Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

In the Name of Honor | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Conventional media outlets hardly covered the tragedy of the Iraqi girl named Dua Khalil Aswad.

Dua’s story is a significant example of the many horrible incidents that take place around us that don’t necessarily become mainstream news.

A quick search on the Internet will yield video footage of Dua, a 17 year-old dark-haired Yazidi Kurdish girl, being thrown to the ground by male members of her family and local religious leaders, who then mercilessly, kick and stone her to death.

The incident was captured on a cell phone camera by one of many who gathered to kill her.

Some threw stones, while others filmed the tragic incident.

The scene looked too violent and confusing to be comprehended.

I wonder what went through the minds of those that filmed Dua as she surrendered to her cruel murderers without the slightest bit of resistance.

Could they have discouraged her murderers?

It is her murderers who shared the footage of her stoning from cell phone to cell phone until it made its way to the internet making it an issue.

Various circumstances surrounded Dua’s ordeal.

The Yazidi girl eloped with a Muslim boy after converting, which enraged her family and relatives. Her family persuaded her to return home convincing her that she had been forgiven. The girl was then ambushed on her way home by a group of up to 1000 men who were waiting for her. She was then brutally killed.

In response to the murder, acts of reprisal took place against her Yazidi denomination, most prominently was the killing of 23 Yazidi workers by fundamentalist gunmen near Mosul.

After that, fundamentalist websites posted pictures of the slain Yazidis with captions encouraging revenge against the so-called “devil-worshippers”. The websites also praised Dua’s faith, assuming that she was killed because of her conversion to Islam.

The fundamentalist even claimed that the Yazidi girl can bee seen rising her forefinger to denote the pronunciation of the Shahada [the testimony of faith] before her death.

Images of the girl’s murder were the exact catalyst needed to fuel the frantic sectarian sentiments.

Dua’s murder went from being a horrible tribal crime into an issue of religious dispute. Websites of both Yazidi and fundamentalist Kurds have become a cyber space battle zone.

But let us return to our main issue—Dua’s tragedy.

Dua is among the dozens of women killed in Iraqi Kurdistan in the name of “honor” using the most horrifying methods including being burned alive.

This is an act of mass-murder that has become a frequent occurrence against many females, which is well documented.

Some regard the practice of honor killings as a ritual that paves way to manhood by reaffirming the tribe’s masculine identity at the expense of a life, in this case Dua’s.

Nobody tried to help Dua or alleviate her pain, but as she was being stoned and kicked, a man came and threw a jacket over the lower half of her body to cover her legs. For them, it is not shameful to cruelly kill a young girl, but it is shameful if her legs are revealed while she suffers unbearable agony.