Friday, March 09, 2012

Interior Ministry rushes to change Emo Youth story

We don't like you, so we're going to kill you. But we're apparently too f**ked up to do that normally so we're going to kill you by hitting you in the face and head and all over your body, in fact, with blocks of concrete. As Dan Littauer (Gay Star News) reports this morning, that's one of the ways Iraq's LGBTs, Emos and suspected LGBTs and Emos are being killed -- approximately 100 of them since the start of February. Littauer notes that another popular way of targeting them for death is "pushing [them] off the tops of high buildings." Littauer reports:

The report from the local LGBTQ activist indicates that Jaish Al-Mahdi (Mahdi Army) and Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous) are at least partially responsible for the murders.
An anonymous official in Sadr city’s municipal council affirmed that some people are recruited by extremist armed militias who carry lists stored in their phones with the names of emo youths and LGBTQ people to be murdered.
It has also emerged that some officials are actually behind the killings.
Colonel Mushtaq Taleb Muhammadawi, director of the community police of the Iraqi Interior Ministry, stated on 6 February that they had observed the so-called Satanists and emos. He added that the police have an official approval to eliminate emo people because of their ‘notorious effects’ on the community.
The colonel declared to Iraq News Network that: ‘Research and reports on the emo phenomenon has been conducted and shared with the Ministry of Interior which officially approves the measures to eliminate them.
‘The Ministries of Education and Interior are taking this issue seriously and we have an action plan to “eradicate them”. I will be leading the project myself and we have the necessary permits to access all schools in the capital,’ added the colonel, thus possibly indicating at the very least Iraqi state complicity with the massacres.

Margaret Griffis ( adds, "The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq warns of a surge in anti-gay attacks across Iraq, particularly in Basra and Baghdad. The attacks, which began in early February, have left at least 42 dead, according to the women’s rights group. Militia groups have publicly posted threatening messages and even lists of suspected homosexuals to target. Many of the victims were tortured before their deaths. It is unclear if their deaths went unreported in regular news reports."

As Sheikh writes for Dar Addustour and is, my opinion, becoming one of Iraq's most important columnists. He takes on difficult topics -- corruption, the political crisis, etc -- and does so in a way that speaks for the Iraqi people who are so often not being heard by their government. His most recent column takes on the issue of the attacks on the Emo youth. He notes a lot of the fear is based upon people not knowing what Emo is and that the media can assist in times like these by not falling back on silence but by clarifying what is taking place. He notes the variety of things Emo youth have been confused with -- including Satanists and vampires -- and how that alarms further. He points out that the hair and clothes are styles and the may be momentary fads or something longer lasting. He points out that you don't kill someone ("some young innocent") because you don't like the way they dress and that there is no blessing granted for murdering someone for those sort of reasons.

Meanwhile Kitabat notes that the Interior Ministry is declaring there have been no deaths and this is all a media creation. That would be the same Ministry of Interior that, please note, was declaring earlier this week that Emo was the number one threat to Iraq. Guess someone got the message about how badly this was making Iraq look to the rest of the world? Now the still headless ministry (Nouri never appointed a minister to head it) wants to insist that it is only a small number of Iraqi youth who are even into Emo. The ministry insists that the only truth on the subject of Emo is that which the government tells. But the Parliament's Security and Defense Commission also spoke to the media on Thursday and they spoke of the discovery of 15 corpses of young Iraqis -- Emos or thought to be -- discovered in one Baghdad neighborhood. Activist Hanaa Edwar also speaks of the large number of Iraqi Emo youths being targeted. Al Mada notes the Parliament committee stated that the security forces have failed to protect the Emo youth. Dar Addustour reports that activists Mohammed al-Kazimi has pointed out that the constitution of Iraq guarantees Iraqis the right to freedom of expression and that Emo youth are not unconstitutional.

March 29th, the Arab Summit is supposed to kick off in Baghdad. Al Mada reports that the Sadr bloc is insisting Iraqiya should not raise the issue of the political crisis at the summit. Apparently the Sadr bloc is under the mistaken impression that the Arab neighbors are ignorant of what's been going on in Iraq for months?

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