Greetings one and all,

Four years ago today, Rand Abdel-Qader was killed by her own father “in the name of honour.”  He felt his honour stained because she was seen conversing – and allegedly had an affair – with a British soldier.  It didn’t matter to him that it was done in public and at a relief centre where she volunteered her time.  It didn’t matter to him that the interactions were pleasant, cordial and even affirming.  It didn’t matter to him that it was, in spite of any feelings she may have felt, very innocent and platonic.  Simply being in the same company as an foreigner, an occupier/invader and an infidel, was enough to murder her, ask that his sons to help him, ensure that the rest of the family – with the exception of her mother – disown her and insist that he would have killed her immediately after birth had he known then what he knew now.

It was this story that prompted me to make The Rose of Al Basrah.

This work is the funeral Rand never had.  It affirmed her character as someone who seem to love ideas like beauty and truth in the way seventeen year olds do … with wide-eyed passion.  This is not a declaration of a fault.  On the contrary, it’s something that most who have lived through that age can understand, myself included.  This work also called what happened to her what it truly was: a brutal, selfish, childish and inexcusable act you could do within your own family.  Her father only demonstrated conditional love toward her daughter.  Furthermore, I could see other ages besides the age he actually was at the time (46).  And finally, it provided a means to wail and mourn for the loss of someone who was created by God and called very good.  If her family couldn’t do it – again with exceptions – someone else should.  That responsibility fell onto me.  My constant hope is that what I could do was done in good service to her … and by extension, to her mother.

I also see this work as a means of calling an “honour killing” in general what it really is: a brutual, selfish, childish and inexcusable act you could do within your own family.  It does not serve any high ideal like justice … there’s nothing just in killing someone within your own family.  And even if you could make a case of an actual transgression against a higher and broader law, i.e. adultery, it neither does nor should warrant a “death sentence.”  All “honour killings” do is make the family patriarch feel “better” after feeling “stained” due to someone else’s actions.  Consequently, it destroys a life without any semblance of love, compassion, mercy or remorse.  It is simply murder.

And so this work is and shall remain dedicated to all who have been killed in this way … “in the name of honour.”

For you, Rand (23.06.1990-16.03.2008)

All the best, DP

~ by djproject on 16 March 2012.

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