Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Honour I can do without

Over the last few months, images and questions have been moving slowly in my head as wax would in a lava lamp, each piece trying to find its place in the many problems of the day, in the many jigsawed issues I try to grapple with in order to make sense of the world we live in. I want to talk about something everyone wants to have but no one wishes to pay the price for; honour.

Let's make one thing clear - there is a difference between honour and dignity. Dignity acknowledges others, Honour acknowledges self; what Pride wants, Honour justifies.

I hate society's idea of honour simply because I am of the opinion that humanity is completely and wholly without although everyone claims to have it. Tell me if the following sounds even remotely honourable because the people who practise it certainly think it is!

The caste system in India.
Genital mutilation in Sudan.
Honour killings in Afghanistan.
Marital rape in Pakistan (Law in progress).
The one-child system in China.

I've chosen the more abhorrent traits of this world's culture in order for us to realise the atrocities that stem from our tainted notion of honour. Cultures are saturated with the idea that one's honour must be protected at all costs.

"After all," they say, "We don't have anything if we lose our name." So to that end, they reason:

The 'elite' don't marry 'down.'
Women (in many countries) are refused basic human rights, some in more subtle ways than others.
A forgotten name is worth more than eternal life.
A tyranical patriachical system is God's will.
Procreation is determined by man alone.

Psalm 12:8
The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.


Murder does not restore honour. The fickleness of the parent; that the parent should renounce his or her child for the sake of remaining in society shames the victim more than death itself. Honour killings are the biggest slap in the face to any puffed-up, self-righteous bigot who thinks it necessary to legalize love before it can take effect. I wonder how they responded to a scene in Madagascar 2 when Alex's dad abdicated his throne and followed his son when Alex was banished to the Wilderness in shame. I wonder if they understood.

If I love someone, I want to honour them. I want the best for them. For them.
If I am filled with pride, I want to honour myself. I want the best for myself. For me.

The great irony is that Love and Honour are meant to go hand-in-hand but just as Mankind usurped God's position as Ruler of this Domain (and every Domain from here to eternity), so societies have deliberately let Pride usurp Love's place. I throw disdain and contempt in the face of such a name and disregard the principalities that assert that man's aim is his glory.

After the making of the movie The Kite Runner, 4 child actors, 2 of whom played parts as sodomised and molested victims respectively had to leave their homeland for fear of repercussions from ultra conservative Afghans. Fair enough. Given the resignation of honour killings, it was wise to flee the country. The issue that leaves a pungent distaste in my mouth is this:

Why did the same repercussions not face the other actors who portrayed the sodomiser, his accomplices and the child molester?

What I hear from Afghanistan through this double-standard portrayal of a cultural mindset is that it is permissible to rape but not to be raped. I condemn the virifiled actions of soldiers who ravage the citizens of the countries they are meant to be protecting and they are without excuse. However, being in another culture for too long leads to cultural conditioning which manifests itself in either affiliating with the culture or despising it and when the culture of male domination has found its way into the subconscious whilst the consciousness hates the people, the mind justifies want the body wants.

Racial honour, cultural honour, religious honour are all things we should do without. I mentioned at the beginning that no one was willing to pay the price for real honour; real God-given honour. There is only one price to pay and even that is dismal compared to what has been given to us. To have honour, we must give up our honour. There is no honour in anything we do apart from that which is done in Christ for no honour can come out of man save for the Spirit of God that can but reside in him through Christ.

One last thought: If you don't find this repulsive, I would want to know why: Girl Gets 37 Lashes

No comments: