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Khalida Brohi is a leading voice against the practice of honor killings in her home country of Pakistan. She has started foundations to empower Pakistani women to get educations, earn their own incomes, and improve their lives.
I’m ashamed to say that I had never heard of her before reading her memoir.
I was a bit familiar with the practice of honor killings and was of course appalled by them. The patriarch of a family apparently has complete discretion to order a woman in the family to be killed if she brings dishonor on the family. In the examples in the book, this usually comes about when a “woman” (usually barely past puberty) decides to run away with a man who hasn’t been chosen for her by her elders. It seems to be common for girls to be promised in marriage to other families at incredibly young ages, sometimes even before birth. The girls aren’t allowed any voice in the matter.
When Ms. Brohi’s cousin is the victim of an honor killing, Khalida launches a crusade to change things in Pakistan. Her road isn’t easy. Her parents educated her and encouraged her but even they sometimes struggled with her choices, especially when her activism brought dangerous attention her way.
Young women like Khalida Brohi and Malala Yousafzai are where my hope for our future lies. They have overcome such immense challenges to cause such amazing changes. Khalida sees what is good in her culture and shares that here but she’s trying to effect change to make the terrible parts better. She has learned the importance of working within her cultural framework; change that is too fast or radical doesn’t garner the support that it needs and just upsets everyone.
Never doubt that one person can change the world; Khalida is one person who is doing it.
If you liked I Should Have Honor, you might also like my reviews of
- I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, read by Cassandra Campbell
- Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
Buy I Should Have Honor from Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC.