ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES: a melodramatic and manipulative woman.
Women who try to get society’s authorities to help them oppose the patriarchy are usually considered melodramatic and manipulative — more so if they are actually in real danger, and are expressing real responses to that threat. Such was the case with a 20 year old Brit, of Kurdish ancestry who was slain by her father recently.
Unfortunately (and I speak from personal experience), if one is a migrant and doesn’t know the ins and outs of the new patriarchal culture yet, it is even harder than for one who does, to know how to speak to the authorities in a way that will get around their normal, inbuilt patriarchal prejudices.
It is to be expected that most migrants (especially in the naïvety and splendour of their youth) will attempt to speak to their new authorities in a simple and direct way. Regrettably, it would seem that approach is also rarely efficacious. Indeed, if one really wanted the authorities to take seriously the idea that one’s father wanted to kill one, the victim would have to start her speech in a more indirect and elaborate way.
She would have to begin by navigating the violent and hair-raising cultural rocks of women’s presumed hysteria. So, her first strenuous task would be to convince the police officer that she was very, very rational, very in touch with the unavoidable need to be a non-hysterical citizen in her new environment.
She would then have to move on to educating the officer about some of the differences between her own culture (which, despite her new location, still held sway) as compared to the culture that she had now entered. She would have to explain in detail that honour killings were still a real threat to her in the new world — as well as why this was so. She would then have to move on to supply a concrete evidence to prove her fears that she could soon be strangled by her father and put into a suitcase (which actually happened).
It would be best to have something he’d said on tape, or at very least a written copy of his threats, recorded accurately and transposed on a certain date. After this, she would still have to convince the police officer that she was a well-adjusted citizen — happy to be in the new culture and ready to do her bit to serve it. (It wouldn’t serve to her advantage if she showed the slightest trace of maladjustment as this would only serve to boost the basis for a “hysteria” deflection of her plea.)
In other words, if the 20-year-old Kurdish Brit was an emotional superwoman (unmoved by anything that had happened to her), and if she had at least a masters in social science (or a similar field), she would have had a fighting chance at preventing this honour killing, which took her life in Britain recently.
As it stood, (and lacking these credentials),the stark facts of the situation show that survival of the fittest is survival of the fittest —– and this Kurd certainly deserved to die, for that’s what happened.
Is my cynicism about patriarchal society in the slightest bit misplaced?