In the Name of Honor
Honor Killing in Pakistan
My Art Organization Rastay Arts is raising voice against honor killing since 2010. The work started to speak for a real case of Honor Killing when a married woman was gang raped and brutally killed by her husband in Fateh Jung village in Pakistan.
40 years old lady Nasreen (fake name is being used here to keep the cultural secrecy, respect and privacy)had clash with her husband . The husband was unemployed and was careless about responsibilities of their four children. Nasreen used to work for other homes as maid to earn bread. When the dispute between husband and wife grew , Her husband made her leave home and she started living with at her father’s home with her children. For months they never interacted or visited each other expect the elder son of Nasreen who used to visit his father’s place off and on. After few months Nasreen was offered a marriage proposal by some noble man in her father’s village. She tried to send message to her husband to give her divorce, so that she can remarry by law, after all she needs a shelter and a family. Her Husband sent her message that we should talk face to face on the matter, for this he sent a friend of him and his elder son to bring Nasreen for negotiation. When Husbands friend was bringing Nasreen and her elder son in car, on way he dropped the son to her husband place and told Nasreen her husband is waiting for her away from village in a peaceful area where you both can sit and talk. Nasreen got worried when car was passing by an unknown area, she raised questions but every time she was made satisfied by talking to her husband on phone. On reaching spot, Nasreen found some strangers with her husband. After 24 hours her dead body was found by police with brutal injuries of gang rape and bullets on her head.
It was a shameful act for whole humanity. On inquiry, Nasreen’s husband declared it an act of honor killing that how come she could ask for divorce or remarriage. He was put behind the bar but court never punished him what he deserved. The case was marked for honor killing and sadly in our country, such cases have excused punishments.
Rastay spoke for this case by all means. We organized an Interactive Art Exhibition and supported activism by calling all artists from all Pakistan. It was inaugurated by Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, wife of the US ambassador in Pakistan. Along with display of paintings, theatre and musical performance, poetry recital, video presentation, animated movie, dialogue session, and interactive fact sharing with the family and relatives of honor killing victim made the exhibition deliver the message in a stronger way that there is no honor in killing.
Later we put all the case and exhibition details with press releases on our website http://www.rastayngo.com/media-gallery.html. We never expected a huge response both nationally and internationally as a result. People and organizations across the globe contacted us. The number of visits to our website was multiplied. Putting the information on web empowered the issue and we got support for the cause.
It is thorough Web that Deeya Khan, famous Deeyah Norwegian film director, music producer, composer, and human rights defender contacted our organization, Rastay’s CEO Faiza Khan. Deeyah is an outspoken supporter of women's rights, freedom of expression and peace. She was working on her movie on the subject those days. She asked about on ground information about the matter. Later she launched many projects and umbrella projects related to the issue as follows.
Banaz: A Love Story Since early 2009 Deeyah , has been directing and producing Banaz: A Love Story, a documentary film about honor killings. The film received its UK premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in London September 2012. It is Deeyah's first film as a director and producer which has won critical acclaim and international awards including the 2013 Emmy award for best international documentary film. The film is being used to train British police.
AVA:Founded by Deeyah in 2011 AVA, is an arts and multimedia based educational non profit charity organization dedicated to reducing the marginalization of women and young people particularly by providing tools and avenues which encourage people to find their individual voices.
Honor Based Violence Awareness (HBVA)
Launched in February 2012, Deeyah and Joanne Payton of Cardiff University founded Honor Based Violence Awareness network (HBVA), an international multimedia digital resource center working to advance understanding and awareness of Honor Killings and Honor Based Violence through research, training and information.
It was just a nuclear reaction, we initiated a voice and there was a response from different part of the World in its favor.
Day by day the voice is becoming stronger.
The impact of the our exhibition “In the Name of Honor”, was so powerful through media and activist artist; finally they caught the murderer with his fellows. He is under police custody but the trial is still on. Unfortunately, in our country any murder under the name of “Honor Killing” has an excused or minor punishment by law because the murderer can justify his action on it. He/ She can defend the case by saying that to protect the honor of family he/ she did murder. In this case, the murderer used the same false and self created stories and told the court that his wife was actually of bad character and used to have extra marital affairs with other man. I feel in the third World women is very easy to stop, accused or killed through pointing her character. It is easy to make her bad image in the society and she is exploited at her honor. She is made helpless here, together by whole society including her family, no matter she is coming from a village or city. The idea is to spread awareness, justice and stop killing of innocent people in the name of Honor. Indeed “www” has a big role in spreading awareness.