I have a 20-year-old daughter. When she was approaching two years old I decided it was time to potty train her, but she had a mind of her own. In the ensuing battle of wills and the resulting delay of her training due to my over exuberance, both my daughter and myself came to a decision. My decision was that she would from that day forward do things at her own pace and she would be given the tools to make her own decisions. My daughter on the other hand began to sense she had some real control over the world she inhabited. When at five years old she was having trouble at school and it was recommended that she change her behavior to fit in, we changed her school. When later this issue became more troubling at the new school, we home schooled her for a while and jumped her ahead. She now returned to school a leader and ahead of the other children, but she still did not fit in. They wanted her ‘out of her head’ and socialized. They recommended counseling. I told them that I respected my daughter’s creativity, imagination, originality and leadership qualities. I told them that I felt that what they meant by socialization was no more than domestication. I would not have her labeled by anyone and if they would not back down, then we would just home school her again. I did most of the home schooling this time and we jumped her ahead two more years. She would return to school with the same social issues, but she knew by then that she would not have to deal with children all of her life, and so, to be socialized to deal with school children that the teachers could not handle, was quite a stupid expectation.
I relay this information in a very reflective mood. Faleh Hassan Almaleki had a 20-year-old daughter too. Her name was Noor Faleh Almaleki. He is accused of murdering her by running her down with his jeep in a parking lot. He would consider it an honor killing because she had become too westernized. I think of my daughter and cry. I would not let my daughter join this society except by her own choosing. Faleh would not let his daughter leave ‘his society’ at all. I would prefer my daughter dead as well, rather than to have her forced to live in a world she did not choose to join, but then she has always had that choice and she would fight to the death to defend that right. I have known my daughter’s mind since she was two; Faleh never took the time to know his daughter at all.
I know that this murder had little directly to do with culture, values or religion. Faleh dishonors all three by his act. Real culture, values and religion have a basis in real world thinking and spiritual growth. Those that do not allow for the evolution of thought and consciousness are doomed to die. You are either expanding or contracting mentally, physically and spiritually. A fundamentalist orientation is one that is always contracting. There is no room for love, growth or full self-expression in it. The distinction between Faleh and the conservative fundamentalists in this country is small. Fundamentalists of all faith traditions and cultures have more in common with each other than with the liberals in their own group. The only values they choose to honor are those that they believe to be uncritically correct and therefore those values must be imposed on others at all costs for their own good. The lack of orderly rules rigidly imposed is very scary to them. The idea that anyone can actually reason out a plan of action in all circumstances without the aid of authority is very threatening to their worldview.
So I ask you, as the terrorist conservative fundamentalist Christian Right in this country arm to do battle with the terrorist conservative fundamentalist Islamic Right, what do you plan to do about it? Consider also, so armed, they are both poised to do battle with the liberal left. I know my daughter will not be run over by any shallow bullying, or by any show of force. Will yours?
So in killing his daughter, what is Faleh really killing? He is attempting to kill his fear; his fear of freedom, his fear of change, his fear of loss of control, his fear of being wrong, his fear of difference and his fear of aliveness. It is clear that he would rather be right than have his daughter alive. He himself was dead long before he killed his daughter. His long dead worldview sprung like a sand geyser out of ground found barren a thousand years ago and choked off any hope of his life long ago. Yet the lesson to be learned here is closer to the here and now than most want to consider.
Oh Daughter, My Daughter, your blood cries out to us
How shall the world answer you?
Tell of my coldness, my lack of feeling
For you in the spider’s web
Panting away in your pious dearth
Of my life in that miserly dread?
As you lay dying
Run down by my lying
By the four wheel, self-serving tool of a father.