"Fight for 'just things' in an objective manner" (Rana Husseini)
Rana Husseini spoke to us today, and the quote above was her response to a question by one of our students who asked if Rana had any advice for aspiring journalists.
Rana is an internationally recognized and award winning journalist as well as a human rights defender. She writes for The Jordan Times, where she covers crime. As Rana told us, it was her work covering the murder of a 16-year old girl (in May 1994) that changed her life forever - both as a journalist and as a human rights/women's rights advocate.
After investigating this murder, Rana discovered the extent of so-called "honor crimes", murder and other violence against women in the name of "honor". (This would eventually become the name of her book, "Murder in the name of Honour", 2009) Honor crimes (or "so-called" honor crimes, as Rana emphasizes) are violence against women by family members who seek to "reclaim" family honor. Family members (mostly males) will claim that the family's honor has been lost due to the actions of a girl or woman in the family - e.g., pre-marital sex, pregnancy outside of marriage, or other "crimes of dishonoring the family", as alleged by the men of the family.
We know that violence against women is universal. It is not confined to Arab or Muslim societies. Indeed, Rana found that Jordanian Christians also commit such "honor killings", and we know it happens globally in all cultures. Still, there is a level of acceptance of the killers, and a level of disrespect for the victims, that plagues Jordan. And this has become a major part of Rana's life - both as a journalist and as an activist.
Rana received the Reebok Human Rights Award in 1998, and the Human Rights Watch Award in 2000, both of which for her reporting on violence against women in Jordan. She has received numerous other awards as well (see: http://www.ranahusseini.com/Awards.html)