Many of you who also read Siouxsie Law may already have been aware of the shocking news that teenagers in Iraq - reportedly an approximate 100 - have been murdered by militia for their mode of dress or their sexuality. Members of the LGBT community and those who wear emo fashions have been targeted. Some have also been reported kidnapped or tortured.
Posters had been seen on streets and cafes in Baghdad containing threats to young people belonging to such groups, according to Gay Middle East. An Iraqi blogger says that the threatening messages told teens that they had four days to change their behaviour.
Eyewitness accounts mention horrific violence being used against the teenagers, including beating them to death with concrete blocks and pushing them from the tops of tall buildings. An LGBT activist claims that five youths who survived the attacks were subsequently murdered as they lay in their hospital beds.
More frightening still is that these attacks are apparently sanctioned by the Iraqi Interior Ministry's community police. The director, Colonel Mushtaq Taleb Muhammadawi, said to the Iraq News Network, "Research and reports on the emo phenomenon has been conducted and shared with the Ministry of Interior which officially approves the measures to eliminate them."
UK newspaper the Guardian says, "Starting last year, mosques and the media both began raising the alarm about youthful immorality, calling the emos deviants and devil worshippers. In early February, somebody began killing people. The net was wide, definitions inexact. Men who seemed effeminate, girls with tattoos or peculiar jewellery, boys with long hair, could all be swept up. The killers like to smash their victims' heads with concrete blocks.
"There is no way to tell how many have died: estimates range from a few dozen to more than 100. Nor is it clear who is responsible. Many of the killings happened in east Baghdad, stronghold of Shia militias such as Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army and Asaib Ahl al-Haq (the League of the Righteous). Neither, though, has claimed responsibility. Iraq's brutal interior ministry issued two statements in February. The first announced official approval to "eliminate" the "satanists". The second, on 29 February, proclaimed a "campaign" to start with a crackdown on stores selling emo fashion."
This blogger (link contains graphic images of the victims, please be warned), who wrote the above-quoted article, has more information on those targeted during the recent attacks - many victims are not what we in the West might think of as 'emo' but were simply sporting hair gel or skinny jeans - and says, "One thing that strikes me in reading about Emos is how much other adolescents target them for bullying in places where the subculture genuinely has flourished, like the US. Emo style (unlike the comparatively hard-edged cynicism of goth) emphasizes open emotional vulnerability coupled with a certain nervy fearlessness in displaying it. You can see how, in a society with repressively stratified gender roles like Iraq or high school, this would be a comprehensive recipe for not fitting in. Boys aren’t supposed to be vulnerable at all; girls would face reprisals from more confidently feminist girls for reveling in their weakness, and from boys for the covert, armored bravery with which they reveal it. Equally, you can see how, for those who feel at odds with those gender straitjackets, Emo would be a way to find a community, and an Archimedean point from which to start saying “no.” No one should slight the heroism in that."
|From Shafaaq News|
Source (another related article worth reading)
In 2008 several hundred people in the city of Queretaro formed a mob and went on an 'emo-bashing' spree. The rioting spread across Mexico, warranting police protection for the youngsters. A video of an emo teen being battered with a brick or rock even ended up on YouTube. The Guardian also mentioned an incident which I was not aware of. Last year in Saudia Arabia emo girls were arrested for 'imitating men'.
It's incredibly distressing that homophobia and alterophobia (fear of 'the other' - that is to say, anything that's different) should lead to such terrible attacks against innocent people - or should I say children - belonging to one of the most harmless modern social groups that exists today. My deepest sympathies are with the families of those who lost their lives to such sickening, senseless violence.