Wednesday, May 02, 2007


"We need a redefinition of the Kurdish identity; we need a civic Kurdish identity based on respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, not the rule of mobs."
~ Behrooz Shojai.

Houzan Mahmoud speaks out on the recent murder of Doa Khalil Aswad:

Once again the murderers of women in Kurdistan in Iraq have committed a crime. This incident, however, was uniquely barbaric. On April 7, 2007, Doa - a sweet, 17-year-old girl - was dragged out in broad daylight and publicly stoned to death. This girl's "crime" was to fall in love with an Arab Muslim man. Doa herself had a background in the Kurdish Yazidi faith. Thus, according to the bigoted values of this belief system, she was not allowed to marry someone from outside her "tribe and religious sect".

Reports suggest that Doa had left her family home three months earlier, to live with the man she loved. She gave up her religion, ethnic identity and even her family to go and share love, passion and her life with another. This was a brave decision. She took it in a heavily religious and patriarchal society that considers women as private possessions and inferior sub-humans.

Men of the Yazidi faith in Bashiqa, near Mosel, organised the handover of Doa from the place where she was secretly living with her boyfriend. They gathered in a crowd of nearly 1,000 men, at the scene of the planned execution.

They dragged her out and tore her skirt in order to shame and humiliate her. Men pushed her to the ground and kicked her in the back and stomach. Others repeatedly battered her head with a large stone. Her face was covered in blood and - despite her state of shock - she cried out for help. Not one of these men had enough humanity to step in and prevent this outrage. They became a pack of angry monsters.

In fact, hundreds of them celebrated. They whistled and some filmed her grisly death, to be uploaded later. She was stoned, kicked and battered until she died in agony. And as her sweet heart - full of life and love - stopped beating, these men rejoiced in the cleansing of the "shame" from the supposed honour of Yazidis.

Read the rest.

The KRG has also condemned the murder. At Kurdish Globe, Behrooz Shojai asks if there will be mob rule or rule of law:

The Kurdish media were silent for a long time after the incident; only when non-Kurdish fundamentalists and foreign organizations began discussing the issue did the media come forward to discuss what happened in Behzane.

The authorities used their own well-tried methods, namely finding a solution through the Elders. Mir Tehsin Beg, the prince of the Yazidi community, is one example. All solutions are welcome, of course, when it is necessary to calm society in such situations, but these solutions will ultimately be short-lived. The foundation of violence against women, particularly the collectively sanctioned violence against them, must be destroyed. For that, we need more than mediation by respected authorities. We need a change of the social context that paves the way for this kind of violence.

[ . . . ]

. . . Settling social problems by top-to-bottom methods is not enough. We have to change the mentality of the society; we have to tackle society's approach concerning human rights and democracy. Those changes must come from the bottom and be thoroughly worked out by the civil society.

[ . . . ]

We need a redefinition of the Kurdish identity; we need a civic Kurdish identity based on respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, not the rule of mobs.

One might also ask if the reason the KRG finally issued a condemnation of the murder is also because "non-Kurdish fundamentalists and foreign organizations began discussing the issue." I would add that it's not enough that this be a problem addressed by women's organizations because it is not simply a "women's problem." It is a domestic problem and a societal problem, which means that everyone, including men, are involved and must fight for change.

On April, 22, 24 Yezidi factory workers were murdered in Mûsil aas were 2 Yezidi police. It's interesting, and possibly another sign of denial by authorities, that when Yezidi workers were threatened in Hewlêr, the authorities dismissed the threatening mob as "anarchists," a stupid claim to be sure since anarchists don't generally engage in religious nutcase behavior.

By the end of April, Yezidis attacked a KDP headquarters in Khana Sor and Jazira during a demonstration against the treatment of Yezidi workers in Hewlêr, Dihok, and Zaxo. The claim about these Yezidis is that they are Ba'athist.

It looks like there are certain interests groups with a political axe to grind here and they have so far exploited old prejudices that span political and religious affiliation, and that makes Behrooz Shojai's call for changing the mentality of society, tackling issues of human rights and democracy, and creating a "Kurdish identity based on respect for human rights, democracy and rule of law" even more urgent. It's no longer enough to have a leadership that mouths the platitudes of democracy and human rights; it's time to get down to the difficult work of enforcing those values with an iron fist, if necessary.

Lo and behold, Stephen Hadley is in the news. You might remember him from a Rastî post in mid-January. Today, the dirty Hadley has been assigned the job of finding a "War Czar". Lukery has a link to the original NY Times article, and he thinks it reads like good old-fashioned propaganda . . . which it does. In fact, it's downright nauseating.

The reason that I even bring this up is because the Bush Administration has been searching for a "War Czar" since about mid-April, with no luck. At the time, a "military analyst" at MSNBC labeled the idea of "War Czar" as "another harebrained scheme" which, indeed, it is. As the analyst points out, there's already supposed to be a "War Czar," and he's usually called the Secretary of Defense. But I guess Gates is staying out of the kitchen because he can't stand the heat.

The WaPo ran an article, saying "3 generals spurn the position of war "czar." Think Progress noted that the White House was going about the "War Czar" job search "quietly." Yeah, I guess so; it's kinda embarrassin' when the Secretary of Defense can't do his job.

Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan's comment on the matter was pretty illuminating: "The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going. ... So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks.'"

Now, let's note right here that Lockheed Martin's Joseph Ralston was one of the three generals originally approached to become "War Czar". I guess Lockheed Martin didn't think that it would be a good business move for Ralston to take the White House up on the offer. After all, he's done so well selling all those tactical fighter aircraft to Turkey since his appointment as "special envoy" to "coordinate the PKK" for Turkey.

So much for "War Czar" stupidity.

For a lefty analysis of Turkey's most recent post-modern coup, check a little something at Lenin's Tomb. He makes a remark that more people in the West should make:

Turkey is precisely not a secular state, since the state crushes religious freedom on the one hand, and seeks to appropriate and regulate religion on the other.

Correct. All you have to do is read the Turkish constitution. Or read "Cannibal Democracies", and then read the commentaries on "Cannibal Democracies".

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