As noted in an editorial that was carried in the November 9, 2010, Coaster, humans only get to see the bright side of the moon. We never see the dark, mysterious side of Earth's only satellite as the moon takes 29.5 days to make one rotation and the same amount of time to complete one revolution around the Earth.
It's something like human nature as we seldom get to see the dark side of human beings. Thankfully most of us are willing to obey society's laws, to respect each other and are willing to live in a civilized manner.
But there's a very thin line between being civilized and being insane, and you don't have to scratch very deep sometimes to find that craziness.
Take the case of the Shaifa family in Montreal - Mohamed Shafia, his wife Tooba Yahya and their son Hamed were each recently handed an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. The three were accused of killing Hamed's three sisters and his father's childless first wife from a polygamous marriage.
Why did these four innocent people have to lose their lives in this crazy manner? Zainab Shafia, 19; Sahar Shafia, 17; Geeti Shafia, 13 and Rona Mohammed Amir, 50 did no real harm to their family or to anyone else for that matter.
The court explained the murders were 'honour' killings as apparently the three young girls had brought disgrace and shame to their Muslim parents who were originally from Afghanistan.
Zainab and Sahar had boyfriends that their parents disapproved of and were guilty of wearing western style clothing that all young Canadian girls like to wear. They refused to wear the traditional hijab, a traditional dress worn by women in Afghanistan. In other words, they wanted to assimilate into Canadian culture and be like modern young Canadian women.
Geeti and Rona were allegedly killed because they had apparently been involved in acts of betrayal and couldn't be counted on to tell the same story after the deaths, according to the Crown's case.
So, these two had to die tragically, needlessly, senselessly, cowardly and unnecessarily too.
Trouble had been brewing in the family for a long time and came to a head when Zainab ran away to a Montreal women's shelter in April 2009. This was the ultimate act of betrayal according to the court, as the Shafia family was not supposed, under any circumstances, to wash their dirty underwear in public. Shafia, his wife and son began to plot to kill the three girls and Shafia’s first wife. The four victims were found in a family vehicle, submerged in a lock on the Rideau Canal on June 30, 2009.
Isn't it ironic that these killings are referred to as 'honour' killings? What's honourable about killing anyone for no good reason let alone killing your own children? And just because they wanted to dress and be like Canadian women?
All parents have pride and feel honour for their families in that they want their children to do well and to be productive members of society. But to kill your children just because they apparently disgraced the family's so-called honour? Now, that's really crazy.
Let's go back a little ways.
The Sharif family came to Canada in 2007 after leaving Afghanistan in 1992. The lived in Dubai and Australia before arriving in Montreal in the early nineties. They applied for citizenship and were all permanent residents (except Rona) at the time of the killings.
So, you want to live in the greatest country on the planet. We take you in with open arms, you become a citizen, you build a successful used car business, your children go to good schools, they're smart, beautiful and ambitious as one of the young girls wanted to become a doctor to help women back in Afghanistan at a later time in her life.
So, what more could you want? Oh, you want your daughters to dress and act like Muslim women back in Afghanistan? You don’t want them to be modern, independent, ambitious women of the world? And for that they had to die to protect the family’s so-called honour.
It seems like some of these Muslim people — not all by any means - who want to live in Canada want all that this great country has to offer, but they think they're above our laws — that Canadian laws do not apply to them, they're outside or above Canadian laws and our justice system. They think they can do pretty well whatever they want and get away with the most terrible crimes, even so-called honour killings of family members.
Right to the last moment before the jury's verdict on Sunday, January 29 the three thought they were be acquitted of the charges against them and that they would go back to living like they did before.
But Canadian justice intervened and sent a message to the Sharif family and the rest of the world – Canadians are not going to tolerate these types of barbaric killings. It was a great day for Canadian justice and for women around the world. It won’t end all the violence and craziness overnight, but at least it can be a start to a better world for women of all cultures.
And what can we do to protect other young Muslim women in Canada from the same fate? The police and other professionals have to pay closer attention when these women cry out for help. Teachers and social workers had heard the Sharif girls complain about violence at home but when authorities visited the home they would say everything was OK.
It’s probably not fair to blame anyone for this tragedy except the parents but authorities can pay more attention to cases like this in the future.
It’s no consolation to anyone but these killings will bring the world’s attention to these ‘honourless’ killings and maybe we can prevent them from happening again.