There is no honour in a so-called "honour killing."
These horrendous pieces of news reach our eyes and ears all too often, streaming in from media the world over, yet for as many of these horrendous news items that make it to the front pages, there are so many others stories that never see the light of day. The trauma affects only those closely connected to the victim and the world can't share the pain, even if only for a brief, fleeting moment of reading a hastily clicked-away internet screen.
I know these cases exist. I have seen them, or at least their results. A woman lies dead in the street. A man she chose to live her life with was found not far away. Their families, disapproving of their relationship, made an unholy union in order to sever theirs. Calm is restored. At least until the next victim in the cycle finds themselves at the wrong end of a knife or gun or blunt instrument; harbingers of doom; revokers of life; restorers of so-called honour.
The cycle continued. One death led to another, each family seeking the upper hand, the glory. There would be news of a shooting, or a stabbing, or an inexplicable car accident. Then there would be quiet. Sometimes days, sometimes weeks or longer, but still the air was filled with the constant threat of the next retaliation.
We were traveling through one of the tougher parts of town. The roads have more holes and fewer rules, housing is a mish-mash of prefabricated buildings and run-down apartment blocks, street signs and street lights are almost non-existent and the numbering system no better than guesswork.
Only a few days had passed since the last honour killing. The latest in the neverending cycle of deaths that proved nothing except that yet another gun had tried to restore its owner's pride, yet at the same time now made him, or those closest to him, the next likely target. In the darkness, we could see the hazard lights of a car parked a few hundred metres ahead. The driver's door and the rear door directly behind it were both open, and all we could see was a pair of legs sticking out. As he heard us approach, he jumped out.
He was wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts. No shoes, no trousers, no shirt, nothing. As we pulled up behind the car, the first thing we noticed was that he was covered in blood.
"She's in here! I don't know if she's breathing!" It seemed as though the latest victim of honour was in the back of an almost-naked man's car.
We jumped out of the ambulance, grabbed the bed so that we could at least move her into the ambulance and be able to see to start treating whatever gruesome injury was about to reveal itself to us. The man who greeted us jumped over the clots of blood that were lying on the floor by the passenger door and looked as though he was about to faint. He sat back down in the driver's seat with his head between his knees and his hands on his face.
"Just help her. Please. Just help her."
Two steps later, we could see that our victim was no victim at all, sitting as she was, cradling the baby boy that she had just delivered.