By Raheel Raza
Shakespeare said “Praising what is lost makes the remembrance dear.”
Remembrance Day is celebrated in many countries to commemorate and keep alive the memories of those who sacrificed their lives. It’s a wonderful concept. In Canada we wear red poppies to remember the soldiers who sacrificed their lives. Many events are held world-wide as citizens stand to attention and pay respects to the departed souls.
Sadly however, there has never been a day of remembrance for the women who did not die voluntarily, but whose lives were taken by force. These women who were killed in Honor Based Violence sacrificed their lives for their families, their community and their country. They were murdered in USA, Canada and UK and once they were killed, there was dead silence and no remembrance of their lives which were snuffed out, sometimes in the prime of their youth. In many instances there was a deliberate attempt to erase their memories so future generations would not reflect on how and why these murders happened.
Amina and Sarah Said in USA; Aqsa Parvez in Canada; Sadia Sheikh in Europe and Banaaz Mahmood & Shafilea Ahmed in the UK are only a few names that need not only to be remembered, but to be dignified with respect in memory of who they were.
Today, July 14, is the first ever commemoration day for victims of Honor Based Violence in the form of a Survivor Conference being held in London, UK. It’s a sad day but also a day of facing our losses head-on. It allows us all to reflect on where we are in terms of human rights and gender equality. Mostly, it allows us to keep alive the memories of the women who had a right to live.
We at Honor Diaries, honor and praise these women; condemn the dis-honourable acts by which they were killed and hold their memories in respect and dignity. May they never fade.
How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! Maya Angelou