In the comments box to yesterday’s post, the phrase ‘honour killing’ popped up a couple of times. Prophetically enough, yesterday was in fact the very first time an immigrant was sentenced to prison for an honour killing here in Iceland.

The case concerned two Vietnamese men. Last spring, one of them stabbed the other to death at a dinner party. Evidently there was a question of honour – the younger man had not shown the older the requisite amount of respect, according to custom. There was also a substantial amount of alcohol involved. What made this case particularly tragic was that the young man who was murdered was reported to have been very good-natured and gentle, was a hard worker, and extremely well liked by all who knew him. He left behind a pregnant young widow [around 23 years old], plus a toddler.

While this was an ‘honour crime’ in the strictest sense of the word – or at least a crime instigated by some custom that is foreign to most people here – I don’t think the majority of the Icelandic population focused on that aspect. I think to most it was simply an extremely tragic situation, perpetuated by someone who had lost control of himself due to alcohol consumption. It could just as easily have happened between two Icelanders when the drinking got out of hand. After all, if an Icelander calls another Icelander an asshole, and that Icelander turns around and stabs him to death, isn’t that an honour killing, as well?

Perhaps this is naïve. I don’t know. I just know that when I think of ‘honour killing’ I think of those horrific cases where, say, a girl is killed by her brothers for going off with a local [horrific crimes that thankfully we’ve not seen here]. Yet this also revolved around honour and mores different to ours.

Be that as it may, the perpetrator was yesterday sentenced to 16 years in prison, plus hefty compensation payments to the widow and the child. He was sentenced according to the laws of this state, same as anyone else.

One comment yesterday read: ‘Make sure you step on them hard when they start the “honor killings” and the rite-of-passage rape sessions…’ That comment made me shudder inside. Yes, crime is horrible, and some crimes are more horrible than others, yet despite everything I am proud and grateful to live in a society that doesn’t squish people like insects, no matter what their crime; that sentences everyone equally, according to the law of the land.

Ugh, started off terrible with torrential rain mixed with strong winds. By noon the sun was peeking out, but it decided to retreat back to wherever it was and took the wind with it, leaving us with the clouds. Closer to evening we had big juicy snowflakes that melted as soon as they hit the ground. Right now it’s… so dark outside that I can’t see what it’s like. But I can tell you that according to the temps are 2°C and sunrise was at 09.40 and sunset at 16.42.