Burned Alive-Souad
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Switzerland

Switzerland | Burned Alive-Souad | Scoop.it
Meghana Patel's insight:

By the end of her story, Souad travels from her hometown of the West  Bank to Switzerland in Europe where she speaks of her experiences as an honour crime victim with the aid of a European worker named Jacqueline. She published this first book as the first witness of an honour crime and speaks out to everyone to see the barbarity of this tradition and work against it.

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Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings :: Middle East Quarterly

Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings :: Middle East Quarterly | Burned Alive-Souad | Scoop.it
To combat the epidemic of honor killings requires understanding what makes these murders unique. They differ from plain and psychopathic homicides, serial killings, crimes of passion, revenge killings, and domestic violence. Their motivation is different
Meghana Patel's insight:

Honor killings still happen very often all around the world, but most cases are in Pakistan. The age ranges are different everywhere, but most of these killings happen to young people. "Just over half of these victims were daughters and sisters; about a quarter were wives and girlfriends of the perpetrators. The remainder included mothers, aunts, nieces, cousins, uncles, or non-relatives (Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings)." Many of these cases happened to women because of some form of disobeying. Family members would gather together to kill their own family members and they thought of this as normal. When some Western activists were asked about what they thought of these killings, they said that "they are cultural, tribal, pre-Islamic customs, and that, in any event, domestic violence exists everywhere (Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings)." These honor killings were seen as tradition rather than crimes against human beings.

In Burned Alive, Souad had been saved by Jacqueline who saw honor killings as a whole different thing. She saw them as a crime and wanted to save Souad from this way for life and many others like her. She worked for a foundation that regularly dealt with these kind of cases and it was sad to realize that this type of violence happened everywhere and it was a "normal" thing she would see everyday. In our country, we don't take it upon ourselves to murder our own family members for disobeying, we give consequences, but not to such a drastic measure. We didn't believe this to be a tradition, but a way we as human beings were supposed to act. Honor killings had definitely changed these peoples' way of life and thinking.

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Honour Killing Victim

Honour Killing Victim | Burned Alive-Souad | Scoop.it
Meghana Patel's insight:

This photo shows of a girl that was a victim of an honour killing. She was burned for a crime she had committed or perhaps for just being a girl. This picture makes me sick to my stomach to think this still goes on today and how not only is it physically scarring, but mentally as well. Her face is so deeply burned and I do not think she lived through the whole event, but I feel very sad to see that we humans have created a culture of such tradition. Even though, we do not think we created it, we do not speak up enough to go against it.

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Palestinian Statehood

Meghana Patel's insight:

During the 1930s, there was a lot of rebellion taking place in Palestine between Arabs and Jews. When the British mandate liked the idea of having Jews come into their homeland, he welcomed them with open arms and the Palestinians did not like that at all. They felt as if the Jewish people were coming into their homeland to invade and take over. Since Israel was taken over by Rome many years ago, Jewish people wanted to establish another Jewish majority state so the British mandate proposed the idea of splitting Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. "Abbas accused Israel of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people via the demolition of their homes (Palestinian Statehood)." Violence broke out for a very long time and since then, many Arab Palestinians found a hatred towards Jewish people.

The history between Palestinians and Israelis had taken place during Souad's time in a way that affected the way she thought, not only of Jewish people, but how she thought of people outside of her world in Palestine. "I had no idea of the world in general. What I did know was that we had to hate the Jews who had taken our land; my father called them pigs (Souad 5)." Her father had lived through the period of when this whole conflict between the Jews and Arabs occurred and showed no respect towards Jewish people and this hatred was taught and passed down generations. Souad wasn't born hating the Jews, but she was taught because it was her homeland and they felt invaded. Souad found it very hard to also adjust to the outside world because of what she taught and how limited she was to certain things like books. When she got to Europe, she slowly learned that everything she was taught only revolved around their country and she didn't know of anything else. She didn't know how to accept people because of what she was taught.

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Aqsa's parents give a name to her murder: an honour killing

Meghana Patel's insight:

Honor killings are viewed differently by many people in different regions. In this case, 16 year old Aqsa was murdered by her father and brother for refusing to wear a hijab. They were then sentenced to jail for 18 years for second degree murder. Aysan Sev'er, a Toronto scholar studied many of these cases and realized that honor killings were not happening with certain religion, but it was "an act rooted in culture (Aqsa's parents give a name to her murder)." He believed that they were wrong and not only the cultural aspects' fault, but the community's for being silent. This case was to bring out a name, a call for help to break the silence and speak out against violence on women.

Aqsa and Souad both went through this passed on tradition of an honor killing. Their families had been humiliated in front of their people and sent out men to kill them. "It is what is called a crime of honor, Jamirat el Sharaf, and for the men in my region it is not considered a crime (Souad 49)." Dominance played a key role in developing this tradition. Honor crimes kept going to keep women in their place while proving men to be dominant figures. Souad was raised in such a culture, she had a hard time adjusting to the way women acted and were treated when she went outside of her world in West Bank.

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Israel Matzav: Interview with woman who escaped 'honor killing' in 'Palestinian territories'

Israel Matzav: Interview with woman who escaped 'honor killing' in 'Palestinian territories' | Burned Alive-Souad | Scoop.it
Meghana Patel's insight:

This honour killing is very similar to the story of Souad. She had committed the sin of having sex before marriage and was burned while doing the laundry outside. She talks about how the doctors treated her wounds very badly and how no one wanted to help her. "A woman who disappears is not a problem (Interview with woman who escaped 'honor killing' in 'Palestinian territories')." They just wished for her to die in the sake of honor and for the "good" of her and her family. She was pregnant and hit herself with stones to get rid of the baby and went through a lot of hardship not knowing how to speak other languages and how she acted towards men. She couldn't look them in the eye afraid of denouncing their authority. She also talked about how her mother dealt with her father, how she suffocated baby girls that she gave birth to and was almost choked to death for cheating on him. 

Souad has a very similar story in which she talks about how she "detests to men" and is very submissive to the men in her region. Even after you get married, you are still treated the same and is not "saved" from the desparities of being a woman in your family. Although being very low ranked compared to the men in her region, it was sad to think that she would say, "For a woman in my country, living without a man is a punishment for life (Souad 159)." She could not go back to her homeland for fear of being killed by her own family or anyone else who knew about her wrongdoing. She would never be marriageable in her country because she would always be known as a "Charmuta" which was a very bad title in Palestine. Her life would never be the same again if she went back so it was very hard for her to adjust to the world outside of her home. Meeting people who dressed openly and women who spoke directly to men, and marrying a man who treated her as an equal was a very big step for Souad. Honor killings affected her in these many ways.

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Honour Killing Reports in Many Countries

Honour Killing Reports in Many Countries | Burned Alive-Souad | Scoop.it
Meghana Patel's insight:

This picture shows where honour killings mostly go on. As you can see, it also goes on in the U.S. because of migration and victims running away, families will follow if it really means that much to their reputation. Honour killings might still be spreading because traditions are passed down and not many people are willing to speak up for fear of being treated the same.

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Palestine Report - The problems of early marriage in Palestine

Meghana Patel's insight:

Many Palestinian laws required you to be the age of 18 in order to be considered a legal adult, but marriage took place between the the years of 14 to 16. Early marriages helped families in economic crises because the groom's family would give much money and food for the hand of the daughter. The problem with this was that it took many girls out of school and many of them never got an education. "I would not have gotten married so early and I would have finished my education. I cannot find a way of communicating with [my children]. Sometimes I decide not to talk in front of them when they are discussing things in the evening such as politics (The problems of early marriage in Palestine)." This woman never got an education and this damaged her mentally because there was always a wall between what she could talk about with other people and this caused her to not have much confidence in herself, being embarrassed to say anything. Early marriages also came with physical problems such as a higher likelihood of having a miscarriage and stillborns. By keeping these women weak and worn out, men retained their dominance.

Souad had been very weak against men her whole life, especially when she let Faiez do what he wanted in that field that evening. She became pregnant and faced many people who wanted her to die in the nam of honor to be replenished for her family and for the good of herself. Souad had watched her mother have so many children, yet none of them lived for her to know their name because she had suffocated every baby girl she had. Women in Souad's village were not educated at all and were just taught to look up to men and show respect. They were also taught to be weak and submissive to men and to be disciplined. I felt very scared for Souad after she became pregnant because a woman would be killed just for not wanting to dress the way a man wanted her to. It makes me wonder how traditions like these even start, but I do understand that it take many years for them to develop. Early marriages were the way to have women disciplined young so they learned to live their whole lives that way.

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Map/Setting: Israel-Palestine

Map/Setting: Israel-Palestine | Burned Alive-Souad | Scoop.it
Meghana Patel's insight:

Many people can not understand where Souad's hometown is because of the war that went on between Palestine and Israel which causes lines between these two conflicting countries to change. Souad's story takes place in the West Bank, but she drives to the market near Jerusalem so we can predict she lives near Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Bethlehem had been under Israeli control for a while during her story.

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Burned Alive-Souad

Burned Alive-Souad | Burned Alive-Souad | Scoop.it

Summary

Meghana Patel's insight:

In Burned Alive, Souad lives in the West Bank village in Palestine where all women are forced to live under the law of men. At the age of 17, Souad commits the sin of having sex before marriage with a man she has never met before. She believes he is the true love of her life but she cannot marry him until her older sister gets married before her. After the family finds out that she is pregnant, they send brother-in-law Hussein over to kill her by burning her. A group of women save her and take her to the hospital later on and after being terribly mistreated for her wounds, European worker, Jaqueline, decides to take her away from this terrible life by bringing her and her premature baby to Switzerland. She eventually gives her son to another family to take in and falls in love with a man named Antonio. They have 2 daughters and Souad decides to reveal to her daughters and son what she went through and that they are true siblings. She then writes her story.

The scopes that I will focus on in this novel are honor killings, Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, and marriage traditions for Israelis. These topics have shown up consistently in Souad's dictated life in many ways. Souad is greatly affected by the honor crime committed against her. "It is what is called a crime of honor, Jamirat el Sharaf, and for the men of my region it is not considered a crime (Souad 49)." She can never go back to her country or she would be killed by anyone who was informed about the dishonor in her family and she goes under deep depression knowing she should have died, but people saved her and she has to adjust to the way the world is outside of Palestine. The history taking place throughout the story has also affected the way she thinks about people outside of her world. "...we had to hate the Jews who had taken our land; my father called them pigs. We were forbidden to go near them for fear of becoming a pig like them (Souad 5)." Her father had thought Jews were just impurities put into their home and persuaded her to think the same.

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