Friday, August 03, 2012

Friday Night Music - Scottish Honour Killing I

One of the few things I agree with Andy Newman about is his defence of the average Ibrahim in the mosque, when faced with liberal accusations that Muslim culture is homophobic and sexist to a wholly unprecedented and outrageous extent.

After all, Ibrahim's views on homosexuals ('punish them'), adulterers ('punish them'), a woman's place (in the home raising kids), abortion (murder) and 'loose' women from another culture (use them) would have struck a chord with most Brits, and pretty much all male Brits, in "Elder Days Before the Fall" - the Fall being the 60's Cultural Revolution.

Where I differ with Andy is that, like Dave Osler, he sees Muslim immigrants as instruments to fulfil his political ends rather than rational actors with ideas and ends of their own  - the ostensible end in Andy's case being the strengthening of the British working class to the point where the downfall of capitalism is a realistic prospect. How's that project going, Andy? Are the UK working class stronger or weaker than in pre-diverse days?  And how are the capitalists doing relative to the workers - better or worse? Really? How odd. You'd have thought all that diversity would have strengthened the movement no end, wouldn't you? It must just be a coincidence that Andy and the Institute of Directors are of one mind when it comes to the desirability of mass immigration.  

I digress. And I mustn't push the parallel between Muslim immigrants and antediluvian Brits too far. Slaughtering one's daughter for bringing dishonour on the family was never a part of that lost Brit culture. Even the modern leftie slanders against the family whose daughter "got into trouble" turn out to have been greatly exaggerated.

Save perhaps in the one part of the UK, a couple of hundred years back, where the mores of the Punjab (and even more the NW Frontier) would have been quite understood - the Highlands of Scotland before the Forty-Five. As Thomas Macaulay put it :

"He would have found that life was governed by a code of morality and honour widely different from that which is established in peaceful and prosperous societies. He would have learned that a stab in the back, or a shot from behind a fragment of rock, were approved modes of taking satisfaction for insults. He would have heard men relate boastfully how they or their fathers had wreaked on hereditary enemies in a neighbouring valley such vengeance as would have made old soldiers of the Thirty Years' War shudder. He would have found that robbery was held to be a calling, not merely innocent, but honourable. He would have seen, wherever he turned ... that disposition to throw on the weaker sex the heaviest part of manual labour, which are characteristic of savages. He would have been struck by the spectacle of athletic men basking in the sun, angling for salmon, or taking aim at grouse, while their aged mothers, their pregnant wives, their tender daughters, were reaping the scanty harvest of oats.

And yet ... it was true that the Highlander had few scruples about shedding the blood of an enemy: but it was not less true that he had high notions of the duty of observing faith to allies and hospitality to guests."

It may just be a coincidence, but the only traditional British song I know where a daughter is killed for damaging the family honour is from Aberdeenshire. It's also beautifully sung here by the late Ray Fisher :

"Oh, father, mother, sisters all,
Why sae cruel to your Annie?
My heart was broken first by love,
Now my brither's broke my body"


Mark said...

This blog has always been educational, Laban, but your last two posts have done wonders for my musical education, and make me regret the fact that I'm unacquainted with so much of the treasure chest that is traditional British music.

Being a bit of a weather nerd I'd hitherto known of Fyvie Castle just as a recording station that often registers the lowest UK temperature in a given period (or, more rarely, when the Aberdeenshire fohn blows, the highest). Henceforth I'll associate it with this haunting song.

Bob-B said...

Here is another Scottish honour killing:

Bob-B said...

Here is more on the same song:

BenSix said...

Beautiful performance. Sad to note that Fisher died just before I'd got the chance to listen to her work.

cheap umrah packages said...

I really impressed after read this because of some quality work and informative thoughts. I have bookmark this page and after work I read interesting things to update myself and to refresh my mind. I just wanna say thanks for the writer and wish you all the best for coming.

Cheap flights To Harare said...

I was very happy that I discovered this website. I needed to thank you for this excellent information. I have bookmark this page and after work I read interesting things to update myself and to refresh my mind.