Honor

I am reading a book by Amin Maalouf called Samarkand, it's storyline happens during the end of Abbasid period and the rise of the Ottoman one. There are a few words I read about honor and thought they reflect so much about how some of us think of honor today, here they are:

"What a strange clan those Abbasids are! Their ancestors conquered the best half of the world, they built the most flourishing cities and just look at them today! I take their empire and they put up with that, I take their capital and they are happy, they shower me with presents and the Prince of Believers says to me, 'I give you all the lands which God has given to me and I place in your hands all the believers whose fate He has entrusted to me.'  He begs me to put his palace, his person and his harem under my protection. However, if I ask for his daughter he rises up and wishes to defend his honor. Is the only territory for which the sultan is ready to fight the thighs of a virgin?"

Then there is a whole movie about "strength and honor", I'm talking about Gladiator. About the time when war was about strength and honor. About a warrior who became a slave, then a gladiator and never lost strength or honor. About the time when honor had a true meaning, when honor did really mean something. When honor was fought for and more important than anything else, even life itself.

I compare the two meanings of honor and I find it impossible to believe they mean the same thing. It's not about the time though, it's about the people. Today, we see people of both types, people who care for nothing but a woman's virginity, and people who are ready to die for true honor for their families, communities, countries and ideals. The difference is huge between both, the difference in personality, in awareness, in nature in many things that I won't get to here. The thing is this: imagine being ruled by a person who sees honor as the Abbasid Calif in the book, it will result in the same thing explained by the words above. Same thing with a smaller community, same thing with a family and so on. So just before we talk about honor today, let's define it first, which type are we talking about?

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