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