It’s a remarkable and moving documentary about the vicious murder in 2006 by her own family of 20 year old Banaz, daughter of a strictly traditional Kurdish Muslim family escaping Saddam Hussein’s regime and granted asylum in the UK. This murder was arranged by the father and uncle because of the loss of (male) family honor inflicted by her running away from the arranged marriage with a cruel husband and a subsequent love affair with a man of her own choice.
The condemnation of this terrible deed cannot be strong enough and the documentary is a very eloquent one in this respect. One of the main reasons is the role of Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode in the documentary who solved the murder. Her compassion with the victim was very moving. Also, the handling of the statements of the victim to the police while still alive were enraging. As was the list of other murders that took place for the same reason, and the appalling 3000 cases per year of registered honor-related violence in the UK.
I am very skeptical about the proclaimed primary aim of the documentary: better protection of the potential victim, as advocated by Deeyah during the discussion. Even if institutions like the police could be made more sensitive to these problems they would lack enough means to perform this task. Not only enough material means but also because they can’t get informed well enough on what’s going on in these closed communities. This was observable in the documentary, where no member of the entire local Kurdish community was giving any information on what happened to the police. Nor was there anyone willing to make any statement in the documentary.
Of course the individual rights as a citizen of the democratic modern UK can never be overruled by claims based on clan membership. And anyone trying to belittle these rights because of some perceived cultural autonomy are accessory to these atrocities and should be condemned for that.
The more fundamental problem with this goal is its presupposition that a basic equality and reciprocity would automatically flow from citizenship. More than once Deeyah referred to the golden rule in defense of her goal. The problem is that these communities uphold their own standards, treating members according to this and thus in some way are upholding the “treat others the way you would want to be treated”. A second basic problem is you cannot isolate individuals (victims or offenders) from the culture they come from in the way Deeyah does when she calls to disregard the group and focus on the individual.
The primary focus should be on dismantling these communities and repairing the failure of the immigration and integration policies of the past 20 years. In order to free the subjects before they become victims. This would require some very harsh, some would say draconic, measures where those communities would have to be split up and the members be forced to learn the language, some basic morals and some respect and appreciation for the country who was willing to give them shelter and even citizenship. On short notice and under threat of being sent back from where they came from. I don’t see this happening I’m afraid. If the politically correct multicultural elite is condemning this view as “racist” or “ultra-rightwing”, I can live with that. In fact I don’t expect anything else. Though I’m not.