In the recent days, much of Canada’s newspapers has been engrossed in the Shafia trials. In this trial Mr Shafia (a wealthy Afghan Canadian Business man), Tooba Yahya (his second wife) and their son Hamed was accused and found guilty of killing four family members. They were Shafia’s first wife Rona (who was childless), and three of Shafia and Tooba’s daughters. They were killed because they did not want to follow the traditional Afghan way of life, had boyfriends and wore western clothes. There killings were labeled as ‘honor killing’ by the prosecutors and the media. The prosecutors brought in cultural experts who supported that claim.Shafia was caught on tape berating his daughters as they had brought shame on the family. The only way to rectify the situation was to kill them.
I was talking to hubby about this and he told me that my views were too western. He said different places and cultures have different norms, and we should respect that. He said what they could do in Afghanistan doesn’t mean that they should do it in Canada. After talking to him for a while, I explained that I was a cultural relativist but not an ethical relativist. I understand that cultures have different morals and standards, but I cannot fathom having different ethical standard.
A crime is a crime no matter who commits it and where it is committed. If a crime is a crime, then why don’t we have universal standards for justice? Are standards of justice and reconciliation different around the world? I guess they are….of course they are. But why? Why can we not agree to standard way of finding justice? Or should we allow cultures to have their own freedom of creating their own notions of justice? If that’s the case,how do we stop “honor killings” from happening?
Posted in Feminism, Random Thoughts, Relationship
Tagged Afghanistan, Afrghan, Canada, crime, cultural relativism, ethical relativism, Hamed, honor killing, justice, murder, relativism, Rona, Shafia, Tooba, trial, universal standard, Yahya
I have been thinking about writing this post for a while. Why did I decide to call myself a bou/wife in this blog?
After I got married, I did not take Hubby last name. I am deeply connected to my own name. My first name has a part of my dad’s name, and my last name is my mom’s first name. In essence, I have two first names (SS). It is very musical name :D. That is my formal name (bhalo naam). I also have a nickname (daak naam). Those who have read The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri know what I am talking about. My daak naam is a very Bengali and translates to Rainy Season in English. I was born in during the monsoon season and my name signifies that. My daak naam is used by my family, family friends, friends from my childhood. Most of the time now, when I introduce myself I use my bhalo naam. Even though hubby uses my daak naam , I call him using his bhalo naam (I should really change into using his daak naam).
After I got married people who call hubby Bhai (A respectable term, refers to being an older brother…in Bengali culture we usually don’t refer to people with just their names as it is disrespectful if they are older than you) started calling me Bhabi (Bhai’s wife). People who started to call me Bhabi included my brother-in-law, and hubby’s friends. To my brother-in-law, I asked him to call me apu (older sister). My brother calls me apu and I consider my brother-in-law as my own brother. Using a term like bhabi reinforces the fact I am connected to him by marriage, not by blood. I really don’t want to differentiate between him and my brother. So I prefer that he calls me Apu.
To Hubby’s friends, I always remind them to call me by my name (as most are older than me and some are my age). I want to reinforce that I have my own identity. By allowing myself to be a bhabi, I feel like I exist because there is a bhai or hubby. Whenever I am introduced to new people as bhabi, I always take a stand and correct people. This is, I guess, taking a feminist stand (in my mind).
Considering the fact that I do not like being called a Bhabi, why am I calling myself a Bou (wife) in this blog?
I have spent the last 11 years of my life outside Bangladesh and only had very limited interaction with Bangladeshis. When I married a Bangladeshi guy, my connection to my homeland, my culture and my heritage was reinforced. Becoming a wife allowed me to connect to my culture in different ways. Becoming a wife has also changed me for the better. Becoming a wife has made me very happy as I found an amazing life partner. Being a wife has also become a large part of identity. I know there are certain things I will not do because I am a bou and I know there are things I will do because I am. My relationship with parents have changed because I am married. I have learned to understand life differently since I got married. To appreciate all of those things, I decided call myself a bou as how and what I write about is effected by my marital status.
Posted in Feminism, Life, Random Thoughts
Tagged bhabi, bhai, bhalo naam, bou, daak naam, family relations, Jhumpa Lahiri, name, namesake, wife, wife. bou