Karen Tintori

Karen Tintori knew she'd be a writer from age twelve. As a child, she walked ten blocks to the public library, checked out as many books as she could carry between her interlocked fingers and her chin, read them quickly and returned for another stack.

Before she was 13, she'd read the entire children's section and bristled when the librarians would not permit her to borrow books from the adult section until she was of age. Patience was a lesson she'd begin to learn early--the librarians invited her, instead, to re-read the children's section.  

Is your book club reading one of Karen's books? Feel free to drop her a note to arrange a phone or Skype call to join your group's discussion. Karen loves hearing from her readers, enjoys traveling to meet them, and welcomes speaking invitations. 



La Sonnambula and a Day of Remembrance for Du'a Khalil

Amina’s tragedy is that she is a sleepwalker and our la sonnambula sleepwalks into the room at the inn occupied by the count, who hasn’t as yet disclosed his identity to the villagers. Although he is tempted to avail himself of Amina’s charms, he exercises self control and leaves the inn before she tucks herself into the chaise in his room -- where she is discovered asleep in her nightgown the next morning by the villagers, who have guessed the count’s identity and come to pay homage.

Convinced she has dishonored herself and their love, Elvino breaks the engagement with bitter words.

How interesting that my first encounter with this opera be juxtaposed with the day of remembrance for Du’a Khalil which fell the following day, April 7, 2008.  Du’a -- the young Kurdish art student murdered by her male family members, who decreed that she had dishonored her family by romantic interest in a local shopkeeper and stoned her to death while the male villagers watched and filmed it on their cell phones on April 7, 2007.

Even the police did nothing to help her as she lay splayed on the ground trying to protect her head, partially disrobed by her attackers, who kicked and pummeled her with cinder blocks until they'd split open her head.

The villagers in Bellini’s opera went in unison to the count begging that he speak  out for Amina -- to admit to Elvino if she had dishonored their betrothal or to speak up to protect her if she had not.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in an opera, and young women like Du’a do not get off with merely being spurned, and they do not get to live happily ever after the way Amina eventually did once her honor was upheld by the count -- and only after she'd sleepwalked in front of the entire village, bereft and weeping that her fiance had unfairly accused her of dishonor and was about to marry another.

I cried for Amina that Sunday in the opera house, and I cried for Du’a and for my great-aunt, Frances, and for the 5,000 women the U.N. estimates are murdered every year by their male family members over real or perceived infractions against family "honor."

My most fervent wish is for an end to this barbaric form of murder, and for humanitarians everywhere to raise their voices in a chorus of support for the victims and to demand basic human rights for the Du’as of the world.

The victims’ voices -- their screams -- are silenced. We must remember our sisters and, in their memory, work for an end to so-called honor killings. And then all the sleepwalkers, all the young women who cannot sleep, but lie awake each night in fear, can finally slumber safely and dream sweet dreams.