This brutal killing has shocked the world. It was heinous and unpardonable crime, but I do not call it murder for that is a legal term and the motive and pre-meditation have to be established by a court of law.
Some of us have gotten carried away, on both ends of the spectrum. This is just an attempt to see what happened, and try to place it in the context of immigrant assimilation, problems with teenage clothing, and try to lay the blame – for that is what we all want to do when confronted with such deep tragedy.
So, what really happened?
The facts: A female child was behaving impudently. The father was entrenched in an obsolete mindset. She had left home to live in a friend’s house, and there was some compromise with the father on her coming back. When she returned or came to discuss, she was strangled by her father, who then called the police and turned himself in.
Rosie DiManno, writing for the Toronto Star, summed it up best. She writes:
I know all about immigrant families and the desire to retain traditions – obsequious conduct – from ancestral lands. I know all about leaving the house dressed one way and arriving at school, presto, dressed another. I know all about pining to look and act like one of the group, not an alien. There was a time when I genuinely believed my father would kill me for shaming him. I don’t think I have a single female cousin who wasn’t beaten for rebelling.
But, in this country, in my lifetime, that was never socially acceptable. In time, assimilation sanded off the rougher edges of that conflict. The in-between existence of immigrant children, straddling two cultures, found its own balance. Time will do that.
There are casualties, though. Occasionally, a senseless death will hit the headlines, filling us with revulsion. But countless more – daughters in cages – are leading lives of quiet desperation. In the angst of adolescence, more will die by their own hand than be murdered by righteous fathers.
Time, and pity, ran out on Aqsa Parvez, it would seem.
If we massage the cause of it, deny the linkage of authoritarian traditions – sanctified by religion – and entitled violence, we break faith with that poor, dead girl.
*And that’s a faith we should all share.
Is teenage clothing an Islamic issue?
Here is an outraged principal from a public school in California:
. . .*
I am very sorry, but all future dances are cancelled until further notice. I know you are wondering what occurred that I would do such a horrible thing. Well, it wasn’t a thing. It was things. I do not like punishing everyone for the acts of a few. However, it was more than just a few.
I kept the lights on at the dance because there were too many people dancing inappropriately. We have had this discussion several times. Then upon walking in the dance I saw way too much of some of our young girls. Why do girls have to have themselves so exposed? Why are they wearing garters? Why do they have to have cleavage displayed so overtly and slits high up their thighs and then allow the boys dance rubbing up against them? Why are children coming to the dance under the influence of alcohol? Then I have some parents who want us to turn our heads to it like it did not happen.
This can happen no more. I am not going to allow this to continue to happen. If there is going to be another dance, then you as parents and your children will have to sit down with me to make some huge changes because I cannot and will not have what my staff and I had to deal with today.
There needs to be a change. I don’t care what other schools are doing or allowing. I just can’t continue with dances being this way. If there is to be a dance on this campus while I am the principal again, then the following will need to happen:
*1. Parents and students need to come to a meeting with me to discuss the necessary changes that will clean up our dances.
**2. There needs to be much more active parent participation at the dances.
*3. Proposals from students and parents need to be designed and presented to me in order to ensure a safe and appropriate environment for our children.
*If you notice, I have placed the words children, boys and girls in bold print. I have done this because they are children. They are still boys and girls who are trying to be too grown too fast. We need to slow this train down. School staff cannot do it by ourselves. You as parents need to shoulder some of the responsibility with us.
. . .
Who’s to blame
- The victim is NOT to blame
- The mullah for fostering the mindset of a ‘perfect Muslim’ and not providing common-sense Canadian counseling for a family that is relevant to his society.
- The father for not adapting his ancestral culture with his adopted land, not understanding issues, not giving enough time to his children, and for not having control of his anger.
- The media for creating a culture of child sexuality, spurred on by advertisers catering to ever-younger clients.
- The Islamophobic section of the media for blowing this out of context and proportion.
- Some Islamic lunatics who will scare their oppressed daughters further, and secretly congratulate the father and his accomplice son.
- Some Islamophobic lunatics who will spew their racist hatred under the guise of ‘sympathy’ for this girl.
- The government for not regulating certain aspects of advertising and marketing which is clearly under their jurisdiction (vis. the banning of cigarettes to underage children). Similarly, if children are not to be sexual objects and there are specific laws about just that, then the media, companies and advertisers need to be told that!