Saturday, June 9, 2012

Choices - Or the Illusion of Same

They moved here thinking they had them
Choices that is ... who to love, marry, be with
What to study, wear, think about, even say ...

They couldn't have been more mistaken
Their decision maker moved with them
And made it clear very soon that he was serious

Marriage to an infidel? He would have it annulled
Dress provocatively? (In his opinion ...)
He would punish you, make your life a misery

But still, they knew the country they were in
Was one supportive of women and their rights
Would surely rescue them in their plight

How could they have dreamed, ever
That the master of all - their father - would
Outwit the new government, their new protectorate

With his newest wife, their actual mother, and their brother
One night, under cover of darkness and guise of a family trip
He managed to put all four of them, knocked unconscious

Or possibly already dead — by the time they were found
It was beyond determining —into a small car, then pushed
The small car into a canal where they all drowned,  vanished

The family lied at first, reporting varying versions
Of missing persons - two girls, three - finally all four
Then, when reports of the abuse began to surface

The police treated the case as domestic violence
But once the victims were discovered in the sunken car
Suspicions began to swirl about the true nature

Of the crime perpetrated on the four women
Due to the Muslim devotion of all concerned
Plus the unearthing of statements made by the father

Post-mortem ... the authorities and the press
Deemed the deaths honour killings; the public
Ran with that definition and so did the courts

The father, mother and son were charged
With first degree murder, conspiracy to commit same
Assembling prosecution and defense cases began

Replete with appeals and delays for continuances
Until almost three years passed before the accused
Were tried and convicted by a jury of their peers

In a precedent setting case, the three
Were found guilty of first degree  murder
And admonished in the strongest terms

By the Canadian judge - told that in Canada
There is no such thing as "honour killing"
And freedom and democracy rule the day

He gave them the stiffest penalty allowable—
Twenty-five years without possibility of parole—
And reproved them in harsh words not often

Heard in the Canadian criminal justice system
It was a clarion call for all - especially immigrant
Women - telling them if they come here

We will all be listening now, for their cries
For help; that yes, here there are choices
And no, you do not have to die for making them



  1. wow...very well written..this always frightens me and think we western countries have to set clear signals, tell them to play to our rules and protect this women ..and yeah...give the the possibility to make their choices..

  2. goodness....what a story...and i am glad the statement was made in court....that we will listen and we will protect the rights of the individual regardless of what might be a norm in your culture...nice write...

  3. Sharon, this is so tragic. I was a major caretaker for someone. She also had a young Muslim girl who helped out. This young Muslim girl was dating a Catholic man VERY seriously, but she could not tell her father. I understood why. There truly are so many cases of these 'honor killings.' And also cases in which young women are forced to marry certain men against their will. Truly if these people enter our western countries they need to be able to live by the rules of the land; and their is NO honor in killing.

    Please, could you get rid of 'word verification' on your blog. I am having a heck of a time posting this comment, having to fight with those unreadable words. PLEASE.

  4. Living on PEI this was in our news frequently. Such a tragedy, to believe in a faith to such an extent you are willing to kill your own children because you think they have become too westernised in dress and behaviour. The girls were all so beautiful and had such a lot to look forward to. They have got this belief so very wrong. I hope they discover some truths while they spend those years thinking about the wrongs they did in prison.

  5. Cultural differences cause a lot of misunderstanding and tragedy.Oil and water do not mix.

  6. Oh, Sharon. This is SO well done. Such a heartbreaking story.
    I love this ending:
    "...yes, here there are choices
    And no, you do not have to die for making them"

  7. Thanks Claudia, Brian, Mary, DayDreamer, Cressida, and De ... this is a heart-breaking story and I am glad that the Canadian justice system finally showed some steel and at least punished the offenders. It's hard enough to stand by and see this happen in other parts of the world but to have it happen here is unconscionable and I found it very hard to take ... thanks so much for reading and providing such profound and eloquent comments.

  8. I am sorry I missed this at D'verse ~ This is good narration of the family value system that is outdated and has no place in Canada (and in other free countries. Sadly, until now lots of immigrant families still have this notion. Thanks for sharing them ~

  9. Thanks Heaven (what is your actual name if you don't mind me asking?) As I mentioned on your site, I love your poem and am thrilled that you thought to write one filled with beauty, respect and yes, honour - because after all, the victims did nothing dishonourable and sometimes poems that are so filled with the injustice (such as mine) neglect that oh-so-necessary side of the story.

    It occurs to me that I am not done writing about this. One of the things that bothers me most about this case and that I didn't know right off the bat is that the woman involved in, and convicted of, doing the killing was the girls' natural mother (that is she was their birth mother).

    I am having a great deal of trouble understanding the psychology behind this; how on earth could she have convinced herself to murder her own children? Out of a sense of honour? This I truly do not understand. Wouldn't most mothers prefer to die themselves?

    I find myself wondering if she is as haunted as I suspect she must be in her prison cell and I confess, I hope she is - as awful as that sounds ... After all, she was their mother, supposedly the one person they could count on for protection, care, etc.

    Oh dear - ranting again. As you can see - this case still weighs heavily on this mother's mind.

    As promised, the link to Heaven's poem ...