Some People

About this survey that says 1 in 10 Asians think ‘honour’ killings can be justified. Did you notice something peculiar? The article left something out. It left a few things out, but there was one huge thing. And it so obviously matters that you’d think it wouldn’t have, but it did.

It just says ‘young Asians’ and ‘the 16 to 34-year-old age group interviewed.’ See it? It doesn’t say what the gender breakdown was! Duh. It doesn’t even say whether or not it was all one gender. Now, you might think that surely the BBC wouldn’t be as silly as that, it wouldn’t say ‘young Muslims’ if the interviewees were absolutely all male. But it would. Just the other day I listened to a rather interesting show on Radio 4 called Taking the Cricket Test, which was described on the A-Z page as ‘Sarfraz Mansoor gets into the mind of young British Muslims’. It was interesting, as I say, but it was about a cricket team, and there were absolutely no women or girls from start to finish. So Sarfraz Mansoor didn’t get into the mind of young British Muslims, he got into the mind of (a few) young British Muslim men. So I don’t feel a bit confident that that survey included any women at all, let alone that it included at least half. And on a subject like this…gender probably makes a fairly large difference. In fact I would say it makes such a large difference (on account of how, to put it bluntly, only one gender is subject to the ‘honour’ killing under discussion) that any survey on the subject really needs to separate the genders in order to be informative.

The whole article is in fact bizarrely and rather annoyingly evasive about the very subject it’s talking about. If you don’t already know what ‘honour’ killing is and how it tends to play out, you don’t find out much from this article.

What constitutes dishonour can range from wearing clothes thought unsuitable or choosing a career which the family disapprove of, to marrying outside of the wider community.

Who? Who? Who? Who wearing clothes thought unsuitable, who choosing a career, who marrying out? What a conspicuous absence of subjects in that sentence. Lots of verbs, but no one performing them; all action and no agents. Why so damn evasive? If the BBC is nervous of the subject, why did it report on the survey? And it’s all like that. ‘Kidnaps, beatings and rapes have also been committed in the name of “honour”.’ Of whom?

Figures show 13 people die every year in honour killings, but police and support groups believe it is many more…Honour killing is a brutal reaction within a family – predominantly Asian and Middle Eastern – to someone perceived to have brought “shame” upon relatives.

People. Someone. (Many more than) 13 women die; honour killing is a brutal reaction to a woman perceived to have brought “shame”. Come on, Beeb, do it right.

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