"The Sky isn't evil. Try looking up." The link attached to the preceding quote is to Joss Whedon's post on this very site - approximately four years ago - about the stoning to death of Du'a Khalil Aswad.
Reports vary as far as some of the details surrounding her brutal murder, but one thing is clear from the video footage; people of her own faith stood by and watched and participated, cheering and recording it on their cameraphones as if it were a sporting event rather than a horrific reminder of the shocking brutality which we as human beings are capable of in the service to some abstract concept. What horrible crime had she committed? She was considering converting to the religion of a young man that she had fallen in love with.
On this site we often discuss what some would view as escapist fiction, but which we understand to be a complex study of what it means to be human. We hold these texts and images up to scrutiny and we turn them around as a prism through which we might see ourselves and our world reflected. Maybe the abstraction provides a measure of distance that makes it easier for us to examine that world and in turn make discoveries about it, the people who inhabit it, and our own lives and our place in it. Perhaps it makes it easier to deal with real life horror and tragedy when they come, maybe it helps us to be strong enough to withstand whatever comes and leaves us more determined to stand in opposition to those horrors.
We are, in groups small and large on this site (and within the fandom as a whole), examples of the 'found family' concept that runs through much of Joss's work. We come here to theorize with people who are passionate about his work, certainly, but for so many of us we find something far more valuable. In a community of people with a common interest who come from many different places and cultures and countries and walks of life, we find lifelong friends and spouses and exposure to a diversity of ideas that we may not otherwise have known.
We also find that we have the power to act in favor of the light in a world far too often plagued by darkness. So, as we remember Du'a on this day, let us think about what Joss said in his original post; do something, speak up, act up, write a letter, write an email, write a check. Once or once a month, or once a year... It's our world and we have to work to shape it into something that we are more proud of tomorrow than we are today. It's not enough to cringe at the darkness and turn away; give time, give money, give your voice to a cause that you believe in (or borrow one of ours below). Even raising awareness is a step in the right direction and we hope that this post serves as one such step.
For your consideration:
Stop Honour Killings
Nothing But Red
(please feel free to post additional links and resources in comments)
April 07 2011
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