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Life Series
In the Name of Honour

Kurdish women fight for their rights in Northern Iraq.


A printer-friendly version of this page 24 minutes
Directed by Alex Gabbay
Produced by Television Trust for the Environment
Series Editor: Robert Lamb
Executive Producer: Jenny Richards
Series Producer: Luke Gawin



It's autumn in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq -- and the wedding season is coming to an end. Marriage for most Kurdish brides promises freedom and respectability. But for others, it can bring isolation, cruelty and even death.

This Life program explores how oppression of the minority Kurds in the disputed enclave of north Iraq has unleashed a chain of violence -- often directed at the weakest members of Kurdish society: its women.

A former doctor, Nasik gave up her career to run a shelter for women living under threat of death from their families. "Till now," she says, "hundreds of women have been killed in Iraqi Kurdistan simply because they fell in love, or because they demanded their basic rights -- such as the right to divorce or to be treated as a human being, to go outdoors, to be free to talk to other men."

Beyan is a lawyer fighting to change the laws on justice for women. "A lot of people treat honor like capital," she explains, "and for them, their capital is women and should be guarded closely."

Ironically, one area of Kurdish life where women are most free is the government-backed Peshmerga Force of women soldiers. 31-year-old Rezan, their commander, spent two years in Iraqi prisons, and lost both her brother and fiance to Saddam Hussein's forces. Now she teaches her young recruits to stand up for their rights. "Young women should be active players in tomorrow's society," she says. "I teach them how to look after themselves."

The producer of this program has collected extensive resources at www.tve.org/life/archive/life21main.html

The other titles in the series are:

1. Life: The Story So Far - How the globalized world economy affects ordinary people.

2. Geraldo Off-Line - Globalized economy affects Brazilian factory worker.

3. From Docklands to Dhaka - English MD travels to Bangladesh to improve community health.

4. An Act of Faith: The Phelophepa Health Train - A group of health professionals tours the most deprived regions of South Africa providing care.

5. The Philadelphia Story - Globalized economy affects American jobs.

6. The Boxer - Young male looks to escape Mexican poverty by becoming a boxer in the United States.

7. The Seattle Syndrome - Were the WTO protesters right in their effort to protect workers and the environment from exploitation?

8. The Right to Choose - Women are denied human rights in Ethiopia and northern Nigeria.

9. At the End of a Gun: Women and War - The devastating effect that the civil war in Sri Lanka is having on women.

10. The Summit - The UN General Assembly meets to review progress on social justice worldwide.

11. All Different, All Equal - Examines progress in women's rights globally.

12. India Inhales - Activists combat tobacco companies that target India.

13. The Silver Age - Growing population of elderly worldwide seeks purpose and care.

14. The Cost of Living - AIDS drugs unaffordable in developing countries.

15. The Posse - Rap group in Sao Paulo, Brazil, expresses social problems.

16. Credit Where Credit is Due - Micro-credit organization in Bangladesh provides loans to village poor.

17. Regopstaan's Dream - Bushmen fight to live on ancestral land in South Africa.

18. Untouchable? - The caste system and bonded labor are still alive and well in India.

19. Because They're Worth It - Micro-credit, education, health information, and hope provided to impoverished Chinese.

20. For a Few Pennies More - Iodine deficiency causes health problems in Indonesia.

22. God Among the Children - Community organization works with at-risk youth in Boston.

23. Without Rights - Palestinians are denied human rights.

24. Lost Generations - Poor health and poverty condemn people in India to sub-standard lives.

25. Educating Lucia - The odds are against girls getting an education in Zimbabwe and throughout much of Africa.

26. A-OK? - Examines prospects for Vitamin A distribution programs in Guatemala and Ghana necessary for children's health.

27. Bolivian Blues - Explores the success of new initiative to reduce widespread poverty.

28. The Outsiders - Explores the moral and economic dilemmas that adolescents face in the Ukraine today.

29. The Debt Police - Uganda seeks external debt relief and fights internal corruption.

30. The On-going Story - Final episode examines the international community's commitment to linking social and economic development with human rights.

NOTE: A second series called City Life is now available.



Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2000     Copyright Date: 2000
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-485-0     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-861-8




Reviews
"In the Name of Honour offers a view of honor killings and oppressive patriarchy in contemporary Kurdish society... provide[s] useful insight and context for a very weighted discussion of the issues. Director Alex Gabbay alternates interviews with intimate scenes of everyday life to create a diversified yet focused and effective narrative. The result is a rich, if brief, resource for critical consideration of women's rights. Sounds and imagery that convey the apparent banality and convention of women's daily lifes also capture subtleties and hint at more complex human meanings..."
Aljadid, A Review of Arab Culture and Arts


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In the Name of Honour




Links
www.tve.org/life/archive (Producer's web site)
www.tve.org/life/archive/life21main.html


Awards and Festivals
Middle Eastern Studies Association FilmFest

Subjects
Anthropology
Geography
Global Issues
Globalization
History
Human Rights
Humanities
Iraq
Middle Eastern Studies
Reproductive Rights
Social Justice
Sociology
United Nations
Women's Studies


Related Titles

A Question of Rights
Looks at the state of women's human rights in Ethiopia, Latvia, Jamaica and Fiji.

A Woman's Place - Short Stories
Six short films about women and development by local women directors.

Not The Numbers Game (BBC Version)
The role of women in solving development and population problems worldwide.

Welcome to Womanhood
Efforts to stop female genital mutilation in Uganda.

Till Death Do Us Part
Widows are denied inheritance and property rights in Nigeria.

Rising Above
Vietnamese women build on experiences of war.

Shakuntala Kazmi in India
A low-caste Hindu, Shakuntala Kazmi fights for women's rights.

All Different, All Equal
Examines progress in women's rights globally.

At the End of a Gun
The devastating effect that the civil war in Sri Lanka is having on women.

The Right to Choose
Women are denied human rights in Ethiopia and northern Nigeria.

Paying the Price
John Pilger exposes the devastating effect that UN sanctions had on the children of Iraq during the 1990s.


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