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Justice delayed

Last night the CBC’s the fifth estate reported on the murder nearly 12 years ago of Jassi Sidhu, and the fact that her mother and uncle are suspected of having arranged the murder but have never been arrested.

You’ll already know from that what kind of murder it probably was. When Jassi was 2o her family wanted her to marry a man in India who was 40 years older and a stranger to her. She didn’t want to. She married someone else instead, because she liked him, but he wasn’t rich (or 60) and he drove a rickshaw.

Her mother and uncle have been arrested.

A B.C. woman and her brother have been arrested in connection with the 2000 slaying of the woman’s daughter, Jassi Sidhu, and the attempted murder of the young woman’s husband in India in what has been described as an honour killing.

Malkit Kaur Sidhu, 63, and Surjit Singh Badesha, 67, Jassi Sidhu’s uncle, were arrested Friday in the Vancouver suburb of Maple Ridge.

The two were taken into custody after the B.C. Supreme Court issued arrest warrants under the Extradition Act and will be held pending an extradition hearing, said Cpl. Annie Linteau.

Jassi Sidhu had met her future husband during a visit to the Punjabi village where her parents were born, but according to court testimony, the man had no money, no property and his only income came from driving a small taxi called an auto rickshaw.

The fifth estate reported that Sidhu knew that her wealthy Canadian family would never approve of her choice of husband, so the couple married in secret, enraging some members of her family.

As always with these things, I can’t get my head around it. They were displeased with her choice of husband – that’s not hard to understand. It’s the next step that’s so odd. They were displeased with her choice of husband, so they wanted her to be dead? This is the woman’s daughter we’re talking about. I’m used to small pedestrian comprehensible things – anger, alienation, quarrels, yelling, tears, silence. I’m not used to the idea of taking that next step. I can never grasp it.

 

Comments

  1. A. Noyd says

    I hadn’t known that Sikhs also went in for honor killing. But apparently they do and this isn’t the only such case, nor the only one of slow justice.

  2. HP says

    Not condoning anything, but in non-Western societies, marriage is generally about finances and property first and foremost. It’s always great if two people love each other and get along, but the bottom line is property and security for the parents and progeny. If you’re trying to understand why, understand that people will kill for money. What’s the difference between a brokered marriage gone wrong and a drug deal gone wrong? Financially, none at all.

    (Historically, of course, Western marriage was all about money and property up until 200-250 years ago or so, and people were killed over it at the time, so I’m not making some kind of Kiplingian argument about East and West. Rather, marriage is a property contract the world over; but in the West we’ve added a gloss of romantic love in the last couple centuries.)

    I’m not an especially big fan of marriage.

  3. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    I don’t imagine sons are ever killed by their parents for poor marriage choices, are they? Just daughters; i guess once they’re no longer virgins they are damaged goods and of no further use. Male virginity is presumably not expected or valued.

  4. Deepak Shetty says

    I don’t imagine sons are ever killed by their parents for poor marriage choices, are they?
    No – they always blame the daughter-in-law for entrapping the poor son.

  5. Bruce Gorton says

    OT – but you might want to tell someone about it. On the front end you have Butterflies and Wheels up twice – once on this story and again with Whooping Cough outbreak in Cope BC. The whooping cough story clicks through to a 404 error with your blog’s masthead.

  6. sailor1031 says

    Religion may connive at mysogyny but it is culture that is the problem. Mysogyny is not absent from western societies and cultures, however secular they may appear to be. And, as we have seen lately, it is also a feature of online atheism. I think religion just enshrines the prevailing mysogyny rather than being the prime proponent of it.

  7. says

    Bruce, thanks – but also, sorry, what? I don’t quite follow (and can’t see what you cite). What front end? I don’t see anything about the smallpox outbreak.

  8. Bruce Gorton says

    Sorry –

    If you go to the following on Explorer:

    http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/

    and scroll down to your blog and look to the right of it you will see what I am talking about.

    I am not too sure whose blog is supposed to be there. It might be an Explorer issue – I will check on Chrome when I get home from work.

  9. says

    No I found it, thanks (see followup comment). It’s there, and I reported it. There was work done yesterday evening, so it’s probably because of that.

  10. Riptide says

    @sailor1031, comment # 9:

    I think there’s a world of difference between threatening to rape someone on the Internet and throwing acid in a girl’s face for daring to learn how to read. The former is certainly worthy of scorn and contempt (and the apologist for same should be eradicated, at least rhetorically), but whenever misogyny is wedded to religion it gets *really* creative. Pretending that the two are equivalent demeans both instances, and undermines attempts at correcting either.

  11. janeymack says

    @DLC #7–While realizing that your question may have been rhetorical, I am going to answer it anyway. Wicca and most other neo-Pagan religions are refreshingly misogyny-free. Women are, in general, honored and respected as part/reflection/representative of the Goddess, who is held (in most cases–not all) in more esteem than the God. (And of course, most neo-Pagans acknowledge more than just 1 God and 1 Goddess.)

    YMMV and all that–pagans are pretty hard to generalize about; they are, after all, making it up (or re-creating it, as some would claim) as they go along, and there is no One True Authority to turn to, so you get all sorts, and they don’t tend to agree on much (you think Fundie Fights are fun, try Witch Wars sometime). Still, they tend to be more woman-positve, LGBT-positive, and sex-positive than your average Abrahamic or monotheistic groups tend to be, which makes them a whole lot more fun to hang around with!

    There are also some groups who are monotheist but their one Deity is the Goddess…but this is probably all more than you really wanted to know. Suffice to say, yes, there is at least one religion where, in theory at least, misogyny is not taught or valued. And in practice, during my years as a more-or-less practicing pagan, I can’t think of one instance where I was treated as being somehow “lesser” just because I was female–or for any other reason, really. Pretty accepting folk, mostly, which is probably one of the things that drew me in and kept me there for a decade or two.

    Of course, dollars to donuts some other former pagan is going to get on here and take issue with everything I just said! Wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

  12. sambarge says

    I’ve always said that misogyny is to religion as the hamburger is to MacDonalds; they didn’t invent it but they do a very, very good business in it.

    The reason that daughters are killed for ‘dishonouring’ the family and sons aren’t is because a family’s HonourTM is wrapped up in the evidenced control they have over their daughters – chastity, obedience, humility, etc = control. When the daughters are out of control, the family is shamed. Sons are not expected to be controlled so there is no reflection on the family when they do as they please.

    Jassi was killed because her mother and uncle had to show the community in which they lived that they still had control over her, regardless of what she had done. Why couldn’t they have accepted the marriage, welcomed their son-in-law (who is a fellow Sikh) into the family and been happy with a happy marriage for their daughter? Because they felt the shame of having a daughter who acted on her own desires rather than as the family wished. It advertised to their neighbours that they had no control over the women in their family and placed the honour of all the women in doubt.

    Bullshit, ofcourse, but it helps to understand where they’re coming from, if only so that it helps you catch and punish them for their crimes.

  13. Ken Pidcock says

    @HP

    If you’re trying to understand why, understand that people will kill for money.

    It would have to be established that the family would have lost money if the arrangement had been broken, but not if the woman were killed. That isn’t clear from the story. More likely that the family regarded the woman’s autonomy (any woman’s autonomy) as a capital crime.

  14. Friakel Wippans says

    @Deepak Shetty#5

    Actually, in that case, they also tried to kill the husband.

    It’s obvious that women are the most frequent and most vulnerable victims of forced marriages and “honor” murders. Their subordinate status in those societies make them not much more than a currency to be traded.

    But men also suffer from forced marriages. They would account for 14% of the cases treated in the UK, for instance.

    http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/when-things-go-wrong/forced-marriage/

    Men are also victims of honor killings, but I agree, it seems mostly as the “offender” like this case in Sweden.

    http://www.thelocal.se/3659/20060426/

    A more recent one, just from last week, in India.

    http://www.stophonourkillings.com/?q=node/8337

  15. says

    You may be interested in this:

    “The first-degree murder trial of a Montreal family accused of killing three sisters and another relative and pushing their car into the Rideau Canal returns to court on Monday as the alleged ‘honour killing’ saga moves into its last weeks.”

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/01/09/shafia-murder-trial-resumes-monday-moves-into-final-phases/

    and this

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/12/15/christie-blatchford-shafia-trial-refresher-course/

  16. Lyanna says

    HP–I don’t think that’s exactly it. It’s not money, it’s sexual control. People kill over sex, and most especially over sexual domination.

    I don’t think they wouldn’t have killed her if she’d run off with a rich young guy. That’s not the point. The point is, by running off, she said “you don’t own my vagina.”

    And by killing her, the murderers said “oh yes we do.”

  17. kraut says

    What strikes me as odd with those “honor killings” is the utterly despicably honourless behavior of the instigators.

    If they had any honour to defend, they would be accountable if they really believe that what they do is demanded from them by their culture or religion, they would do the correct thing and admit to and: go to prison.
    But those dishonourable vermin try to hide their deeds, try to evade responsibility because they are nothing but cowards to the nth decree.
    Nothing but shysters out to protect their domination over their family members their culture gives them control over, spineless motherfuckers – or daughterfuckers as the case might be.

    They are apt representatives of any such culture/religion that can demand such deeds from its members. They are the reprehensible lying face of a culture that should have one duty only – to go extinct asap and take all those uncritical followers of such precepts with them, be it the NA fundies or they equivalents in Israel or any muslim country.

  18. says

    The worst part of this is that in urban BC — namely the greater Vancouver area where I live — people of South Asian descent are the second-most-common nonwhite group (the most common would be East Asian descent) one can find; Sikhs, furthermore, are the most prominent non-Abrahamic religion I know of in the area. What’s worse, the media (controlled almost exclusively by privileged whites) fails about as hard at divorcing “Punjabi” from “Sikh” as they do with divorcing the government of Israel from the Jewish religion; as such, criticisms of Sikh conduct often gets conflated with the all-too-common racism levied against people of South Asian descent.

    As someone who has direct experience, here is the trick: the privileged whites will almost never use the word “Sikh” or “Punjabi” when talking about people of South Asian descent — all of them are “Hindus” or “brown people” or “no speak English” and some of the “Hindus” just happen to wear turbans.

    And since quite a good many provide unskilled labor and as a result do not have good command of English, the racism self-perpetuates — and then, of course, you get idiocy like Stephen Harper and Christy Clark posing for a photo-op in “traditional” South Asian clothing, with Christy Clark assuming a pose that I could only assume was meant to replicate some prayer despite the fact that she had her endless “Sarah Palin Smile” (as I’ve come to call it) on while doing so. That smile and pose made me wonder if Clark was trying to make a racist mockup of South Asians. (I wish I could find the photo, but it came out at least three, if not four or five months ago on the cover of the local issues of 24H)

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