Qandeel Baloch was choked to death by her own brother. In the aftermath of this heinous honour killing, the apologists and misogynists took to the internet to defend her aggressor. Abbas Shah provides you with a quick guide to responding to these hate mongers:
1) â€˜I of course donâ€™t condone/support/defend Qandeelâ€™s murder but I think she set herself up for itâ€™
Victim-blaming is part and parcel of the complex social forces that enable â€˜radicalâ€™ acts like murder to arise. It absolves the perpetrator of his/her heinous act and locates the blame with victim in a horribly unfair way (not only are you killed, but you’re also blamed for it). She, in no way, â€˜askedâ€™ for anything horrible to happen to her, much like someone who goes out of their house does not â€˜askâ€™ to be murdered/raped.
This insidious apologist point places â€˜limitsâ€™ on acceptable discourse/behaviors after which, it tacitly concedes that violence against the transgressor is â€˜understandableâ€™. No one who exercises their right to choice in a manner that doesnâ€™t harm others commits a (capital) offence. Moreover, extra-judicial murders in particular need to be stopped â€“ you as a citizen cannot, acting on your delusions and illusions, wield the power of the State, God, or both.
Lastly, you may legitimately disagree with her lifestyle but that doesnâ€™t make her murder any more palatable than, say, that of someone else. There is also a time and a place to voice your moralistic concerns about her life, and the immediate aftermath of her murder is certainly not one of them.
2) â€˜ â€¦ but she dishonoured her familyâ€™
A) Archaic secular and religious concepts that tie a womanâ€™s â€˜honourâ€™ to her genitals/mobility and then further embed this unholy nexus in the â€˜honourâ€™ of the family, clan, nation, or religion, have no place in any modern societies (I say this unabashedly in defiance of any claims to relativism in this regard).
B) These myths of â€˜honorâ€™, even if they apply, should not outweigh something as tangible and precious as human life.
C) Your â€˜honorâ€™ lies in your own actions and not in those of anyone else.
D) If you think murder is more honorable than being â€˜sexually promiscuousâ€™, then your priorities are derived from problematic/demoded/oppressive moral calculi.
3) This isnâ€™t that important – There are more important issues. What about Syria? What about Kashmir? What about Rohingyas? What about the War of the Roses?
A) One tragedy does not mitigate the horror/disgust/anger we should feel at another. Moreover, women are â€˜honour killedâ€™ in Pakistan at a staggering rate, meaning this is not an isolated incident.
B) Furthermore, people who use â€˜other tragediesâ€™ as a talking point only do so as silencing tactics â€“ itâ€™s so convenient to bring up â€˜other tragediesâ€™ to silence a group one has fundamental disagreements with. How many of these people, as part of their lives, make it a point to â€˜aid the Syrian peopleâ€™? Even if they do, they cannot self-righteously decry another human rights cause as less important.
4) â€˜She was an American/Jewish/Indian agent and/or she ruined Pakistan’s imageâ€™
A) No. Everyone who expresses â€˜liberalâ€™ or any other kind of opinion that goes against â€˜Pakistani morality/ideologyâ€™ is not, by default, an â€˜agentâ€™ of some other country. There have always been liberals, leftists, dissidents, etc, in Pakistan, and they have equal claims to the country.
B) Everyone from Fatima Jinnah to Qandeel have been accused of being â€˜Indian agentsâ€™ because itâ€™s such a convenient silencing tactic â€“ you completely discredit and imperil another person by removing their moral claims to citizenship and/or inflaming rabid crowds against them
C) Pakistan’s image is tarnished by the existence of honour killings, not by people airing them. Moreover, the pain felt by people who undergo oppression of any kind is MORE important than your false understanding of/pride in your country.
5) â€˜She deserved to be murderedâ€™
A) Send a therapists number
B) Refer to a free, online liberal arts curriculum
C) Pray for their salvation
D) Poke them repeatedly on facebook
E) Wonder if they get their talking points from the Onion/Orya Maqbool Jan
F) Invest in the poisoned halwa industry
G) Throw water balloons laced with liberalism at them