Hassan says that he arrived in Britain in 1960. Everything was strange to him as an Arab and a Muslim and from a family from a village in the Levant.
It was not difficult for him to find work, but the cold was unbearable, and the quality of food was more difficult, and communication with the English, despite their gentleness, was not easy because of the language barrier, and the nature of conservative English society.
It seemed to him at the time that he was a classist, adhering to the origins and traditions; however he was respected by the residents of the small area in which he worked as an assistant to the store owner.
The residents of the neighborhood were always dependent on his services after the end of his duty hours in the store because of his multiple professional skills and knowledge of plumbing, watering plants, mowing weeds, cleaning roofs, and even repairing some simple electrical machines, and they were very generous to him.
Also, some housewives sometimes invited him to have a cup of tea with them, and that was an honor and a great concession from them and he sometimes fulfilled some strange requests from them.
After a while, he noticed a chill in the relationship with him, so that the morning greeting became all he heard from the ladies. As for the men, they completely ignored him. He was deeply saddened by their behavior, and he does not remember that something suspicious happened from him, this is in contrast to the effect of that on his monthly income which decreased sharply.
Hassan decided to approach a woman who was once more intimate and asked her about the secret behind the cold relationship. She hesitated before telling him that he should boycott Mrs. Richard because of her misbehavior and that his relationship with her bothers everyone.
Hassan was surprised by her words, as the woman in question was an old woman, and she had never been beautiful, and he used to go to her house to help her in many matters as she had no husband or relatives.
He was often surprised when he remembered that none of the people of the neighborhood used to compliment her with a word or even a greeting, or visit her, but this did not draw his attention.
He asked again more about her, and why the people of the area refused to talk to her, however no one gave an answer. At the Sunday Church, which he used to attend, because of the psychological comfort he felt while inside, he met the priest in private and told him his story. He was surprised by the priest’s answer, who confirmed that she is dishonorable.
Hassan asked: What honor while she is at the age of eighty. He then discovered that honor was not related to sexual issues, or her betrayal of her husband but because she was during the period of World War II (1939-1945) and during the German aerial attacks on British cities, she did not care about instructions and she deliberately lit candles in her home, in clear violation of the government’s orders, which were calling for a complete blackout so that German planes would not identify residential areas.
Hassan was shocked to hear the true meaning of honor which is totally away from genitals. It showed him how different cultures are between peoples. Thousands of girls, the majority of whom are innocent, have paid with their lives during the past decades because of rumors surrounding their behavior.
The reputation of the family or tribe is more important than the life of a girl to discover later that she was an untouched virgin than to keep the confusion about her behavior going on forever.
This insistence of linking honor issues and issues with sexual matters does not make it easy to break free from captivity in light of the deterioration of the level of school curricula, and the leniency of provisions in legal texts in dealing with these issues, and the story of the Kuwaiti girl who was detained by her mother and brother at home, because they doubted her behavior until she died is a good example.
By Ahmad alsarraf