Thursday, May 24, 2012

No Honour Here

Mohammad Shafia (bottom) and his son Hamed Shafia (L) leave the Frontenac County Courthouse in Kingston, Ontario January 29, 2012. The two, as well as Shafia's wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, were found guilty of first-degree murder on Sunday. They were charged with killing Mohammad Shafia's three daughters Zainab Shafia, 19, Sahar Shafia, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, as well as Mohammad's first wife, Rona Amir Mohammed.

Photograph by: Lars Hagberg , Reuters

At the Thursday Think Tank, the prompt is Honour. (Canada spells it with a U). Sadly, the Canadian news this year has been full of the Shafia "honour killings". Afghan Mohammad Shafia, his second wife and his son, were found guilty of murdering their three daughters and Shafia's other wife, who had been brought to Canada as a domestic servant. The girls were deemed to be influenced by Western freedoms, dressing provocatively and dating boys. The family "honour" had to be preserved.

School officials were concerned about the girls, one of whom was profoundly sad,  the other acting out. Child welfare investigations were unsuccessful, as interviews were conducted in the presence of the father, so the girls could not speak freely.

The judge concluded sentencing with a stinging denunciation. “The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameless murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your twisted notion of honour, a notion of honour that is founded upon the domination and control of women, a sick notion of honour that has absolutely no place in any civilized society.”

"Justice was done," news reporters say. But that doesn't bring back the three girls and their stepmother. 

It is a strange perspective,
difficult to understand,
when dating, dressing in Western clothes, 
and being a teenage girl
are transgressions punishable by death,
but murder
for the sake of "family honour"
is considered
and just,
not an offence.


  1. It defies a any kind of logic, flies in the face of human decency. I have no words.

  2. It is impossible to comprehend the fact that these killings are considered acceptable by some. Thank you for highlighting this important issue with your sensitively written poem.

  3. Tragic! How can these 'men' live with themselves? Is it any wonder that some women TRY to escape that culture!

  4. It is sad that law abiding adults can take an about turn in the face of misguided judgments. Great write Sherry.


  5. This is a tragic story! So sad! I can only say some men are so mis-guided in their views of women as to only desire to appropriate women and not share in the real beauty of a sense of 'gift' towards each other. This is so sad, for the women deserve so much more. So much more! We men must take the responsibility to love our family of women selflessly and give women the respect and freedom they deserve. My God, this is not the Middle Ages. I am saddened magnanimously by this senseless act by abject cowards!!

  6. There is no logic in what these people did. No honour at all. Just crazy beliefs and religion rearing its ugly head again in a world that proves its religion that is mostly the cause of all of this disgraceful behaviour.
    4 deaths due to honour. It beggers belief but then, their lives in their former countries are anything but free either.

  7. This is sad and haunting! I will never understand their culture or their misguided views. It is tragic and sick...
    Well written Sherry!

  8. Impossible to understand at all. Your poem states it well.

  9. So very disturbing, Sherry. Thank you fr going there though it needs to be addressed and in a way that makes one think.

  10. A sad story and a tragic way of thinking these people have.....great and wise response to the prompt Sherry! Hope you had a nice Memorial Day. :-)

  11. so hard to understand... so sad.

  12. so hard to understand... so sad.


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