Mothers Day and Honour Killings

By Ghassan Karam Special to Ya Libnan

Last Sunday Lebanon and all the Arab countries recognized March 21, the first day in spring, as Mothers Day. On this day every year we pay tribute to the person who has given us love and attention from the moment of birth. Mothers are celebrated for the sacrifices that they happily make for the welfare of their children. Motherhood is arguably the best example of what it means to be noble and to be human.

Isn’t it though hypocritical when we claim to uphold mothers for all what they do for us but structure our laws and behavior so as to deny women their basic human rights? So far we have not elected any women to a position of political leadership and we have denied the female sex their right to be treated as equals as any other citizen in our society. Lebanese women are not permitted to convey the Lebanese citizenship to their children when the father is not a Lebanese national and many live in fear of physical abuse, possibly death, if the males in their family do not approve of their behavior. Males boast of their nights on the town, their sexual “achievements” but look down and even punish the females in their household if they dare fall in love and be seen holding hands or necking with the boy next door. This must be the epitome of double standards.

Although the right to vote has been granted to women, in most cases the local tradition still dictates that females cast the ballot that the males in the household approve of.  Unfortunately women are treated as second class citizens, as individuals whose legal stature is on the same level as that of a slave.  She has, in most cases, no choice but to accept the husband that her parents have picked for her. Is that the woman that we celebrate once a year, the one that we chose to oppress abuse and manipulate for the next 364 days every year?

Sadly the rights of women in our region are as distant to the females as democracy , human and modernity are for society at large. It is time that we realize that none of us is free as long as one of us is oppressed.  We can never claim to be liberated when half of us are denied legally their social, political and economic freedoms. The empowerment of women is an essential ingredient in an equitable, free and liberated society. If we fail to liberate women then we will always be enslaved.

Yet we can be thankful that despite all the above listed injustices we have thus far resisted the heinous practice of stoning to death as this barbaric practice is still carried away and condoned in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE, Iraq, Jordan  and Iran to name just a few of the countries that celebrate Mothers Day but treat women otherwise as a commodity at the disposal of the males in society. But the question must be asked what is the difference between stoning to death and honour killings? Not much, I am afraid.

To watch a 9 minute video about a cold blooded execution of a woman click on the following link.

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