Back in September of 2003, a young woman by the name of Shafilea Ahmed was murdered by her parents, Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed, for the mere fact that she refused to marry a man whom they had arranged a marriage with. The sad part is that she was just one of over 5,000 women worldwide who have been victims of “honor” killings, where young adults like Shafilea are murdered by their family members due to the fact that they refuse to enter an arranged marriage. In many cultures and religions the act of refusal is a sign of dishonor toward the family, in turn causing these ridiculous acts of violence to be committed.
Since Shafilea was killed in 2003, 141 other women have lost their lives due to these killings. In honor of Shafilea, who was brutally suffocated with a plastic bag by her parents in front of her siblings, a charity organization called Karma Nirvana has set up a clever campaign to raise awareness of these tragic killings, as well as raise donations to help support victims of forced marriages. In doing so, they took to Twitter with a request for people to tweet with the hashtag #RememberShafilea, which in turn “enabled” a 3D printer to print out a sculpture of the deceased Shafilea.
“For the Annual Day of Memory our aim was to counter this dark intention by using plastic in a positive way, to restore Shafilea’s memory and create a memorial in her honour, and in honour of the 141 other women and girls who have lost to their lives to ‘honour’ violence since her death,” Karma Nirvana explained. “The thousands of tweets in support enabled a 3D printer to build the sculpture to ensure her memory lives on and that the victims of honour killings are never forgotten.”
The Karma Nirvana website, with the help of Leo Burnett, allowed people to watch as the sculpture was 3D printed before their eyes yesterday, on the U.K. National Day of Memory for victims of these honor killings. Tweets with the #RememberShafilea hashtag went viral on Twitter and even became one of the trending topics, as the peaks in activity caused the printer to 3D print the sculpture. July 14th has been deemed the date chosen for this day of memory, due to the fact that it would have been Shafilea’s birthday.
While Shafilea’s parents have been sentenced to 25 years each in prison, this hasn’t stopped many more honor killings from taking place. Hopefully with more awareness being brought to these horrific crimes, more will be done to help prevent these horrible acts from taking place in the future.
What do you think about this unique method of 3D printing used to raise awareness and funding for the memory of Shafilea and other women who have fallen victim to such killings? Discuss in the #RememberShafilea forum thread on 3DPB.com. Watch the video in full below.