Monday, June 2, 2008

This is also, sadly, humanity.

So. We go from the optimism of the last post to this.

I can't even begin to express the anger and sadness that I feel over this. The original tragedy was terrible enough. No one should ever live in fear of being stoned to death by their relatives for talking to another human being. I can understand disappointment, or maybe even a heated argument, but not violence. Stoning a girl in the street is an act of murder. Gunning a woman down in the streets is likewise an act of murder. Honor killing is merely a euphemism to try to purge yourself of guilt or responsibility.

This is an act of barbarism, and I point my finger at the religion and culture built around the religion which sanctions and advocates this type of behavior. I likewise indite those strong cultural relativists who want us to say that "it's just their own moral system," or "it's just their way of doing things." It may very well be the case that the best we can hope for in ethics is a system which we create, but I will argue to my death bed that a system that includes basic human rights (the right to life, the right to freedom of thought/speech, the right to not live in constant fear and under oppression by a cultural or religious tyranny, etc) is objectively better than abandoning people to whatever their group happens to feel is right for them at the moment. Genital mutilation, honor killings, killing in the name of religion - or any system of thought, for that matter - and sanctioned violence against any member of a particular gender, ethnicity, or social class...none of these are okay in my book, and the politically correct relativists be damned. If they want to sanction this type of behavior, let them, but make them admit their implicit agreement to allow these types of behaviors to continue. (Was the Holocaust merely an expression of Nazi Germany's ideas? Their form of discourse to be read like some text and respected as their personal ideology? How does the cultural relativist argue against something like a genocide perpetuated by another culture? It's enough to make me throw up.)

A man who can kill his own daughter with such brutality, for the crime of talking to another human being - and having feelings of love - does not deserve the title of "human" in my book. That creature is the lowest of the low, and my gut feeling would be to wish all the violence they have committed back onto them, though I realize that they wouldn't understand it and wouldn't change. That's almost the worst part - they have no inkling that they have done anything reprehensible. Likewise, the society that not only condones this type of behavior, but praises it and recommends it (in fact, even demands it of their people), that is not a society that I can respect. In the (paraphrased) words of Hannah Arendt, discussing Eichmann, "You have shown through your actions that you do not wish to share the world with us, and that, if nothing else, is enough to condemn you and for us to say that we do not wish to share the world with you."

I'm tired of being told that as an atheist, I can't possibly have any morality or notion of "the good." Or that I must lack compassion or caring for people. This is just one of the examples of what a strong religious "morality" can do to people, and you want to tell me that this is somehow better? I reject your religious ideals and morals, because I, as a human being, cannot possibly begin to agree with them. I see no good in the vast majority of your ethics, and what good there is is not exclusive to your religion - it's merely a few bright spots in a mire of offal. If you want to talk about Enlightenment morality, or even American ethics and how it's supposedly Christian-based, I would argue that it's simply because reason has had a chance to creep in to religious morality and subvert it. Whatever morality we have today that we can recognize is good is because of basic human compassion and reason, not from religion. The one is not the cause of the other.

I hope someone forms a memorial for these two women and doesn't let their stories, or the stories of any other people hurt or killed by religious irrationality, chauvinism, and hatred be buried or lost. The least we can do is keep their memory alive and do our damnedest to not let things like this happen again, to anyone.

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