Over 1,000 women are brutally murdered in Pakistan each year.
October 6, 2016
Photo by: Borgen Magazine
Pakistan is a patriarchal society where women’s behaviors are traditionally limited by cultural restrictions in order to preserve their chastity. Any deviant behavior is therefore deemed immoral and brings dishonor upon the family. Consequently, women labeled as deviant are often murdered by male relatives or neighbors in order to restore familial honor and reputation within the community (1). These brutal acts of murder are known as honor killings. Each year, over 1,000 women in Pakistan are murdered in the name of honor.
While “immoral behavior” includes infidelity, it also encompasses a range of unexpected behaviors. For instance, women are often murdered for being raped, refusing an arranged marriage, dressing “inappropriately” or acting flirtatious. It can also be warranted by familial quarrels over property ownership, inheritance issues, or a woman’s desire to marry for love. Many times women are even murdered on the basis of suspicion alone (2).
Photo by: Gospel Herald
Human rights groups have been pressuring the Pakistani government to put an end to honor killings. However, authorities have been unsuccessful and have often even turned a blind eye. In many cases, murders are not even investigated, leaving perpetrators free from prosecution (3).
Photo by: BBC
This issue has gained international attention, especially with the rising number of high-profile honor killings this year. One such case was Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani social media star, who was strangled to death by her brother in July. Pakistani filmmaker and activist, Sharmeen Obaid, also heightened international attention towards this issue in her Academy Award winning documentary, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.
In response to the rising campaigns for women’s rights, the Pakistani government passed a bill ensuring that killers receive a mandatory life sentence (4). Previously, a killer could be pardoned for murder if he gained forgiveness from the victim’s family. This new legislation no longer allows freedom from impunity. Even still, it remains uncertain whether this law is enough to deter honor killings. However, activists everywhere are celebrating this new step in the right direction towards ending violence against women.
Honor killing suspects are blind folded before their court hearing. (Photo by: CNN)
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Poverty is the failure to acquire certain fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms from disease, hunger, and illiteracy. In order for people to have the freedom to live a healthy life, there cannot be obstacles preventing the legitimate pursuit of good health and well-being. Simultaneously, society must support individuals by creating an environment that allows for the achievement of good health. Once these basic freedoms are acquired, an individual attains a level of minimal human dignity. According to the human rights approach, people have inalienable rights to these freedoms. It is a human right to be free from hunger and disease. Once people attain a minimal level of human dignity they are then able to gain something greater – the freedom of choice and the power to create a better life.
A surrealist portrayal of a young adult’s struggle in search of truth beyond the realm of her preconceived reality
As human beings age, they become increasingly constrained by the social world. Innocence and curiosity from childhood escapes, as our understanding of reality becomes solidified over time. At a point of transition in life, many people find themselves questioning their purpose. This is especially true of young adults moving from the role of dependency to the independent world of professionalism. Who am I? What should I be doing? What will I become? These questions are often answered with a false sense of certainty and limited within supposed normalcy.
Throughout life, external influences have shaped our perceptions of the world. The media, parental pressures, and peer judgments have all contributed to these views. In the process of socialization and learning, we often lose touch with the ability to question our perceived truths. What is reality? What is the ‘real’ world?
This film presents these concerns through surrealist experiences of a young adult in an urban setting. The story begins by presenting a world void of color. This black and white realm is symbolic of the preconceived notions of the world based on our own knowledge and experiences. In this universe, everything has a place and manner of being. People move rapidly throughout their daily lives, which represents the idea that we are always running out of time. As a result, people are forever chasing the future while forgetting to be present in the moment.
The delusional black and white world is shattered once events take place that disrupt the norm. The young girl then follows her own curiosity in search of truth. By opening her mind, an alternate universe of color is exposed. She is then led to contemplate her own beliefs and identity, which is portrayed through the use of masks. Through self-discovery, she learns that she had been blind to the color of her own world all along.
The themes of time, curiosity, and identity are presented and inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll.