In the beginning of the week when I first got a reminder that the anniversary of her death is approaching, it felt like a hand was pushing on my throat. It’s been 16 years since her murder, but it was only a few years ago since I learned about the fate of Fadime Sahindal – who died only for wanting the life that most of us take for granted.
“As long as my opinions come from love, how can they possibly be harmful?”. It’s a question I occasionally asked myself about five years ago, but I failed to see what the consequence could possibly be. I knew that my knowledge of the world was very limited, but I was also convinced I had some kind of black belt in wisdom. We were some kind of warriors, shutting down anyone who according to us didn’t truly support human rights for everyone. I guess you could say it became somewhat of a sport; whoever could come up with the most far-fetched arguments supporting them to shut people down and label them racist or sexist won. I collected social scores in form of high fives in the corridors or likes on my facebook comments, fed my self-righteous ego by shoving my “brilliance” down people’s throats, and proudly voiced how no one with the “wrong” opinions is ever welcome through my door.
Her face is to me a reminder of the consequence I didn’t realize while shutting people down, as I’ve learned from people that to this day battle the same issues as her we were the ones that silence the discussion and turned our cheeks determined to believe this cultural problem would be racist to acknowledge. From her grave, she’s one of the people that played a role in teaching me to take a step back and listen, and inspired me to nourish a household where we don’t shut people down.
One of the biggest reasons this has been allowed to continue is because we for decades have allowed a political party to own a set of opinions, and label anyone who would bring those topics up a racist without really listening to what people actually have to say. I don’t know if it’s because my own understanding of the world transformed that I feel Sweden as a nation has evolved a bit from that, but I still get the understanding from the people working closely with these issues that there is still a lot of prejudist against both people who are working against honor violence, and people trying to get help out of their situation, which of course is nothing but outrageous.
In Sweden 2016, one third of all women murders where honor related.