Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Honor Killings in Iraq

Last weekend I took a long walk with my uncle, who left Iraq in the 70s and never went back. We talked about Iraq, as we often do, and he told me something that surprised me. He said that he had wanted to leave Iraq not because of Saddam or the Ba3ath - he had wanted to leave Iraq since he was in high school, because, he said, Iraqi culture is sick. He said he saw some horrible things in Iraq, and he felt like he was trapped in hell. He told me a story that haunted me for days. In 1966 he was visiting a friend in Daghara, a Shiite town near his home town of Diwaniya. As they sat in his friend's front yard drinking tea, they heard a scream followed by a gun shot nearby. They ran to see a crowd gathered near the body of a young beautiful woman. This young woman was killed because she allegedly fell in love and slept with the wrong man. It turned out her own mother arranged her killing by inviting the murderer to lunch and asked her daughter to serve lunch to him. The poor girl did not realize that the man was there to kill her. After finishing his lunch, he got up and shot her in the head. Evidently, "honor" killings are endemic in our sick culture.

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