Redeeming a Useless Killing

An honor killing in southeast Turkey is renewing the debate about the practice. A 16-year old girl was bound and buried alive by her family last December for talking to boys. The family held a meeting and the grandfather approved the measure. Authorities have since arrested and are still holding both the father and the grandfather. The mother was detained and later released. About 200 honor killings occur each year in Turkey representing about half the country’s murders. The southeastern province where many of these killings occur is among the poorest. The isolation of poverty notwithstanding such killings defy norms of understanding. Obviously honor is valued above parental love. Still, isn’t infanticide a stain on one’s honor? What logic or archaic notions, what levels of ignorance lie behind a father or other male family member feeling entitled to take a life? Let’s hope as the debate is carried out in Turkey and elsewhere that some of these questions are dealt with and lead to what can end the practice. That would redeem an otherwise useless killing.