Monday, October 18, 2010

Honor killings in a yesterday Sicily


In a not so remote past, i delitti d'onore (honor killings) weren't only an exclusive prerogative of Muslim countries - Shamefully even in Italy until a few decades ago, honor killings were happening. Even though under different modalities, these were mainly occurring in the south of Italy, particularly in Sicily.

These honor killings were committed by enraged husbands, fathers or brothers, for the offense of an actual or perceived immoral behavior done by their wives, sisters, or mothers being punished for having tarnished their own reputation or that of their families, were not else than truly tribal justices. The killers were always justified for having defended their honor by the society at large.

Even the Italian laws were much lenient toward those crime committed under the false pretense of, "honor".

Article 587 Criminal Code Rocco
(In force since 1930 and abrogated with the law n.442 of 08/05/1981)

"Whoever causes the death of spouse, daughter or sister in the act when he discovers the unlawful sexual relations and the state of anger went from offense given your honor or his family, shall be punished by imprisonment three to seven years. The same punishment those who, in those circumstances, causes the death of the person who is in unlawful carnal relationship with the spouse, daughter or sister."

Most of the time the sentence was not more than 3 years. Often was under three years, and even to a not more of few months imprisonment.


When I go back with my mind to many years ago, of when I was still living in my Sicily, I can clearly recall that some men were, indeed, wrongly inculcated in believing that they were the bosses and masters of their women, treating them as if they were properties (hopefully today, things have radically changed).

Fortunately, I didn't grow up with that same kind of mentality, just because, culturally I had the advantage of getting better educational knowledges. Thanks to alternatives that I was able to get along the way, my attitude toward women wasn't that of a high being dealing with a subspecies but of an equal partner in life. Alternatives such as: getting a college degree, traveling abroad a lot, and thus, getting to know other cultures.

And finally, a particular thanks to my sisters and my lovely other half, for having taught me that men aren't the dominant parts of humanity and that women are not the subordinate parts of it.

Today, I know very well that kind of Sicilian mentality toward women which was almost similar to those Muslim men of nowadays, in regard of their own women. Because of this reason I can now even understand, those Muslim men acting even worst with their own women because of honor. They have the same retrograde mentality that some Sicilian men were used to have.

In many ways the Sicilian mentality and the Muslim mentality, could both very well be connected together.

For certainty, the Islamic culture had its part in heavily influencing the Sicilian culture. Its deleterious influences (especially when getting to the point of women treatment) was passed on to future generations of Sicilian men by Arab conquerors.

This their thirst for the conquest of the Sicilian land, lasted more or less a two centuries. These two centuries were characterized mainly by continuous horde of Muslim invaders, which at some point in history culminated into a Sicilian Arabic Caliphate.

The result of that Muslim heritage can be seen even today by just listening to the many Sicilian dialects which have embedded in them some Arabs words, and by looking at the many Arabs vestige left in Sicily even after the Normans drove them out.

I'll end here this rather protracted topic, with the addition of only a few more words:

Both sex should respect each other without looking into gender differentiations and the prerogative of a very little benevolent religion toward the gentle sex, but equally live their lives on this world which belongs to every creature without distinctions whatsoever.



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