Main content

In the Name of Honour

Life - In the Name of Honour
It's autumn in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq -- and the wedding season is coming to an end. Marriage for most Kurdish brides promises freedom and respectability. But for others, it can bring isolation, cruelty and even death.

This Life program explores how oppression of the minority Kurds in the disputed enclave of north Iraq has unleashed a chain of violence -- often directed at the weakest members of Kurdish society: its women.

A former doctor, Nasik gave up her career to run a shelter for women living under threat of death from their families. 'Till now,' she says, 'hundreds of women have been killed in Iraqi Kurdistan simply because they fell in love, or because they demanded their basic rights -- such as the right to divorce or to be treated as a human being, to go outdoors, to be free to talk to other men.'

Beyan is a lawyer fighting to change the laws on justice for women. 'A lot of people treat honor like capital,' she explains, 'and for them, their capital is women and should be guarded closely.'

Ironically, one area of Kurdish life where women are most free is the government-backed Peshmerga Force of women soldiers. 31-year-old Rezan, their commander, spent two years in Iraqi prisons, and lost both her brother and fiance to Saddam Hussein's forces. Now she teaches her young recruits to stand up for their rights. 'Young women should be active players in tomorrow's society,' she says. 'I teach them how to look after themselves.'

'In the Name of Honour offers a view of honor killings and oppressive patriarchy in contemporary Kurdish society... provide[s] useful insight and context for a very weighted discussion of the issues. Director Alex Gabbay alternates interviews with intimate scenes of everyday life to create a diversified yet focused and effective narrative. The result is a rich, if brief, resource for critical consideration of women's rights. Sounds and imagery that convey the apparent banality and convention of women's daily lifes also capture subtleties and hint at more complex human meanings...' Aljadid, A Review of Arab Culture and Arts


Main credits

Gabbay, Alex (film producer)
Gabbay, Alex (film director)
Gabbay, Alex (editor of moving image work)
Gawin, Luke (film producer)
Richards, Jenny (film producer)
Lamb, Robert (editor of moving image work)
Atkins, Rachel (narrator)

Other credits

Editor, Alex Gabbay; executive producer, Jenny Richards; series producer, Luke Gawin; series editor, Robert Lamb.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Global Issues
Human Rights
Middle Eastern Studies
Reproductive Rights
Social Justice
United Nations
Women's Studies


; "In the Name of Honour"; Bullfrog Films