“Girls are born only to stay at home and to bring honour to the family by following family traditions but Qandeel had never done that,” her brother said in a police press conference after his arrest. “Now everybody will remember me with honour.”
Qandeel’s brother may have killed her to protect his honour, which has been polished to brilliance by the blood on his hands now, but we are complicit as a country.
Her brother may have strangled her, but the viewers who declared her worthy of a humiliating death every single day, were his might. The scholars who incited violence against her on TV, were his might. The internally-misogynistic women who said she deserved to go to hell for destroying the image of Muslim women, were his might.
All of us, tacit participants in the relentless policing of Pakistani women, were his might.
The laughing “moderately religious” person here is no less than a violent extremist. The silent moderate who won’t speak up about how she isn’t a national shame or a blow to Islam, also shares the blame.
There, I said it. Fuck you.
I’ve often thought about how we, even women, internalize sexism and attack others based on outdated, misogynistic viewpoints. Women shouldn’t be loud. They shouldn’t be aggressive. They shouldn’t be out in public. This is by no means confined to Pakistan or the Middle East. I frequently see these kinds of attitudes in Westerners, and in Western women.
These kinds of attitudes do not have their basis in their purported ethical concerns. The basis is the artificial control of women and the restriction of women’s political power — as a group, not individuals.
These are the attitudes of gossipers, drama queens, blackmailers, who like to try to trash or tarnish the reputation of another woman, often a total stranger to them, behind her back. This is cowardice. It’s painful, it’s ethically deeply hideous, and it’s a disease. It’s the weapon of the weak.