Kalb-Baladi

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Honor



Tawfiq El Deqen was a great actor and comedian. He specialized in playing evil characters (gangster, criminal, sleaze ball, etc.) in a hilarious way.

One if his classic lines was "أحسن من الشرف مفيش" (there is nothing better than honor). He used to say this after every crime he committed.

Which reminds me of the famous verse by the Arab poet Al Mutanabbi:

لا يسلم الشرف الرفيع من الأذى حتى يراق على جوانبه الدم

Translation: Pure honor cannot avoid harm unless blood is spilled on it's sides. Another translation of this line would be: You cannot be honorable unless you become a fucking psychotic serial killer.

Honor in our society is usually associated with oppressing women under the guise of protecting them and their honor.

This concept of honor may have been OK centuries ago, but civilization moved on and in the modern secular world this kind of "honor" is not a big deal anymore. People's characters are judged by things like honesty, integrity, and fairness.

Why can't we move on? Can anybody out there tell me? How can we live in a country where people use mobile phones, the internet, satellite TV and at the same time some men kill their sisters and mothers and daughters if they are perceived as having brought dishonor to their families?

Honor killings are committed in Egypt by both muslims and copts, so its not a religious thing. It's an ancient piece of cultural shit that doesn't want to go away in some countries, but why?

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