"Mr President, your silence on the murder of Palestinian women is complicity - By Nahid Abu T’eima"

Mr President,

I understand the political burdens you shoulder. I know how busy your schedule is; the stubbornness of our occupier and the disaster and over disagreements with our brothers in Gaza. I know our unceasing fears and questions about when we will get Gaza back and when we might stop defeating ourselves must take up a great deal of your time.

I am writing to you on behalf of myself and on behalf of many women, though I am not by any means an appointed representative.

I am writing on behalf many many women so that I can stop feeling responsible as my society stands chained and watching as women are killed on the cheap, though we all say we know killing is illegal and violates our religious teachings.

Mr President, less than two weeks after you sighed the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on International Women’s Day this March, Tahani Uda, a girl from Habla village south of Qalqiliya was smothered to death by her own brother.

A week ago, 31-year-old Ula Safi from Al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip was killed by her relatives under the pretext of the so-called “family honor.” A few days ago a whole family was murdered and the killer used the word “honor” in his defense.

I and the women I speak for wished that incident would be the last. It was not. Yesterday 28-year-old Rihab Al-Hazin from the Nusayrat Refugee Camp in Gaza was killed, by her family, and the cycle will go on and on…

I am writing to you because I am convinced that you can protect our right to live, and you can help us achieve justice. You can stop the killing of girls and women whose only crime is being female.

Until killers are accorded the sins they hold to women, the killings will not stop.

I am writing to you President Abbas because you are in charge, and you will be asked for an explanation as to why tens of women are being killed by their family members every year. You can stop these “honor” killings with a stroke of your pen and tell our families that there is no honor in killing. Our noble Prophet Muhammad was quoted as saying, “Every individual is responsible for his subjects,” so you too must take responsibility. No more soft law for killers.

In all that you do you emphasize to the world that we are a civilized people; you showed our support for women’s rights when you signed CEDAW. But a society that allows killers to kill for mere suspicion without punishment is one lead by a tyrant law which encourages and legitimizes murder.

So I ask, we ask, how many women must be killed by their fathers, brothers or cousins before we notice that this is not civilized? I ask those concerned to tell me, to tell us, how many women will be killed before the political factions, their leaders and all justice seekers take action. If we knew how many, perhaps we could somehow pay the ransom on our lives.

Mr President, history spares no one, and like history we women will not forget and we will not forgive.

Palestinians write about the steadfastness and courage of our women, they call them the guardian of Palestinian culture; it is nice talk.

While writers write Palestinian courts have passed 70 laws related to the printing of currency; they have not passed a single one on family law or the personal status of women.

Mr President, we are fed up with being fuel. We are fed up with people killing our women and boasting that they put an end to the shame of a family. We are fed up with no one questioning the hollowness of these boasts. We are fed up with explanations of honor.

I - we - are infidels, non believers, in our own feeble society. We are fed up with having a Women’s Affairs Ministry which does not demand each time a woman is killed by her kin a halt to the pagan slaughter of females. We are fed up with our weakness and defeat by a heritage that legalizes our killing.

Mr President, I am writing to you in the name of those being slaughtered every day. I am telling you that silence is complicity.

Mr President, we don’t want to be killed just because we are females deigned to protect the family honor with our flesh. We reject the punishment of women and being labeled as the most criminal and deserving of death.

Mr President, one month after the lie known as “International Women’s Day” we remain grateful that you signed CEDAW as an effort to protect us. But we need more. We need a presidential decree that will tell us and our killers that there will be no more immunity; that a killer is a killer regardless of the sex of his victim.

*** Nahid Abu T’eima is Head of Production at Ma’an Network’s Bethlehem studio; originally from Gaza she now lives and works in the West Bank with her children.

To read original article, go to: