Dua Khalil Aswad and the Rest of the World, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Dua Khalil Aswad and the Rest of the World

By Beverly Hicks Burch

In April 2007, something horrific happened. The life of a 17 year old girl was brutally, violently and barbarically snuffed out. She was deemed dishonorable, shameful and criminal, and therefore, according to her judges and jury, she deserved to die. What was her crime you may ask? She loved the wrong person.

This young girl, in the dawn of her life, had a name. She was Dua Khalil Aswad. She lived in northern Iraq in the town of Bashika. She had been born into a small Kurdish minority group called Yezidi. As most teens are want to do, Miss Aswad fell in love…with a boy who was a Sunni Muslim. Reports circulated she had dishonored her family by converting to Islam in order to marry the man she loved. Her boyfriend denied she had converted, but the harm was done and a group of Yezidi men, some her own relatives, decided it was up to them to rectify this travesty.

Even though she had taken shelter in the home of a tribal Kurdish leader, Miss Aswad was dragged from the home by a group of eight to nine men and stoned to death while an even larger, agitated group of men numbering 50 to 100 stood by and watched and videoed the “honor killing” on their cell phones. Now, it seems the area is caught up in retaliatory killings on both sides. Shortly after Miss Aswad was murdered, 23 Yezidi men were dragged off a bus carrying textile workers and killed by Sunni gunman. Now, because of the retaliations the Yezidi are asking for protection from the Iraqi government! I guess they feel they should be protected and are entitled to carry out as many “honor” murders as they like.

Recently, the video of Miss Aswad being stoned to death has been circulating the internet. I have seen it. To say it is a gruesome, violent video is putting it mildly. It sickened and angered me. She was stripped, beaten, kicked, stoned, thrown and tossed around for 30 minutes until she was lifeless and laying in a pool of her own blood. The final blow was dealt when a large cement cinder block was smashed into her head. A local Iraqi security force stood nearby and witnessed the brutal death…they did not intervene. A local village attorney, Neef Shangari told ABC news that Ms Aswad’s death was a simple “tribal and moral incident”. Amnesty International has condemned the act. (See Amnesty International’s press release:

http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE140272007?open&of=ENG-IRQ )

The barbaric video of Ms Aswad’s death was posted on the internet by a Kurdish women’s group who assert that women in Kurdistan and Iraq are oppressed and have little rights and are subjected to subhuman treatment. They are no better then chattel.

This tragic event caused me to reflect on several things.

I recalled reading a book several years ago, entitled Not Without my Daughter, by Betty Mahmoody, an American woman married to an Iranian doctor. This riveting account was made into a movie staring Sally Fields as Ms Mahmoody. I’ve seen the movie and read the book. Believe me, the movie shows a truncated, thimble full version of the agony Ms Mahmoody and her daughter went through after she went with her husband on a trip to visit his family in Tehran. Once in Tehran, Betty was under the thumb of her husband and his family. He refused to go back home to the US and would only allow Betty to leave Iran without their daughter, who was now considered “property” of the father under Islamic law. The child and Betty were now living under the constraints of Islam under the Ayatollah Khomeini. Betty stayed to be near her daughter…Betty knew if she left without her, she would never see her again. The enthralling account of her stay in Iran and her treatment and escape will anger you even more when you realize it is not an isolated situation.

Next, I juxtaposed the honor killing of Dua Khalil Aswad upon a “news” item catching attention in the US…the Paris Hilton goes to jail story…Miss Hilton is a young girl of extreme privilege and near in age to Miss Aswad. Miss Hilton did two things…she drove while drunk and then drove on a suspended license. In both incidents, she evidently felt she should be excused and exempt from paying any consequences for her actions because of her privilege. It was after all, the fault of everybody else that she was in her peccadilloes. “I just wanted to go get a burger”…”My publicist told me it was ok to drive”…blah…blah…blah.

Now, Miss Hilton is taking karate to protect herself in jail, begging the governor for a pardon(!)…yadda…yadda…yadda… If I could speak to Miss Hilton, I would say, “Shut up, you freak! You and your money are not above the law. Take responsibility for you actions. You did the crime, pay the time. And be very thankful you live in the country you do. You’re skanky butt wouldn’t last long in a country like Iraq. Just ask Dua Khalil Aswad.” I’m tired of hearing about Paris…can you tell?

Next, I thought about a clip I saw of The View recently. In the clip, Rosie O’Donnell made the statement that “we”, meaning the USA had killed 655,00 Iraqis since we had “invaded and had been the aggressor” in Iraq. “We” were the terrorist over there and the almost 3,000 people Islamic terrorist had killed on 9/11 did not warrant “us” killing 655,000 Iraqis (that would be equal to over 500 Iraqis dieing each day…2.5% of the population!). Huh?

Where does Ms O’Donnell get her facts? Why is she so angry, bitter and full of vitriol most of the time? And how can Barbara Walters, a bonafide journalist allow her to spew undocumented facts without giving proof and without Ms Walters citing legitimate resources. She permitted Ms O’Donnell to vomit forth conspiracy “facts” such a “we” bombed the Pentagon ourselves on 9/11 to justify future actions the government wanted to take. Huh? Ok, Rosie, can you tell me a tiny little thing? Where is that big ol’ airplane…the fourth airplane that went missing that day…a Boeing 757, the American Airlines Flight 77? And where are all the people that have vanished that day who were on Flight 77? Will Ms Walters next allow Rosie to put forth the conspiracy that a huge UFO is going to beam humans off a big mountain in Montana, crop circles are created by UFOs, that the Bermuda triangle is still active and my microwave will turn my brain into mush?

Rosie gets her “facts” from a French author and conspiracy theorist, Thierry Meyssan and his book, The Frightening Fraud. Meyssan simply asserts that the American government is lying and Flight 77 never existed…therefore, because he says it, it must be true. Huh? Gee, I guess the families of the missing people wished their loved ones had not been on the plane that doesn’t exist. Humm…guess Meyssan forgot there were eyewitnesses who SAW the plane, that surveillance tape caught the impact and fireball and that small pieces of debris from the plane were found outside of the Pentagon. Doh!

http://www.snopes.com/rumors/pentagon.htm

Furthermore for the record: the “we killed 655,000” number Ms O’Donnell uses comes from a study called the Lancet Survey and is the median number of a range the survey suggested. The study has been criticized by many respected researchers (including Sheila M. Bird, MCR Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge UK, Stephen Apfelroth, Dept. of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Epidemiologist Klim McPherson, writing in the British Medical Journal and the Iraqi government) for faulty information gathering and research techniques. The survey based its result on numbers they extrapolated from 47 cluster groups! With that said, even the Lancet Survey attributes only 31% of the casualties they estimated are a result of coalition airstrikes and forces. That’s a far cry from the 655,000 Ms O’Donnell alleges.

In reality, numbers vary from 62,000 – 68,000 in one study or a range of 100,000 – 150,000 (the Iraqi Health Minister). The United Nations estimate is about 65,000. And, the deaths are not all related to coalition forces. Other causes for the death toll that have been mentioned are: criminal gangs, lawlessness, disease, factional fighting, suicide bombings and poor healthcare.

Ms O’Donnell is a vocal critic of her country…and that is her unattested, constitutional right. Stupidity and ignorance are also her right. Rosie should be thankful she lives in the country she does, for if she didn’t, I fear her life would be in danger daily because she is a vocal female and because of her life style choices. Islam does not smile on homosexuality…it is considered an abomination and crime…that is not the “radical” view…that is the standard view as exhibited by the information in the links I’ve provided to research on the subject:

http://www.ichimusai.org/artiklar/islam/islam-homo.html

http://users.drew.edu/rrowley/IslamPerspective.htm

http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2005/04/19/64233 – a Muslim responds to a gay add

http://www.islam101.com/sociology/homosexuality.html

http://www.missionislam.com/knowledge/homosexuality.htm – comprehensive information

In many cases, these references indicate death for the “crime” of homosexuality. Since 1979, at least 4,000 homosexuals have been killed in Iran alone. Why is Ms O’Donnell not crying out against the discrimination and brutality inflicted upon women, homosexuals and minorities in these countries? It is a travesty reminiscent to Nazi Germany.

So, Rosie can spew, malign and hate her country, “right-wingers”, men, Christians and whom ever else she decides. (I’ve never heard any of the aforementioned “villains” even mildly suggest Ms O’Donnell should be stoned.) That is her right. I’m glad she has it. (I use to think Rosie was funny and entertaining. Now, she just seems angry and hostile all the time. Why is that? She has four beautiful children, money out the wazoo, a plum job, and a partner she says she loves and adores. Does that sound like a bad life? Dua Khalil Aswad would have given anything for a chance to have a life like that.) I would advise Rosie, Paris, Brittany, Lindsey and all the other dilettantes and starlets to look at there rights…be thankful for them…and be glad they live in the USA, the freest country in the world…yes, even with all of it’s problems. I wonder if Dua Khalil Aswad wouldn’t trade her fate for a chance to live in the USA? Unfortunately, I’m just afraid Ms O’Donnell and Paris Hilton would not last long in Iraq, Iran or most Islamic states…just ask Dua Khalil Aswad.

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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21 Comments

Filed under "Dua Khalil Aswad", Current events, Honor Killing, News, Paris Hilton, Rosie O'Donnell, Women's Rights

21 responses to “Dua Khalil Aswad and the Rest of the World, by Beverly Hicks Burch

  1. Charlotte

    I too was sickened and angered by the howling demons who converged to horrifically murder one little girl. This sort of murder of females predates Islam, is a part of the nature of ancient middle eastern practices. It happens among pagans, Moslems and Christians. Long ago, it happened among Jews.
    I don’t quite understand dragging Rosie into it. Rosie has read up on the facts, and knows that we have been handed a lie. The ruins of the twin towers (which crumbled in a controlled demolition style within 10 minutes or so) were scooped and sent to China! The entire military stood DOWN for hours while were supposedly under attack! And you don’t question the party line? And you expect thinking people not to question things? Are we that dumbed down that we actually believe creatures like Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and Bush whose lies are so blatant they don’t even bother to hide them!
    The brutality of the middle east is not helped by americans going over there and leaving depleted uranium (would you want your kids to be breathing it?), dropping bombs and ruining their infrastructure. We are not helped by our young people being slaughtered for 30,000 a year and then having the current White House occupant (illegally “elected” not once but twice) cut their benefits. This government cares no more about its own young people than Dua’s family cared about her.

  2. sima

    i cant say anything im a girl from iran when i watch this film i going to sick and the face of little poor girl still is in my mind and i cant forget her little bloody face that going to die for nothing she was so brave girl that i never had seen already she beated and stoned about 30 mins but she was alive .
    i cant forgive those man they are killers they are unhumen if give them to me i stone all of them with rocks . they so cruel. i cant beleave that her parent help those killers how can a father do like that? father and parentsare known by protecting their children and family then how could her cruel father did that?
    i cry many for this nice little girl but beleave that she s alive coz she was a lover and lovers never die. she s alive in our minds and memories and she is be side the kind god and in his arms and sleep so smooth.and i wish those men go to the hell and stone more than her at the hell.
    sleep baby sleep no body can hurt u more.

  3. bamasteelmagnolia

    Sima, thank you for taking the time to read my words about Dua. I’m like you. I was sick to see what happened to her and I get sick to think it could happen and does happen to other girls. I was blessed to grow up and have a father that loved and protected me. I wish every young girl could have the gift of a father like that. We can honor Dua and other girls like her by telling the world about them and by helping to stop this terrible barbaric thing from happening. Rest assure, those men will be judged for what they did to an innocent young girl. God bless you Sima for caring.

  4. sima

    dear bamasteelmagnolia
    thank you too for your caring about this girl and i beleave that people like you can change these terrible stories about girls and i dont know how can i help you in this work.and i dont know how can i help you at in this holy work.
    good luck -sima

  5. Alphonsus

    this world looks just like a very big kindergarten, where children hurt themselves without the feeling of pains impacted on their fellow little victims. so we need teachers to put them unto sanity. these killers obviously happen to be matured men with a kid’s brains. such people are the most dangerous of creatures cos they carry out evil plans as a matter of legitimate convictions or feel completely innocent in a horrible act.

  6. Ian Gordon

    My father brought me up to be a man. By that I mean to defend and care for people who are physically weaker than me, women included. In the past the sight of a coward slapping a woman has driven me to violence in her defence. The idea of a group of cowards collectively beating and killing a young woman makes me sick to my stomach. They are not men. I don’t know what they are.

  7. bamasteelmagnolia

    Ian,

    Yes, unfortunately you’re correct. Most of us have the same response. We value most life, including the defenseless and the thought of the mob mentality beat a young girl to death like this is beyond our imagination.

    The sad fact is…this is not an isolated killing. Honor killings are very common in this part of the world and carry over into immigrant communities in other parts of the world. It appears even education can not stop this beastly tradition.

  8. Laila

    I am too the same religion as that girl and i don’t think one bit that it’s right to do something like that to anybody. It scares me to death when i hear stories like these and i hear about them all the time, some are my friends and some are girls i use to know. It’s so hard for me that i just don’t listen and ignore all the stories but i think it’s time we do something and change the power of men over woman in the middle east. But i wouldn’t dare try to do this by myself cause even though i live in the united stated i could just as easily end up like Dua. It makes me want to crawl into a corner and not care what happens to me because it’ll never change and i’m in it… and there’s no way out.

  9. bamasteelmagnolia

    Laila,

    Please don’t give up because there are people that care! I care or I would have never have written the article about Dua.

    I hope to do a follow-up piece about honor killings…like you mention, they do seem to be more prevalent than people are aware…and in more countries than most people would think. It is a well kept secret that so many women have to suffer like this. This is NOT respect, or love…this is degradation, slavery and demeaning in the worse way.

    Women can be moral and good people without being debased, dehumanized and murdered.

    Laila, bless you sweet heart for caring for your sister and wishing better for their lives…yes, that is a start…I hope we can start a ripple like a rock in a pond so that the waves can be felt many places to help a lot of women…

    Bev

  10. Laila

    to tell you the truth its just different when you’re all alone and everybody’s against you, your friends and family it’s scary. No one ever has the guts to say its wrong and we should do something to stop it. I wouldn’t even know where to start.
    what scares me the most is that most of the woman agree with it and think it’s right.. and that’s what was probably going through Dua’s mind when they killed her(she thought that she deserved it) because it’s so hard not to believe it when everybody thinks that GOD made it a right think to do.. its hard to explain. But it’s messing my life up
    any advise for me?

  11. bamasteelmagnolia

    Laila,

    Find a refugee. Somewhere where you feel safe. Maybe a shelter. If you do this, it may mean you will have to cut ties to what you know.

    That’s what happened to the Said sisters in Texas. They were escaping, breaking free and their father lured them back with the promise of working things out and going to a restaurant. Instead he shot and killed them.

    Not all women believe this way…even Godly women. The sisters’ mother in Texas didn’t believe this way. Women that say they do believe this are usually afraid, resigned to their plight in life and can hope for no better or are brainwashed after years of battering and abuse. Because this is what that is…abuse.

    A true and loving God…THE true and loving God does not condone that or ask for that. Men do a lot of things and disguise it in the name of God…but, that doesn’t make it so.

    Remember seek out a shelter or refugee…especially if you feel like you are in imminent danger.

    Bev

  12. Mistytrick

    I saw the video and read the story and honestly, I didn’t sleep well yesterday!
    Love is the most beautiful feeling one can have in this world, and to be killed for that is just beyond my comprehension!
    I never saw something like this before so i’m realy shocked!
    These are emotionless human beings without any sympathie for women!
    This is for Dua:
    A walk through the park, a sniff of fresh air
    Life is so hard and we don’t even care
    Can love create hate, in this hard little world!?
    This should not be the faith, of a loving young girl!

    This comes right from the heart and I hope she hears it when people read it and knows there are people who do care

  13. bamasteelmagnolia

    It is heart wrenching to have seen the video. It was brutal beyond words.

    Thank you for caring and thank you for stopping by and taking part in the exchange.

    Bev

  14. Laila

    Its scary to look at myself in the mirror and be ashamed because of how much i would shame my family if i do go through with what i have in mind. I love my family to death and i would never do anything to hurt them but thats the only way i can get out. I’m part of something i don’t relate to. Thanks for the advise i really need someone to talk to and get answers from. If i do this i have to go as far away as possible and i know i wont ever see my family again and thats the worst pain a person can feel. am not sure where i will go though and i need time to plan it.. am going away with an American guy and i know he will make me happy.
    … so what do you think??

  15. bamasteelmagnolia

    Laila,

    I know you are at a crossroad in your life. Many people come to that point in their life. They come to a point where they have to make a decision about what will make a better life for themselves.

    For some people, that decision is to stop taking drugs…for others it is to stop habitual drinking or some other destructive behavior habit, lifestyle or to abandon a toxic surrounding.

    Your crossroad is to decide this…you have to decide the kind of life you want, how do you want to achieve it, how do you get there, how to do want to live.

    What would I like to see for you? An confident young lady that can look in the mirror and like herself, respect herself and look forward to her life and take a hold of the opportunities life provides her.

    You have to decide what environment you will thrive best in. I know you love your family, but sometimes their ideas for us can be misguided. Only you can determine what you want your life to become…that is what free will is all about.

    Laila, I do wish you luck and happiness above all.

    Bev

  16. Laila

    Thank you I really needed that to go into my head. I say it to myself all the time but its just me and i might be wrong. I really do think He will make me happy. He does know how dangerous this is for me and he’s very supportive. I wouldn’t leave my family for just anybody it has to be someone worth it and I don’t have any doubts at all about him. I know i say am going to do this but i know for sure I’ll end up not doing it because I’ll be scared or I’ll killed before I get a chance to.

    I still would like to keep in contact with you. Maybe i can give you a phone number?? and you could talk to you that way If it’s ok with you.

    thank you again you have no idea how relieved i feel just from knowing someone else knows what am going through this and to be able to talk about it without being judged. you’re a huge help to me.. Thanks

  17. Arindam Ray

    “We are Human!!!”. We are JACKASS!! We do not raise our voice to protest, we do not raise our hands to protect but we do raise our hands for killing people. We are certainly HUMAN! Please…. please stop terrorism. We have lots of Good things to make, discover or create. We dont need demolition of Innocent Human being. Please….

    Download a picture and take a look at her so beautiful face. Then take a look at her thrashed face. What they did to her sweet cute face!!!!! Those full mad, full b******s, F*****g illiterate satan’s must [ought to] receive pain as they gave her. Iam ashamed of myself for becoming a part of Human Being today.

    Also do read about SORAYA M.
    —————-
    Dont feel shame. Dont feel sorrow. Dont even feel the Pain.

    Just stand united to stop these terrorisms.

    Latest News [Upto Nov 4, 2007]:
    ——————————————–
    A Human-Made Torn Mother:
    —————————————
    As the sun went down and the sandstone tombs cast long shadows over the village cemetery, Badi’aa Aswad threw herself on the mud grave of her 17-year-old daughter, Du’aa, and howled.
    “Come to Mama, Du’aa,” she cried, caressing the plain concrete headstone. “The last thing you told me was that you were hungry. Come home. Let me cook, and feed you.”
    Disturbed by the sobbing, a passer-by offered water in the hope of soothing her. But Aswad screamed that she could not drink a drop.
    “Du’aa is thirsty,” she shrieked, directing the stranger to pour the contents of her water bottle over the dusty grave instead. “Yes, drink my baby, drink my honourable girl, drink some water, light of my eyes.”

    The mentality seems as alien as ever to Du’aa’s mother in her grief. “May they all burn in hell,” she said last week, stroking the end of the grave as if washing her daughter’s feet. “You were a good girl, you were honour itself and I miss you, so please come to me in my dreams, I beg you.”

    The Jackass Killers:
    —————————-
    While Araas is still being held, Uncle Salim and the tribal leader, Hamko, are on the run. Du’aa’s father has named 20 other men as her killers. Nobody told her parents she was dead until the following day. Her two brothers then dug her body out of a rubbish pit for burial in the cemetery, where the grave has been attacked.

    Her Family faces threat:
    ——————————–
    A grenade lobbed into the garden of the family’s home last month shattered windows and left them in no doubt that the community wants them to leave.

    Help:
    ——-
    Please do anything possible for you to stop these “Honour Killing”. These are not just killing, but these are ‘Terrorisms”. Mind that, this is nothing to do with Religion. This is pure illiteracy, misbelief & mostly “Damaged Brains”. We may forget Dua. We may forget her family. We may forget the killing. But how can we forget this terrorism?

    Its Dua’s murder which brought me here. At that time when i saw the video i was really ashamed of myself as a “Human”. Now perhaps Iam not after i found there’s some people really fighting with me. I have limited powers. But still i have mailed a hundred people, telling the murder of Dua. Showed her video. I haven’t for any sympathy from anyone. I didnt asked for help either. I know everyone have their limitations or to them it was just a thriller story! But i really begged them to atleast tell the story or forward the mail which i sent to them, to as many as people possible.

    I’ll feel honoured if you all please stand by my side to stop not only stoning but all the gruesome executions that are taking place through out the world right now. Please let me know if, in any way, i can share your workings to stop these barbaric killings.

    Iam not a believer of GOD. But now a days Iam a believer of Satan [Which i was being forced to believe recently!!].

  18. Char

    Some people blamed Dua’s parents, but her father and mother did try to protect her, did not participate in the murder and did not know of it until the next day–apparently they were under a kind of house arrest. They are risking their lives in pressing charges and demanding that the killers be punished. So I guess at least that ultimate horror–one’s own parents murdering you–was spared Dua. At least her parents were loyal to her and would have protected her.

  19. Char,

    This is information I had yet to hear.

    I had heard her kinsmen were very upset and part of the debacle of her death, so we can only hope and pray her parents didn’t have anything to do with the horror of her last few agonizing moments on this Earth.

    Even a year+ later, this is an event that still continues to grip the world’s heart and soul.

    I only wish this had been and would be the last of such killings anywhere!

    Thanks for your comment and thanks for stopping by…

    Bev

  20. Char

    The Aswad family is under severe stress. Some reports said her brother was seen in the demon mob, but that’s doubtful since her brothers dug her up and reburied her the next day. Probably it was a cousin misidentified. One Kurdish woman rights worker said there was a boy about 14 who looked horrified at what was happening. If her brother was there, maybe that was he.
    Her father has named 20 men as guilty. In an interview in a Kurdish paper he said that his brothers prevailed because they were older. In a later interview, near the year anniversary of his daughter’s murder, he said there was “nothing wrong” with his daughter loving a Muslim youth. The forensic records did show she was virgin, but that did not matter to her killers. Dua’s father’s attitude is an unusual attitude for his people. One thing that has struck me about this terrible story is the unusualness of Dua’s immediate family. The relative tolerance and humanity of her parents perhaps allowed her to think that others would see things that way. I feel so sorry for her immediate family. Dua is beyond pain now, but her parents are suffering terribly.
    http://www.blogsofwar.com/2007/05/18/four-arrested-in-dua-khalil-honor-killing/

  21. shazia

    I came to know of this incident in september after the qahtaniya bombings. I saw the video and couldn’t go to sleep. It still sickens my heart when i remember this incident, i wonder how her mother bears this pain, i hope she hasn’t seen the videos….. I think if the iraqi/US govt. in Iraq had caught the killers and brought them to justice in an exemplary fashion, it wouldn’t only have cooled the wave of violence between muslims and yezidis but it would also have given a sense of security to the women in the area. May the killer mob rot in hell fire for all eternity, i want to personally stone each one of them.

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