According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, there were 636
honour killings in 2007 in Pakistan alone. At least 61 of these victims were 16 or less. Almost everyone of them was female. And, this is merely a fraction of women and men killed in Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Their crime? Daring to exercise their inalienable right to love a partner of their choice, not the one forced upon them by their families. For daring to be different.
On this Valentine's Day, I list below those who lost their lives for loving, one per month, since the previous Valentine's Day. Please read their stories via the links included. Then, please observe a moment of silence for each one of them.
- Rand Abdel-Qader (17), Basra, Iraq, March, 2008
- Rekha Gokavi (18), Hubli, India, April, 2008
- Farzaneh (17), Isfahan, Iran, May, 2008
- Muqadas (25), Bano (8), Sumaira (7), and Humaira (4), Multan, Pakistan, June, 2008
- Sandeela Kanwal (25), Atlanta, Georgia, USA, July,2008
- Hala (24), Khan Yunis, Gaza, August, 2008
- Fatima, Fauzia, and Jannat Bibi (16-18), Babakot, Pakistan, September, 2008
- Aisha Ibrahim Dhuhulow (13), Kismayu, Somalia, October, 2008
- Lidia Motylska (19), London, U.K., November, 2008
- Morsal (16), Hamburg, Germany, December, 2008
- Ravinder Pal Kaur (19) and Balkar Singh (30), Punjab, India, January, 2009
- Kanchan Kumari (18) and Ratan Mandal (21), Bihar, India, February, 2009
Now, please visit the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women. Read the stories behind the 552 cases presented there, and observe a minute of silence for each one those victims. Finished? Well, I suppose your weekend is pretty much over. A small price to pay compared to the years these brave women and men lost in the lives that they never lived.