bias and plow through all the inaccuracies to gain full understanding. I recommend it with caution.