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.

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17 Comments on “Victims”

  1. أمنية Says:

    last month i met this angelic-like beauty young woman and was heart broken to see such a beautiful woman running from a store to store to earn her living, to support her little girl so her first husband wouldn’t take her.
    she got married to a young handsome doctor working in kwt- arranged marriage- who was every girl’s ultimate dream. it turned out that the doctor had some mental hallecuation that he also believed that his bride wanted to kill him .and he – in the honey moon- woke her up during the mid of night with a knife in his hand wanting to kill her. she hardly escaped and fled back to syr.
    the girl got divorced and had to get married to the first man who knocked on the door, after she was the best men’s dream- and now working to support herself , her daughter,and her poor husband.
    another story, my friend’s sister got married to a man whose majesty was unable to bring children and sexually disabled. though he knew about it. he and his family kept it a secret coz they “wanted their son to give it a try”.!
    and still lots of other stories.

    • Rand Says:

      Oh my God such sad stories!
      Again, I think the parents are key factor in these problems, to some parents, the daughter getting married is a priority, even if it means her moving from a stable happy life to the unknown, my favorite mom-advice is the one that said “if he’s not taking you to a better life than the one you’re living now, why would you go?”

      The guy from the second story and his parents are selfish people who don’t mind ruining an innocent girl’s life just for their son to “try”. They’re an example of many people who put their own interest over anyone else’s and don’t mind hurting others to get where they want. I really hate to say that someday these people will learn the hard way that what they’re doing is wrong.

      • seleucid Says:

        Oh Rand… you always know what I mean :’)

      • أمنية Says:

        “if he’s not taking you to a better life than the one you’re living now, why would you go?”
        coz there would always be this fear of spending your life alone . there would always be this fear of reaching this point where you feel not able of supporting yourself financially or phsycologically .
        after spending a good amount of time with single girls in their 40’s , and because of this society, i don’t wish for any girl to spend her life unmarried.
        i might sound like grandma , but things are shitty.
        i actually stopped wandering how would any girl agree to do this or throw herslef in the unknown, this fear would push the girl to marry the devil maybe.
        and just pray that he would turn out to be an angel.

    • seleucid Says:

      With the “one shot to try” rule society has on female relationships, I’m surprised how people get the courage to get married at all, nonetheless with a total stranger.

      I will post about this, probably my next one.

  2. blabbrgirl Says:

    I feel so bad for the children suffering the consequences of the broken home, not only is their mom gone, she was brutally murdered by their father, who will now either rot in prison or a mental institute.

    If the man was a schizophrenic this must be a very advanced stage of the illness, so I guess a crime is better than a mental illness in our society.

    very well said.

    • seleucid Says:

      Welcome! And yes, this “sitra” thing we are doing is selfish and counterproductive. It’s a time we had a generation not so pathetically rooted in denial

  3. So so sad. Those poor children have lost the only chance of normalcy they may have had. Watch the legal system hand them over to the husband’s family.

    • seleucid Says:

      woops, didn’t think of that…. hmmm

      • aboosh Says:

        That was actually what the family of the father were pushing for.

        The family of Reema (my Aunt) has requested that her kids remain in the custody of her sisters. They have place that request with Queen Rania’s office when she visited Mastaba last month. The Legal procedure is in place now to make sure that they are permanently assigned to their mom’s family, and cut the ties with the father.

        Thank you for this blog post and for the follow up reaction. I truly appreciate your effort.

      • seleucid Says:

        Do you disagree?

        I really hope the best for the kids. Thank God they have a loving community to take them out of this tragedy, keep them strong.

      • aboosh Says:

        I definitely do not disagree. These are my cousins, and I want them to have a decent life after this tragedy has struck my family. I do want them with their mom’s sisters and be forever blocked away from the influence of their dad’s family.

  4. solangehere Says:

    thank you for the post. Europe= 1 in 4 women abused. USA= 1 in 3 women abused.This is a world problem, not only an Arab problem. Too many people close the eyes to abuse until and unless they see injury or death. Those are the final stages of abuse.
    The children will probably not receive any psychological care even though most mental illness has genetic factor. #SocietyFAIL

    • you’re absolutely correct. The problem of abuse is a global one in the geographic and demographic sense… men, women, children, the elderly, all facets of society are facing this cancer. Damage control style psychological care is the tip of the iceberg … these children have already been raised in a culture of violence long before their mother’s brutal murder. They need immediate removal from the families that have stood by and watched this long term abuse that only culminated with murder. Teaching a child healthy love and affection is an enormous task.

      • solangehere Says:

        mental illness as psychopath,manic depression , or schizophrenia are not healed or prevented by “teaching children love and affection”. First, parents and neighbors must stop being in denial about little susie loner. or boy joe full of energy and fantasies. Second, society has to ACT. Medicate , institutionalize even your neighbor’s son. do it before he kills your daughter. Children are not property to be dealt with as only parents wish. they are a part of society that will become as a cancer if the impairments are not excised or treated. Treatment can be medication or inpatient not
        ” psychological-tip-of-iceberg-style.” THINK it is called “family violence” sounds friendly compared to “violence”. Violence begets violence. Crazy breeds crazy. why not sterilize crazies like in medieval times?

  5. Murkyone Says:

    Different story but same sad ending, as it is the case with the stories about the social life in Arab societies. Do you think we will be able to change these twisted standards on which they rely on in making decisions? No matter how many of us want the change but don’t think it’ll happen any time soon, sadly but most of the Arab mentality is being rooted in the brains of the new borns ever since their day one. We are many, but not enough to make a difference.. but nonetheless, this is my personal opinion.

  6. Abdo Says:

    well, we are a society that is driven by superstitions,not by science. in a society where science has a higher priority , such a person would probably had been introduced to doctor to examine his mental sate and based on that, his relatives could had been kept away from him. but u know, in our society it is a SHAME to seek psychological help, but of couuurse it is not a SHAME to seek old stupid superstitions or to to ask religious(superstitions) authorities about our sexual life and TV programs and TOM &JERRY !
    So it is sad , but nothing is weired concerning this crime , it is the logical reaction from a sick person in a sick society.

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