Last week a wonderful woman was murdered in her sleep by her husband in Jordan, shot in the head several times at point blank range. The perpetrator upon arrest claimed that a local “magician” told him that his wife had been enchanted, and he had to kill her before she killed him.
The death of Reema, mother of three, would have gone unnoticed like many other crimes happening in the region. If not for the emotional and gut wrenching tribute of her blogger nephew. The blogosphere went crazy, retweets abound, polls, petitions… the whole thing. Reema turned into a poster child for women whose husbands treat them like possessions, of the dangers of primitive witchcraft, and of plain old stupidity.
Amateur psychology geeks, did you catch it? How about if I told you the family said the husband has a history of mental illness? This story is fishy from the start, I mean we all know classic sorcerer tricks, hjabs, put stuff in food, jump over the entrance and such. Which psychotic sorcerer would ask someone to murder his wife! For no motive! I mean the guy will point back to him. Speaking of which, why is he not under arrest yet!
The husband’s statement of “I killed her because she was going to kill me” makes the case too powerful to dismiss. Ladies and gentlemen, we have very possibly a tragic case of neglected Paranoid Schizophrenia. A relatively complicated disease, it is characterized by two major symptoms: the delusion that people are out to kill him (it may be random like spies or aliens, or close people like brothers, friends, or in this case, his wife. The stories can get very elaborate), and auditory hallucinations, voices talking with him, telling him what to do. The mysterious sheikh may have been in his mind all along.
I’m not saying psychosis is the only explanation. It may also sound ridiculous to people who know the man. But for a kid behind a laptop hundreds of kilometres away, it sounds pretty viable. I guess we’ll know once the psych results are back.
Regardless, the situation doesn’t change the woman was abused all the time, and died in a violent manner. This is still the tragic story of the Arab female. The only angle changed is the perps, us. We denied a mentally ill person treatment, acted as he is perfectly normal, wed him to an innocent girl, putting her and potential children in grave danger (you have no idea how easily those three angels could have been killed as well), when the situation got obviously much worse, we opted the abused woman stay at home with a madman, rather than “break the family”.
Our family based society is supposed to be built in a way that we have a good base, people who will have our backs when we are in danger, take us out of harm’s way. We sacrifice so much of our personal freedom for that. It’s when those mechanisms malfunction, work to hurt us instead of help, that we should look deeper into who we are.