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Rudaw

Culture & Art

A Single Kurd Attends Unveiling of Shahindal Monument in Sweden

By Rudaw 18/6/2013
After long efforts by activists and especially Hans Richter, the Pope of Human Rights in Sweden, the park was officially named Fadima in 2012. Photo: Rudaw
After long efforts by activists and especially Hans Richter, the Pope of Human Rights in Sweden, the park was officially named Fadima in 2012. Photo: Rudaw


By Shad Muhammad

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – With only a single Kurd honoring her memory, a monument was unveiled in the Swedish city of Uppsala for Fadima Shahindal, a Kurdish girl raised in Sweden who was murdered by her father in a so-called “honor killing.”

The memorial at Fadima Park was built largely through the efforts of the Glöm aldrig Pela och Fadime organization, which means, “We Will Never Forget Pela and Fadime.” It was  founded by human rights activists and Kurdish and Swedish women after the murders of Pela Atrushi and Shahindal in “honor killings” in Sweden.

“The Kurds have opposed our campaigns, and their absence today at this ceremony is an extension of their attitude,” said Sara Mumammad, the organization’s Kurdish chairperson, who lives in Sweden.  She was the only Kurd at the ceremony.

Shahindal, who took her case to the media after threats by her father who opposed her having a boyfriend and insisted on an arranged marriage, earned support from Kurds like Muhammad, but also was widely opposed by many Kurds for publicizing her case and allegedly tarnishing the image of the Kurdish community among the Swedish public.

Maria Arnholm, Swedish Minister for Gender Equality and Deputy Minister for Education, said in a speech at the ceremony that, “Fadima was killed 11 years ago, we have been struggling for 11 years, we have been educating the youth for 11 years, our struggle to stop a culture of violence against women has been progressing for 11 years.”

The monument is “the culmination of 12 years of struggle,” she said.

After long efforts by activists and especially Hans Richter, the Pope of Human Rights in Sweden, the park was officially named Fadima in 2012.

The Fadima Monument is in the shape of a tree that embodies the hair of Shahindal, whose family is originally from southeastern Turkey.  In middle of the tree is a circular mirror.

“Those who watch the mirror become part of the monument, which symbolizes the roles of all the individuals in these events and the culture,” said Hanna Beling, the architect of the monument. “It has been a while since I began thinking about creating a sculpture that would stress on creating a better world. I believe Fadima and her case were applicable to my project.”

Muhammad, meanwhile, spoke proudly about Shahindal, describing her as “a symbol for the bravery of women of our nation.”

“She is not a source of shame as many Kurds believe,” she said. “The monument is named Fadima, but it represents all the victims of honor killings in every culture. Tens of girls and boys are suffering because of this culture.”

The issue of honor killings is widely covered by the Swedish media, due to the large number of Kurdish immigrants in the country, and the incidence of cases like Shahindal’s.

According to Muhammad, “The Kurds in Sweden are part of the honor killing culture. The victims of this culture are not few, among hundreds of such cases and hundreds of nations and groups in Sweden, the Kurds form only one part.”

The monument was deeply meaningful for many of those present at the ceremony.

“This is the beginning of a struggle that will never end,” another women’s rights activist, Saga Lowenlind, said at the ceremony. Lowenlind’s sister-in-law, Mary Barin, was a Kurdish woman who was killed last year by her own brother.

 

Her brother is now in prison and her father who directed his son to kill Barin escaped and now lives in Kurdistan. Lowenlind joined women’s right activists after the murder of her sister-in-law.

 

“This monument is an indication to all those who are responsible for the culture of honor killing,” said Lowenlind.


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Lorenzo | 18/6/2013
Honor killing is murder. Family members who play God with self given right to terminate others lifes are committing murder to their own flesh. This is the price of lack of education and formation. Who is the normal person who wants to kill his own family? Is that honor?
Simko Haya | 19/6/2013
Let us first use an appropriate language: The so-called honour killing culture is neither about honour nor it is a culture.And in first place it has nothing to do in particular with the Kurdish culture . It is a savage behavour. It is more accurately murdering women because of their sexual conduct.The phenomenon is deeply rooted in the history of mankind and is almost universal.It is true that such behavour is almost endemic in some parts of the world, and unfortunately also in our country.Our society is vulnerable due to the religious influence from one side and the careless and instinctive behavour induced by the modernity from the other side.These two factors have produced much calamities in our society.The Kurds are particulalry vulnerable because religion and modernity are both too agressive and in any way do they leave a place for the old values like restraint,compassion,tolerance,morality and family ties;all precious values and certainties much needed in these hard times.
Eric | 19/6/2013
There is no honour in forcing your believes onto others. If we Kurds want freedom for our people then we must give freedom to our sisters to make their choices in life.
Abdilkhaliq Salayii | 19/6/2013
Honor Killing is a crime against humanity. We can asses the situation according to the size of the problem, nothing can be carried out only by killing, there are other ways in order to figure out the subject and put an end to facing it one more time. Such crimes should not only be implemented on a woman specifically, it should also be implemented on men as well. There is no illegal thing that is legal for men not for woman. God has put punishments for every single task.
Kurdox | 19/6/2013
Quran brought this crime to Kurdistan, it is mentioned in different chapters, one of them is surah Almaida 5, Ayat 32. من اجل ذلك كتبنا على بنى اسرءيل انه من قتل نفسا بغير نفس او فساد فى الارض فكانما قتل الناس جميعا ومن احياها فكانما احيا الناس جميعا ولقد جاءتهم رسلنا بالبينت ثم ان كثيرا منهم بعد ذلك فى الارض لمسرفون Translation "Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors. "
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