Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father Beheads Daughter, Singer Killed: Opine, But Check Your Facts!

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of US (1809 - 1865) (via The Quotations Page)
I think folks should be free to express their opinions, even if 'the establishment' doesn't approve. Make that particularly if the establishment doesn't approve.

But I also wish that more folks would take a few extra minutes and check their facts.

Primal Screaming

I remember when "catharsis" was fashionable in pop psychology, and folks were encouraged to vent their feelings: loudly. I'm not entirely convinced that screaming hatred and fury is good for people, particularly when it gets to be a habit.1

The person who rants might reasonably be expected to get into the habit of reacting to annoyances by repeating the same old insults, and dredging up the ill-will that fed his or her anger in the first place.

Folks on the receiving end aren't likely to feel much like reaching out to the ranter. Particularly if they're targets of the rant.

After a while, I think, the anger and hate come 'naturally,' without thought.

Assumptions, Valid and Otherwise

It's probably easier to notice when someone with an opposing view makes an outrageously inaccurate claim: but knee-jerk reactions aren't limited to 'the other guys.'

For example, first - a distressing news item:
"Indian police: Man chops off daughter's head, citing her 'indecent behavior' "
Sara Sidner and Sumnima Udas, CNN.com (June 19, 2012)

"Police in the northern India state of Rajasthan say they were stunned when a man showed up at a police outpost holding a bloody human head in one hand and a sword in another.

"The head was that of the man's daughter, chopped off because of her 'indecent behavior,' Umesh Ojha, deputy superintendent of the district police, told CNN.

"Investigators say the man, Oghad Singh, had paraded the head through the village on his way to the police station...."
Now - an all-too-predictable response:
"India: Muslim Man Beheads Daughter, Parades Head Through Streets To Cleanse Family Honor…"
Weasel Zippers (June 19, 2012)

"If [political party] are looking for a real [slogan] to condemn they can start with honor killings in the Islamic world.
"JAIPUR, India (AP) — A father in northwestern India remained unrepentant....

"...A coroner stitched Kanwar's head onto her body for the funeral. About 100 men, many of them relatives wearing ceremonial Rajput warrior clan turbans, surrounded her muslin-wrapped body, and her brother lit the funeral pyre...."
I put a longer excerpt of articles from CNN.com and Times of India at the end of this post.2

Turbans, Names, and Getting a Grip

There are quite a few Muslims in India, so I suppose it could be considered part of "the Islamic world." The father's name made me think that the family might not follow Islam, though:
"Singh /ˈsɪŋ/ is a common title, middle name, or surname used in South Asia, mainly in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, originally used by Hindu Kshatriya warriors and kings...."
(Singh, Wikipedia)
Having an 'un-Islamic' family name isn't a strong indication, though. Someone whose name was Jabari Kinshasa could be a member of the Ku Klux Klan - although I think that's rather unlikely.

Maybe it's the turbans that 'proved' that this murder was tied to Islam. Let's look at the implications of those "Rajput warrior clan turbans:"
"Rajput clans"
Wikipedia

"The Rajputs are a martial race and caste of the Indian subcontinent. They are a Hindu caste whose members...."
Looks like folks in the clan are likely to be Hindus. That's consistent with what the CNN article mentioned:
"...Kunwar's head and the rest of her body were cremated according to Hindu tradition, police said."

"India is filled with extremes on many levels, including how women are treated...."
(Sara Sidner and Sumnima Udas, CNN.com)
I don't think what Mr. Singh did shows that Hindus are really Muslims, and always chop off their daughters' heads. And I certainly don't think I'll make myself seem reasonable by making that sort of statement.

On the other hand, I might get more attention, and that's another topic.

Christianity, Burning Crosses, and All That

It's been a long time since folks of the 'kill a commie for Christ' sort had a major influence on American culture: for which I'm grateful. Today's establishment isn't the WASP nest it was in my youth, but I see the same 'my way or the highway' attitude. More topics.

Just as some folks apparently assume that anyone wearing a turban is a Muslim, others assume that anyone who admits to being Christian is a racist homophobe.

That assumption has a few facts in it: an iteration of the Ku Klux Klan liked to gather by the light of brightly burning crosses, and was known for 'defending' America against blacks and other 'foreigners.' But there's much more to Christianity than nativist soreheads. A lot more.

I've been over that idea before:

Un-Islamic - And Maybe More

Here's another sad bit of news:
"Pashto singer Ghazala Javed and her father shot dead in Pakistan"
Times of India (June 19, 2012)

"Well-known Pashto singer Ghazala Javed and her father were shot and killed by unidentified men in Peshawar city of northwest Pakistan, police said today....

"...Police officials told the media that they were ascertaining details of the attack to establish who was behind the crime. They said the singer's relatives had not asked police to file charges against anyone as yet.

"In recent years, several singers and musicians in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province have been gunned down by the local Taliban, who have declared music 'un-Islamic'...."
This time, I'm quite willing to assume that "the local Taliban" may be responsible for the latest killing of an "un-Islamic" performer. And, since the Taliban claims that their motives involve Islam: I think it's reasonable to say that Islam is involved in these killings. The Taliban's version of Islam, anyway.

I also think that Al Qaeda and the Taliban may be no more representative of all Islam, than the Ku Klux Klan is of Christendom. Indonesia has occasionally been an example of an Islamic country that doesn't kill people for wearing the 'wrong' clothing. (Another War-on-Terror Blog (July 24, 2011, August 22, 2008))

Pashtunistan and 'Foreigners'

Don't bother looking for Pashtunistan. Pashtuns have been living on two sides of a border since 1893, and lost out in 1947 when Afghanistan got one lot of Pashtuns, and Pakistan got the other.

This is guesswork on my part, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's some old-fashioned ethnic chauvinism involved in who "the local Taliban" think is Islamic, and who isn't.

Taliban types had plenty of 'religious' reasons for killing "well-known Pashto singer Ghazala Javedm," since she:
  • Was a woman who
    • Sang in public
    • Was photographed at least once without a veil
  • Presumably sang lyrics that folks wanted to hear
Being Pashto may not have been a factor in targeting her. But when someone who's ethnically distinct from other citizens of a nation gets targeted, I tend to remember regrettable parts of America's past.

America: Love it and Change it

I like being an American, but I'm convinced that America isn't perfect. Not even close. I am hopeful, though, because a remarkable number of Americans care about this country: and many of them are immigrants, with fresh energy and new ideas.

Fixing what's wrong, and strengthening what works, means change - and that's going to hurt. But change is one of this creation's constants. (June 10, 2012, January 18, 2012)

America experienced huge changes during my teens. Some of the changes were long-overdue corrections of systematic injustices. Some didn't work out as well as I'd like.

A half-century later, America has new problems, and some of the same old ones. Changes are happening, and Americans have decisions to make. I think we'll do a better job, if we make reasoned decisions based on facts.

Related posts:
In the news:

1 I've over-simplifying 'scream therapy.'

2 Excerpts from the news:
"Pashto singer Ghazala Javed and her father shot dead in Pakistan"
Times of India (June 19, 2012)

"Well-known Pashto singer Ghazala Javed and her father were shot and killed by unidentified men in Peshawar city of northwest Pakistan, police said today.

"The men fired indiscriminately at Javed and her father Mohammad Javed while she was leaving a beauty parlour at the busy Mohallah Nau in Dabgari Bazar last night, the singer's relatives told police.

"The singer's younger sister, Farhat Bibi, escaped unhurt. The attackers, who were riding motorcycles, escaped after the shooting.

"Police officials told the media that they were ascertaining details of the attack to establish who was behind the crime. They said the singer's relatives had not asked police to file charges against anyone as yet.

"In recent years, several singers and musicians in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province have been gunned down by the local Taliban, who have declared music 'un-Islamic'.

"Several musicians have fled the northwest after receiving threats from the militants.

"Police are also looking at the possibility that Javed's death was linked to differences with her husband.

"Javed married Jehangir Khan, a native of Peshawar, some two years ago. ..."

"Indian police: Man chops off daughter's head, citing her 'indecent behavior' "
Sara Sidner and Sumnima Udas, CNN.com (June 19, 2012)

"Police in the northern India state of Rajasthan say they were stunned when a man showed up at a police outpost holding a bloody human head in one hand and a sword in another.

"The head was that of the man's daughter, chopped off because of her 'indecent behavior,' Umesh Ojha, deputy superintendent of the district police, told CNN.

"Investigators say the man, Oghad Singh, had paraded the head through the village on his way to the police station.

"Singh's daughter, Manju Kunwar, was in her 20s and was living with her parents after divorcing her husband two years ago. Her father accused her of acting indecently with other men.

"Family convicted in 'honor murders'

"Authorities say Kunwar's mother is a farmer who was working in the fields at the time and was too distraught to talk. Singh works in a marble quarry."

"The beheading happened on Tuesday in Dengar Ka Guda, a village in Rajsamand District about 400 kilometers, or 250 miles, from Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan."

"Kunwar's head and the rest of her body were cremated according to Hindu tradition, police said."

"India is filled with extremes on many levels, including how women are treated...."

"...This month India topped the Thomson Reuters Foundation poll as the worst place to be a woman among the top 19 economies in the world. The foundation cited abuse, killings and discrimination on a scale unparalleled in the other developed nations...."

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry bub but there are, proportionately, a lot more lunatics in Islam than in Christianity. It is DANGEROUS and, I think, self-deceiving, to think otherwise. I believe the same can be said for Hindu-related cults in India, but less so, I think, than, in Islam.

Islam is a malignancy, a real big one.

Brian Gill said...

Anonymous,

You could be right.

I still think it's a good idea to find out if the folks wearing turbans really are Muslims, before identifying them as such.

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