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Sunday, November 01, 2009

A Piece of White Silk -Jacqueline Rose

A Piece of White Silk - Jacqueline Rose

Murder in the Name of Honour by Rana Husseini Oneworld, 250 pp, £12.99, May
2009, ISBN 978 1 85168 524 0
In Honour of Fadime: Murder and Shame by Unni Wikan, translated by Anna PatersonChicago, 305 pp,
£12.50, June 2008, ISBN 978 0 226 89686 1
Honour Killing: Stories of Men Who Killed by Ayse OnalSaqi, 256 pp, £12.99, May
2008, ISBN 978 0 86356 617 2

By the time I had finished reading these ghastly stories, it was the sisters who for me stood out as the heroines. Not the ones who are lamented too late, but those who survive and go on telling the story. For Wikan, Songül Sahindal is the bravest of them all, taking to the witness stand against the advice of her whole family, who were happy to dismiss her and her evidence as insane – ‘a madwoman’s tale’. Bekhal Mahmod, whose sister Banaz was killed in 2006, was the key prosecution witness at the trial of her father and uncle and the first woman in the UK ever to testify at an honour killing trial. Undercover and in hiding ever since, she continues to speak out on behalf of her dead sister (you can see one of the interviews on YouTube). These sisters’ futures will probably not be public knowledge, although Wikan is optimistic about Songül. But trying to follow them, or perhaps just remembering the difficulty of the lives they are now likely to be living, might be one way to keep the issue at the forefront of our minds, and to hold on to what happens next. [thanks YA]


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