Killed for wanting to live

On April 23d this year a young woman, Maria Barin Aydin, who just had turned 19 was savagely murdered in her flat in Landskrona. She was killed with 107 stabs from two different kitchen knives and a pair of scissors. Maria Barin had as a child been kidnapped and forced to marry in Iraq, was raped there, but succeeded to flee and get back to Sweden. She couldn’t stand the forced marriage. Here she went to upper secondary school and had dreams of becoming a hair dresser. She was a pretty, lively girl, social and loving, but her family didn’t accept her wishes to live a life of her own choosing. In the summer of 2011 Maria Barin turned up in Malmoe, at the association Tänk om! = Reconsider. They are working against honor related violence, crime and abuse. The organisation was started by Newroz Ötünc, a Kurdish woman with her roots in Turkey, but who grew up here in Sweden. Maria Barin was frighetened and sensed that her family would hurt her or even kill her. For several months Maria travelled from Landskrona to Malmoe and recieved their help and company often several times a week. They tried to help the young woman getting a safe house/flat. She participated in the social events arranged by Tänk om!, or just threw herself on their sofa for a nap. She was funny and laughed a lot, but other times her anxiety and fear shone through. Finally she got a flat of her own in Landskrona… Not far away enough from her family. Just a few days before she was murdered she expressed her fear of her family in a taped interview. Now her 17 year old brother is charged in court for murdering his older sister. He denies the charges, and nothing is proven or certain, but the taped interview, the background story and forensic evidence points to the brother. Maria was brutally killed and won’t breathe again. But her name, memory, smile and strong wish to live a life of her own choosing lives on!

In the beginning of May this year I was contacted by Tänk om! and asked to participate in the arrangement of a peaceful commemoration event at Gustav Adolf Square in remembrance of Maria Barin and others who  suffer from honor related oppression and violence, and those who have been killed in the name of family honour. It was a beautiful evening as well as a worthy and moving manifestation.The others and I helped building the stage and carry the signs and torches. Sadly enough Maria Barin didn’t get a worthy burial and some of the staff at Tänk om! have been threatened afterwards. Newroz and the others want to see harder punishments for participating in honor killings and abuse in the name of “family honor”. The awareness is growing in the Swedish society and social authorities, schools, parts of the judicial system have improved their policies. Now we also must see a true acceptance from the families to agree to the choices of young women like Maria Barin Aydin, Fadime Sahindal, Pela Atroshi  and all the others. Let them live, accept them for who they are and let them shape their own lifes!

//Anders Moberg, November 15th 2012

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