Sunday, April 26, 2009

Iraqi Women Treated Worse Than Mad Dogs

Story from The Los Angeles Times: (Photo credit: Alaa al-Marjani / Associated Press A poster at a Najaf rally reads “Stop violence against women.”) In Iraq, a story of rape, shame and 'honor killing' Alaa al-Marjani / Associated Press After prison guards assaulted an Iraqi woman, she turned to her brother for help. But he — and society — failed her. By Tina Susman and Caesar Ahmed April 23, 2009 Reporting from Baghdad -- Sometimes, it's the forbidden stories, the ones people are afraid to tell in full, the ones that emerge only in fragments, that reveal the truth about a place.This is such a story. It's being told now not because the complete truth is known, but because the story nags at those familiar with its outlines, and because it says as much about Iraq's progress as it does about Iraq's resistance to change. This much is known: A young woman imprisoned in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, sent a letter to her brother last summer, appealing for help. The woman, named Dalal, wrote that she was pregnant after being raped by prison guards. The brother asked to visit her. Guards obliged. The brother walked into her cell, drew a gun and shot his visibly pregnant sister dead. His goal: to spare his family the taint of a pregnancy out of wedlock, a disgrace in Iraq often averted through so-called honor killings of women by their relatives. For prison guards, the killing was also a relief. "They believed that her death would end the case," said a lab worker at Baghdad's central morgue, where the victim's body -- still carrying the 5-month-old fetus -- was sent. The case might have ended there were it not for the morgue employee, who was determined to see those responsible held to account. At the employee's insistence, lab workers using freshly acquired DNA-testing equipment drew a sample from the fetus. The prison guards were ordered to submit DNA samples and did so, apparently unaware of the sophistication of the morgue equipment and the people trained to use it. "They thought we were incapable of figuring it out," said the morgue employee. The DNA results showed that the father of the unborn baby was a police lieutenant colonel who reportedly supervised guards at the prison. In another society, the scientific evidence would have led to arrests and prosecution. But this being Iraq, the power wielded by men in uniform and the belief that a raped woman is better off dead combined to cloud the truth. Months passed after word leaked of the killing on a sweltering summer day. Just as it nagged at the morgue worker, it nagged at us. But how to tell a story that nobody wants told? Everyone had different, usually conflicting, versions of what had happened. Only the morgue worker's story remained the same, repeated in phone calls and e-mails as summer turned to fall and then winter. Then, it was time for one of us to leave Iraq. A colleague asked what the reporter's final story would be. There must be one after so long in the country, he insisted. "Isn't there a story that got away?" he asked. It became clear that this was it, even if we still didn't know the truth. About the only thing anyone agrees on is that a young woman was murdered, and that her last days were spent pregnant and worrying about what would happen if she were released into a society that would condemn her for it. According to a judge in the Tikrit court, the lieutenant colonel implicated by DNA and a police captain also accused in the case were arrested on rape charges but then released for lack of evidence. [LACK OF EVIDENCE? AS IF THE DNA EVIDENCE DID NOT EXIST!] The judge said a third defendant, a police lieutenant, remained in custody. (It is not uncommon in Iraq for police officers to serve as prison guards and supervisors.) Another Tikrit court official said the lieutenant colonel and captain remained in custody but were transferred from Tikrit to Baghdad. Col. Hatem Thabit, spokesman for the police in Salahuddin province, where the crime was committed, concurred with this account. Yet other accounts say the matter was settled through tribal justice. The clan of the accused lieutenant colonel paid the woman's family to drop charges, said some people in the area who are familiar with the case but fearful of discussing it openly. The morgue worker said those involved in the lab testing understood that all three of the police officers were freed. "I heard the dispute was solved by a tribal ransom," the employee said. "The issue bothers me a lot. I'm doing my job, and the bad guys are getting back on the street." There are conflicting reports on the brother's status. Some say he was jailed for killing his sister. Others say he was freed as part of the tribal deal. As for the slain woman, several accounts say she was in prison not because she was a convicted or accused criminal, but because police wanted to question her brother about something. They thought he would turn himself in to free Dalal. Nobody has been able to explain why police wanted to talk to the brother. The prison where she was held houses mainly men. There is a small section for female inmates, usually no more than a few at a time. A female guard is supposed to watch over them. No one could explain how the lieutenant colonel was able to do what he did. Nor could anyone say how Dalal's brother got into her cell with a loaded gun. "He was supposed to be searched," said Thabit, the police spokesman. "Where he got the weapon, we don't know." In Iraq, violence against women is a festering but rarely addressed problem. There are no readily available statistics on "honor" killings. The number of rapes reported to police averages five to 10 per month for the entire country, said an official at Baghdad's central morgue, who released the first details of the Tikrit case last summer. "The actual number of rapes is actually more than we know. There are so many rapes in the prisons, for example," he added before going on to cite the Tikrit case to an Iraqi working for The Times. Realizing he was discussing a case not intended for public consumption, the official urged the reporter not to translate the facts for his English-speaking colleague. But minutes later, another morgue official and then the lab worker confirmed the case. All asked not to be identified for fear of losing their jobs. Other workers interviewed during a daylong visit to the morgue, where rape victims are examined, said they had detected an increase in violent crimes against women since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion ushered in a religious conservatism and brought social and economic upheaval. [Oh yeah, blame everything on the Americans, not the cock-eyed culture where male beastiality is taught as the preferred way to have sex over having intercourse with a human woman]. Most are honor killings, said one morgue employee, who a day earlier had received the body of a pregnant woman with her throat slit. Human rights advocates say many of these homicides are made to look like honor killings to gain leniency for the perpetrators. "It's a lot worse now," said Ibtisam Hamody Azzawi, a former engineer who runs a small aid organization for abused women from her home in Baghdad. "Our society witnessed so much war, and this is reflected in the domestic abuse situation."Everything is violence. Even the kids love war," said Azzawi, whose husband, a university dean, was killed by extremists in 2007. [Baloney! This is a direct reflection of a religion that teaches and perpetuates intense hatred for and fear of females]. Much of her time is spent answering knocks on her door or phone calls from women looking for an escape from abusive homes. People find her by word of mouth. She does not tell her neighbors what she does, lest extremists attack her or one of her daughters. [Okay, reporters - how do you think you are protecting this woman by publishing her full name and city of residence in the newspaper? Do you not think Iraqi extremists have access to the internet? DUH! When she and/or her daughers are targeted and killed, will you feel any blood guilt?] Iraq has no shelters for battered or threatened women, and the war has splintered and displaced families who might have taken in female relatives. Amid the turmoil, homicide has become an easy out for husbands wanting to end their marriages, Azzawi said. It's cheaper than divorce. "Women get killed, but often it is reported that they are missing," she said. "It's all part of the chaos. Some husbands kill their wives and say maybe she was kidnapped, maybe she died in a bombing." A husband and wife will have domestic problems. All of a sudden, the wife will disappear. "At the women's prison in Tikrit, Saturday is visiting day. On a summer Saturday, a brother came to see his sister, her stomach swelling with her unborn child. She trusted him. Tina Susman recently returned to the U.S. after a two-year tour in Iraq. Times staff writers Usama Redha and Ned Parker in Baghdad, and special correspondents in Samarra and Tikrit contributed to this report.
This is what the religion of Allah teaches: Women are not human beings. Women are worth less than mad dogs and can be exterminated with impunity. Muslim men prefer to have sex with goats and camels rather than women, because women are unclean. A follower of Allah can kill a woman, even a pregnant woman, with no consequences. Kill a woman, it's cheaper than divorcing her. Kill your daughter, kill your sister, who has been raped, and let the rapist go free with no punishment. No one will care - but maybe you can get some money out of the rapist's clan and buy yourself a flat-screen HDTV and satellite reception for a month or two.


JohnnyHank said...

The treatment of women in Iraq is barbaric, but I think you veer off into some oddball dangerous thinking when you claim Islam teaches such behavior is ok.
This is what the religion of Jesus teaches:

"A shameless woman shall be counted as a dog; but she that is shamefaced will fear the Lord." (Eccles.26:25)

"For from garments cometh a moth, and from women wickedness. Better is the churlishness of a man than a courteous woman, a woman, I say, which bringeth shame and reproach." (Eccles. 42:13-14)

"When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her." (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)

"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." (I Corinthians 11:3)

"Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go." (Judges 19:24-25)

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." (I Corinthians 14:34-35)

"Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up." (Hosea 13:16)

The problem is not the religion itself, but the political application of the faith. If the Bible were literally codified into law, there would be some pretty barbaric things allowed to happen to women here too.

Jan said...


Most people in the modern world realize that the crap you cited from the Bible is just that - bullshit! Any man tried to treat me and most women in the western world that way he'd get smacked upside his head AND slapped with a law suit for sexual discrimination.

Christ did not discriminate against females or treat them like dogs, either before - or after - his death. The "elect" referred to in the Bible who are supposedly to share immortal life with Christ in Heaven are both females and males, not just males. The kind of foolish thinking that Christ was trying to overturn by establishing a few simple but profound principles to live by was, unfortunately, undermined by Paul and his misogynistic baloney (and others of Paul's ilk) who infiltrated the early church after Christ's death. But if it hadn't been Paul some other ass would have come along and taught the same crap. It's very sad that some men think so little of themselves that they have to denigrate 51% of the population in order to try to puff themselves up. It's even worse when men who do know better deliberately use sexual discrimination as a tool to achieve their own ends.

Eventually, that kind of man will fall, and their teachings with them. You say my thinking veers toward the oddball and dangerous. I suppose it does sometimes. You haven't lived my life.

The thinking that is really dangerous is that which teaches men it is all right to rape women and men to "teach them the fear of God." That is going on in Iran right now. You can read all about it at Nico Pitney's blog at the Hufington Post.

Why aren't the Mullahs from other countries speaking out against this? They seem to have no problems condemning the decadent West - what's that Christ said - first remove the beam from your own eye and then you can clearly see the mote in mine. Think I'm pissed off about what's going on in Iran and that shit that Islam condones in the name of God? You betcha.

Anonymous said...

Instead of arrogant females, and their emasculated 'supporters', CONSTANTLY ignoring/ridiculing/denying what the religious texts say about, and to, them...they should actually start to realise WHY they constantly say these things about them, and actually start to be good, real, WOMEN.

Just spurning the judgement, criticism and warnings given you is NOT an excuse.

So many women float along presuming their looks and higher 'status' will excuse all that they do.
Well, you've got to realise that being beautiful does not make everything that you do, beautiful.

Trying to piss around making false claims about how the religious texts have been "interpreted" is a cowardly and arrogant ploy.

You should start to realise WHY the Holy Books condemn so many women so strongly!


Jan said...

Dear Anonymous Scott,

I thank Goddess every day that I was born in the USA. We have our problems and issues to deal with here as a nation, but at least we are free to express ourselves and work freely for a living. You don't like what I say - that's fine with me. I think what you said sucks, but you have the right to say it too. With a not to the Goddess Liberty, fully appreciating the irony, I'm publishing your comment so whoever reads it can draw their own conclusions about you, Mr. Anonymous Scott.

Ta, darling.

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