Saturday, September 01, 2012

All Cultures Are Not Equal

The following observations about “honor killing” were published by the Finnish author and politician Jussi Halla-aho on September 30, 2011. Many thanks to Heikki Polojärvi for the translation.

Some thoughts about honour violence
by Jussi Halla-aho

Recently there were news reports about a Pakistani girl named Kainad Soomro. Four men gang-raped her when she was thirteen years old.

By being raped and consequently losing her virginity, Kainat, according to the local perception of honour, shamed her family. The community demanded that Kainat’s father should kill his daughter, which he refused to do. The family had to flee from their hometown to Karachi, but the harassment has continued there as well.

The honour murder traditions of Islamic countries have been a difficult subject in the Western countries. Any discussion quickly turns to how women are, in fact, oppressed everywhere, the form of oppression only varies.

As if the under-representation of women in the governments of listed stock companies was in any way the same kind of paradigm as a 13-year-old girl being killed for having been raped.


Firstly, it has to be stated that family violence — both abuse and homicides, and attempts at them — are quite evenly shared between men and women [Finnish statistics].

Secondly it must be remembered that usually an act of violence is committed on impulse or while drunk, which is why the perpetrators (both men and women), are usually convicted for manslaughter instead of murder. However, a Pakistani-style honour murder is a deliberate, organised project carried out in cold blood.

The main difference between “honour killing” and “honour murder” is the social acceptability of the deed. A family killing is not considered justified by the society, the killer’s family or friends or, actually, the killer himself. Not a single Finnish family killer walks out of the police station as a free man/woman. Not a single family killer appeals in the court to his sense of honour, or defence of it, or get any reduction of his sentence with this argument. Not a single husband’s, ex-husband’s or boyfriend’s father, mother, brother or sister requires him to defend the family honour by killing his wife, ex-wife or girlfriend.

And not a single Finnish man would kill his 13-year-old daughter for shaming his family by being raped.

Let’s take another look at the Pakistani case. An honour murder is not a freak incident committed by a deranged individual. It is a collective deed. The murderer not only, or even principally, defends his/her own honour, but that of his/her family, kin and community. The community requires Kainat’s father to murder his daughter. Her father is expected to work as the executioner of the community.

In addition, honour murder is a deed attached to a culture, accepted and required by it. It’s a traditional part of it. It’s the traditional solution to the problem generated by a little girl being raped. Because Kainat’s father didn’t follow this tradition he and his family were evicted.

A culture where a) little girls are gang raped b) raped little girls are murdered in order to protect the community’s honour is dark barbarism of such an extent that is difficult for a Western person to understand. Further cognitive dissonance is caused for the tolerantly aware by maintaining their faith in the wonderfulness of the Islamic culture and, in general, the equality of all cultures. That’s why discussion of the actual subject is avoided like the plague, and attention is moved to something that has nothing at all to do with the subject, for example, to the under-representation of women in stock-listed companies, or domestic violence.

All cultures are not equal. A culture where a 13-year-old girl disgraces herself, her family and her kin by being raped, and who therefore deserves to be killed, is not equal to what we know as Western culture.

In order to avoid misunderstandings, let it be added that the evaluation above is targeted towards killing-killing cultures with no regard to their religious status. Everyone can, based on the facts, see if any religion has in any way a higher profile in this respect than others.

These days there are honour killings in Europe as well, because of the past, and present, massive immigration of people in whose opinion killing girls and women who stain the family honour is OK. The subject is not discussed in any way to the extent that it should be, because no-one wants to stigmatise the immigrants and therefore, make their efforts to integrate more difficult. For a multicultural coordinator to shake a finger at these people explaining honour violence to be wrong works about as well as a Jehovah’s witness telling you in a subway entrance that Jesus is coming soon.

It may be that culture and traditions change little by little in Pakistan as well. It may be that the courage of Kainat Soomro and her father will bear fruit. But before this happens it is of primary importance that as few representatives as possible of this kind of culture move into Western countries. If enough move in to be able to form cultural enclaves that contain this dark barbarism, the game is lost.


Anonymous said...

Let's take the assertion: All cultures are equal.

What is this based on? A set of values of some sort? If there existed a value which said that no value was any better than any other value, then isn't the original claim incoherent?

For one could just as easily say that all cultures are not equal. One assertion is as good as another, since no value (which such an assertion must be based on, or else it is nothing but meaningless words) is any better than any other.

No one culture is better than another, eh? Says who?

Anonymous said...

of course all cultures are not equal, that is evident. you can't even argue otherwise.

If, for instance the islamic culture would be better, all muslims would stay in Somalia, Morocco, Afghanistan etc.

People emigrate in order to tget a better life (economical reasons) so yes, the European culture is better than islamic culture.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, culture and tradition change little by little in countries like Pakistan but their change is regressive, going back to barbarism and beyond, not progressive. Islam is the odd one out when it comes to culture, the mildest way to put it is that Islam is unhealthy for all
involved.Moslems are trapped in a World within a World and they don't know it.We need to rescue them from themselves.Doing nothing is not an option.

Anonymous said...

The notion of all cultures are equal is a modern Marxist concept. Blame can be laid at the feet of Franz Boas and those who later incorporated Post-Modern thinking into cultural anthropology.

But in realty cultures are not equal. Not even remotely.

Heikki Polojärvi said...

"Indeed, culture and tradition change little by little in countries like Pakistan but their change is regressive, going back to barbarism and beyond, not progressive."
The problem is, we have no means to define "progress".

"Islam is the odd one out when it comes to culture, the mildest way to put it is that Islam is unhealthy for all
involved.Moslems are trapped in a World within a World and they don't know it.We need to rescue them from themselves.Doing nothing is not an option."
Doing nothing IS an option. Since morals are based on either God's law or common agreement we have no means, or right, to impose our own morals on them. It just won't work. It's impossible.

Instead, we should concentrate on imposing our moral standards on people who move here. On our land it's our right, and our duty.

Anonymous said...

Sweden, this week-end
13 year old girl killed by neighbors

What motive do two neighbors have for killing a 13 year old girl? The two neighbors/brothers have been taken into custody.

Police will not give details, other than saying it is a special murder.

Anonymous said...

Indeed we should be imposing our culture on those who move here. But we don't thanks to ideologies like post-modernism that infects the humanities and has rotted the intellectual capacities of our young with nonsense. The young no longer believe their society is the best or even proud of it. This has made it easy for the multicults to impose the toxic notion that all cultures are equal.

Worse to state that the 1st world Western cultural is superior is now seen as a act of racism and xenophobia by the elite of our universities.