Honour killings are an unbelievably tragic topic to most of us. When I say unbelievable, I really mean UNBELIEVABLE. Trying to get my head around how there are people out there, who care so much about family honour, that they would destroy their own family because of it, is unfathomable to me.
12,000 cases of ‘honour-based’ violence have been reported in the UK since 2010, and remember these are only the cases that have been reported. This is why I was so pleased to see BBC Three drama Murdered by my Father covering the topic. Finally! A drama that explores these issues and stories! I was intrigued at how this issue would be portrayed through this drama, would it be realistic? Sensitive? Would it cover the topic in an insightful way, or over exaggerate the Asian culture and make it seem like every British Asian is forced to marry their family’s choice of spouse.
Murdered by my Father was a great watch, interesting and intense, I was at the edge of my seat in some places of the drama, whilst in other parts had my heart stuck in my throat. The story follows British Asian Salma (played by Kiran Sonia Sawar) as she is unwillingly promised to marry someone by her widowed father Shahzad (Adeel Akhtar) has chosen. What I really loved about this drama was the relationship between the father and daughter, it was a loving relationship, Salma’s loss of her mother had brought the family closer together. They share intricate and delicate moments; from Shahzad lovingly placing jewelled hair grips as a gift by Salma’s bedside where she slept, to the way she takes good care of him and her brother on a day to day basis.
However, her freedom and life choices are challenged when she realises she can’t marry the love of her life, the charming Imi (Mawaan Rizwan). It’s suffocating and heartbreaking to think that the people who are meant to protect and care for you, would want to harm and destroy your happiness, all due to their fear of what society would think of the family. It’s irrational, selfish and unfair. But this is why programmes like Murdered by My Father are extremely important to raise awareness, and adjust the next generation of Asians or any culture to help fight against this stubborn mentality of ‘Honour’ violence.
Before I physically watched this drama, I was certain I would find the father a complete villain. However, although I absolutely could never condone his actions, I did empathise with his struggles as a character. I began to see how the father was a product of society and culture. This is why I agree it’s so important for us to raise awareness of this issue in our communities, making sure that there is no support for condoning ‘honour killings’ in any circumstance.
This is a must watch drama, the story is cleverly woven, the way it unpicks the character’s relationships causes it to deliver an angle that tugs at your emotions. The people who commit this violence, like portrayed in the show, may not always be monsters. In some cases they become them, and the fear of the community has a strong part to play, so now how do we support the community to tackle this?
Check out Murdered by My Father on BBC Three IPlayer, I promise it’ll be a powerful and thought-provoking watch.