Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Death and Dishonour

I remember Mark Steyn quoting the the leathery General Sir Charles Napier's contribution to the debate on "suttee" in the subcontinent:

''You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

Good for him, and I note in passing that the Moslem Mughal emperors discouraged it as well.

I also remember reading this pseudonymous memoir of Saudi Arabia a couple of years ago:
"The desert is full of voices," Ali said.
"Of people buried out there."
"You think he killed her?"
"What else? He was the father or husband, probably her father. She did something to dishonor the family. Maybe the tribe," Ali said. "He lost face. He had to get it back."
"That's crazy."
"I know. It happened in my family."

Memories stirred by this from The Times yesterday:
After her father Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and her uncle Ari Mahmod, 51, were convicted for murder yesterday at the Old Bailey, The Times can reveal that Miss Mahmood had told police on at least four separate occasions that the men were going to kill her because she had fallen in love with a man they disapproved of.

She was done away with at home in Mitcham, just around the corner from where I sit typing. For some reason I find the detail that she was found buried in a suitcase almost unbearably poignant and sad.

I don't want to write any more but you can probably imagine what I conclude regarding our spinelessness; "four separate occasions".

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