Consummate dilettantism!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Everyone's Innately Peaceful, Right?

Indian village proud after double "honor killing," says Reuters.
Five armed men burst into the small room and courtyard at dawn, just as 21-year-old, 22-week pregnant, Sunita was drying her face on a towel.

They punched and kicked her stomach as she called out for her sleeping boyfriend "Jassa", 22-year-old Jasbir Singh, witnesses said. When he woke, both were dragged into waiting cars, driven away and strangled.

Their bodies, half-stripped, were laid out on the dirt outside Sunita's father's house for all to see, a sign that the family's "honor" had been restored by her cold-blooded murder.

A week later, the village of Balla, just a couple of hours drive from India's capital New Delhi, stands united behind the act, proud, defiant almost to a man.
This has undoubtedly been the practice of Indian villages for centuries. It rather belies the claim that every non-Western culture is inherently pacific (I love that word). I'm not saying that Indian culture is bad - there's lots to love about it, but of course, as with any culture, mindless worship thereof is absurd.

So enjoy your yoga and Buddhism, but don't overlook this and Sati. My point is that one should not say stupid things like (and I hear this all the time), "Indian culture is so peaceful and sexually open," or "Gosh, the Chinese have such a rich and storied history of learning and tolerance - it's a shame we can't be mellow like them." Surely these statements are somewhat true, but they obscure the reality that there is no such thing as a perfect culture, and that violence and brutality are inescapable aspects of the human condition.


  1. Many people erroneously believe dishonor killings occur only in Arab/Muslim families, but they also occur, as this case highlights, among Druze, Hindu, Sikh, and other cultures.

    Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
    "Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"

  2. The STOP HONORCIDE! campaign was launched on Mother's Day 2008. The goal of the campaign is to prosecute honorcides to the fullest extent of the law. We want honorcide to be classified as a hate crime and we advocate for every existing hate crime legislation to be amended to include honorcide.