Saturday, September 25, 2010

"There Is No Honor in Honor Killing"

I and many others have written extensively on the horrors of honor killings in today's Muslim cultures. And we have tended to agree that only public shaming will have sufficient moral force to persuade people to stop them.

For some of my remarks, see here and here.

In today's Wall Street Journal Kwame Anthony Appiah reports on the efforts being made in Pakistan to end this brutalization of women. Link here.

And he also directs us to a Muslim group that is trying to use shaming to put an end to honor killings. The group's title: "There is no honor in honor killing." Direct link here.

I have tried to explain the point before, so I am happy to report now that members of the Muslim community are hard at work to stop these ignoble actions.

I would also note Appiah's larger point, one that I have made on the blog and in my book on Saving Face, namely, that shaming can be a positive moral force.

When the Chinese discovered that foot binding made them look like fools, they ceased the practice. And when dueling descended from the upper to the lower classes, the gentlemen who thought that it was a sure way to assert honor, starting having second and third thoughts.

As Appiah says, you can legislate all you want, you can ban whatever you want. But to change the culture, people must receive a strong dose of shame for their actions.

Considering that the therapy culture has been trying to tell people that shame is bad, and that you and the society at large should dispense with it, Appiah's work is a welcome contribution.

1 comment:

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