In honor of Fadime

Fadime Sahindal was a courageous and strong young woman. This is the speech she gave at the Swedish Parliament on November 20, 2001. Just few months later, on January 21, 2002 — Fadime was shot in her head and killed by her own father.

Today, Swedish newspapers report another dramatic killing of a 19-year old Kurdish girl. An honor killing. Ten years after the death of Fadime, Swedish society and authorities sill did not develop an effective strategy to protect young girls under threat by their own families. Feminists in the nordic country seem more interested in defending the right of bathing topless in public swimming pools rather than to support the right to live of young girls.


Swedish multiculturalism enforces a head-in-the-sand doctrine: each community should be free to cultivate its own parallel society. So that the Country may keep busy discussing gender-unbiased use of words, removing paintings featuring male figures from the walls of public offices, and arguing the inalienable right to walk naked down the street. Meanwhile some of their citizens — girls who know only Sweden as their home country, but who are born in ethnically-identified communities — are not free to get higher education and to refuse forced marriage.

Fadime’s speech.

I’m going to talk about how hard it is to be caught between the demands of your family and the demands of society. I want to point out that this is not only about women from the Middle East.

I’m 25 years old and come from a small village in the Turkish part of Kurdistan. I come from a happy family with clear role divisions. When I was 7 years old, my family came to Sweden. They told me not to play with Swedish children, to come straight home from school every day.

My parents thought that school was a good thing as long as you learned to read and write, but that girls didn’t need a higher education. The most important thing was for me to go back to Turkey one day and get married.

But when the time came, I refused because I thought that I was too young. Besides, I wanted to choose my own husband. I told them I wouldn’t go back to Turkey.

For them, my marriage was for the good of the entire family. Even if I didn’t want to get married, it was better for one member of the family to feel disgraced than the whole family. But I considered myself to be a member of Swedish society.

Keep reading on

In honor of Fadime

In honor of Fadime is a book written by Norwegian academic Unni Wikan. The book narrates Fadime’s heartbreaking story through her own eloquent words, along with the testimonies of her father, mother, and two sisters. What unfolds is a tale of courage and betrayal, loyalty and love, power and humiliation, and a nearly unfathomable clash of cultures.

In Honor of Fadime holds profound and timely insights into Islamic culture, but ultimately the heart of this powerful book is Fadime’s courageous and tragic story—and Wikan’s telling of it is riveting.

One response to “In honor of Fadime

  1. Pingback: Kurdish identity | The Incredible Tide·

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