A Crime of Honor

“But ever since he had been a child, he had wanted to know the world, and this was much more important to him than knowing god and learning about man’s sins.”

Those of you who follow the news heard about the “honor-crime,” that happened recently in India. The crime? A couple fell in love. The punishment? Death.

Honor-crimes, which are unfortunately common in India, involve a member of a family or social group killing another because they believe the victim has “brought dishonor or shame upon the family or community.” In this case, a young couple fell in love and announced they were to be married. Because their community doesn’t believe in falling in love, the women was beaten to death, and her fiancĂ© dismembered alive, then decapitated and thrown onto the street. This was done by members of their own family.

Even more shocking, when a BBC reporter interviewed people in the murdered couples village about what they thought, he was told, “What was done to them was the right thing to do. We had to set an example.” These people approved of a women killing her own daughter and a young man just because they were in love. For most of us, this concept is so foreign we can’t even truly comprehend it.

Recently I have been writing about many troubling human rights topics such as the inequality and poverty that is found throughout India. A friend asked me why I was sharing these stories since he feels they either make people feel guilty they have so much compared to most, or they just depress you. I have the opposite reaction. After learning more about the gender divide here, I feel very fortunate and thankful that I have grown up in a place where women have the right to choose their own lives. I also find it fascinating to learn about life in other parts of the world as us humans are such a diverse species, something, I feel, we often overlook in our everyday lives. Learning about people around the globe, the good and the bad, puts perspective into your own life. It also creates awareness, which I feel, is the first step to becoming a world citizen.

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