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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Where's the Honor in Killing a Teen-Age Girl?

I'd heard about honor killings in Iraq and other countries in the region, but it didn't really hit home for me until I saw the recent video on CNN of a 17-year-old girl being stoned and beaten to death in the street while the cops stood there and spectators took pictures with their cell phones.

It turned my stomach. What the hell is wrong with these men? This young girl had apparently committed the sin of falling in love with someone who did not share her particular faith. For that, she was dragged into the street by a mob of men and murdered. Other women have been murdered for the sin of being raped or committing adultery, often by their own family members. Governments have often become accomplices, by not prosecuting or not taking these crimes seriously.

Another factor is that when the U.S. dismantled most of Iraq's legal system, it kept intact Article 130 of the penal code, which vastly reduced sentences for "honor killings" (as little as six months).

The image of this young woman lying in the street in a pool of blood will stay with me for a long time. Her name was Du'a Khalil Aswad. May she rest in peace.

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