Rafia Zakaria in The Nation:
On an April morning 10 years ago, I set out to speak at the Indiana General Assembly. I was a graduate student then, green and greedy for any sort of opportunity that would lift me above all of the other sharp and competitive students in the political-science department at Indiana University. The invitation fit that bill grandly, even though I’d been given only some vague guidelines regarding the topic of my speech. I learned soon enough when I was greeted warmly by the very nice state representative who had asked me to come. “Just speak for a few minutes about your work on honor killings,” she whispered with a smile. The venue was not the Assembly itself, but a luncheon for the Women’s Caucus of the Indiana House of Representatives.
I did speak about honor killings that afternoon, after I received a tour of the Statehouse, stood beneath the hushed and high rotunda, and had my picture taken with my host, the two of us standing by the flag behind the podium. I spoke about the work my small organization of expat Pakistani-American women was doing on the issue, of the cruelty of the crime and the helplessness of the victims. It was the first time I had spoken on the issue for a mainly white and exclusively American audience—and a largely conservative one. There was raucous applause when I was done. A resolution officially commending my work on honor killings in South Asia was passed. I received it in the mail and had it framed.
Ten years later, I can barely look at it. A miserable mix of remorse, guilt, and shame follows when I force myself to do so or to recount the moment it commemorates.