Last week a film worth-seeing made it into German cinemas: “The stranger” by the German-Turkish producer Feo Aldag.
Once again absolutely outstanding in her performance Sibell Kekilli, just like appearance in “Against the wall”. Despite that I cannot share the opinion of the Spiegel-Journalist who wants to establish Mrs. Kekilli as the typical “Turkish woman” in cinemas just because of her cultural background. It is moreover striking that Mrs. Kekilli also appeared in other artistically challenging movies like “Winter journey” or “The last train” when she acted outside of the German-Turkish cliché and impressed by her talent for acting.
What’s more I wonder if violence against women is a sole Turkish phenomena. Well, the escape into a refuge for battered women like Umay does it in the film should be at least thought-provoking for both, German women and men. Because I doubt it there those shelters have only been established for Turkish women.
We learn that the first asylum for beaten women has been established in 1971 in London. The first German refuge was opened up in 1976 in former West-Berlin. How long ago § 177-179 StGB have been established, a law which condemns rapture in marriages? On October 18th, 1996 the amendment of the penal law to reform sexual offences failed because of the Federal Council’s veto “. Only in may of the ensuing year the Federal Parliament voted for the new law that stipulated that women are protected in case they are raped by their husband.
However Germans quikly decide that honour killings and thus agression against women belong to the Turkish society. Of course this is either a plea for honour killings nor a plea to minimise it. Whoever dares to deal with an academic discourse over the topic beyond any press-clichés should read the books of the well-known ethnologist Werner Schiffauer.
After reading his book “The violence of honour” anybody can make up his mind how much he understood so far of Turkish society and of migrant’s living conditions within Germany.
For the ones who still think that women in Western societies are better off than take a look at this movie “cold land” starring a fulminant acting Charlize Theron.
Appendix of 22.04.2010: A nicely done movie booklet also for use in class can be found on these websites Federal Centre for political education.