You know what trying to live your own life in the Middle East gets you? In the case of one young woman in Pakistan, it got her a bullet to the brain, fired by her own father.
19-year old Saba Qaiser fell in love against her family’s wishes and ran off to marry her boyfriend. Just hours after the wedding, Saba’s father and uncle convinced her to get into a car with them, where they drove her to the side of a river, beat her severely and then her father shot her once in the head and dumped her body into the river.
But Saba wasn’t dead, merely unconscious. She managed to claw her way out of the river, stumble to a gas station and call for help. She is one of a large number of women who are either killed, or attempted to kill, in Muslim countries around the world. More than 1000 women are murdered in Pakistan every year. And whether these people like it or not, there is nothing honorable about “honor” killings. Virtually none of these murderers are ever brought to justice.
A documentary was made about Saba’s plight called “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”. It won the Oscar for best Documentary (short subject). It has also gotten some notoriety as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan announced, after seeing the film, that he was going to crack down on honor killings in Pakistan. Unfortunately, we’ve heard that before and it happens just as much today as it did in the past, maybe more.
After being saved, Saba was treated for her injuries, while the door was being guarded by police to ensure that her father and uncle couldn’t come back and finish the job. She is dedicated to seeing her father and uncle prosecuted for their crimes, but there is a lot of opposition to that from the Muslim community at large, who see “honor killing” as something not only accepted, but expected under their Muslim faith. When police arrested her father, Maqsood, he said, “She took away our honor. If you put one drop of piss in a gallon of milk, the whole thing gets destroyed. That’s what she has done. … So I said, ‘No, I will kill you myself.'” The uncle, Muhammad, was also arrested and both are awaiting trial. Yet even if convicted, this will just be seen as an attack on the Muslim way of life. You just can’t win against people with magical thinking.
This is hardly the first and it won’t be the last honor killing story I’ve featured here on Horror Show Monday. Unfortunately, when you can’t think rationally about the world around you, violence often follows along.