Ramallah hip hop video against honor crimes

By band called 'Dam'; 32 women killed 2004-2006, UN report

08 November, 17:22

An image from the video of the Palestinian band 'Dam' An image from the video of the Palestinian band 'Dam'

(ANSAmed) - RAMALLAH - To start a debate within Palestinian society on the issue of so-called honor killings: this is the objective of a music video by Palestinian hip hop group Dam, titled 'If I Could Go Back in Time'.

Produced in collaboration with UN Women, the UN agency for gender equality and female empowerment, which also financed the shoot, the video does not cover a specific event, ''but describes the phenomenon of honor killing in general,'' said Tamer Nafar, the leader of the band.

An honor killing is the murder of a family member by other members, due to the perpetrators' belief that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or community. Directed mostly against women and girls, honor killings are most prevalent in Middle Eastern and South Asian Islamic cultures.

Presented by the band at a press conference in Ramallah, the video tells the story of a Palestinian girl that gets killed by her family, in what appears to be a run-of-the-mill case of domestic violence. ''Killing in the name of honor is the most extreme form of discrimination against women. Every woman has the right to life and the right to a future,'' Alia El-Yassir, the special representative from UN Women in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, told reporters at the press conference. With input from Palestinian President Abu Mazen (Mahmud Abbas), the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) a year ago issued a decree canceling juridical dispositions that allowed courts to treat murderers in honor killings with more leniency than those in cases of straightforward homicide.

But the government decree has so far remained a dead letter: between 2004 and 2006 there were 32 honor killings in the Palestinian Territories, and 12 women were murdered by male family members between January and August of this year, according to a UN report. Directed by Jackie Salloum with assistance from Suhail Nafar, the video is already online and has been seen by thousands of viewers. The video, said the Dam band leader, is aimed at wider public than just the Palestinian one. ''It is a message to my people, to all Arabs. The Arab Spring revolutions are not just against oppression by dictatorships,'' he said. ''They must be revolutions that place civil rights and equality between men and women center stage.'' (ANSAmed).

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