Detainee Deaths and Honor Killing
NPR has been doing some powerful stories lately.
December 7th, Anne Garrels did a story on honor killings in Iraq. She profiled one young woman, Fatima, a 16-year-old who was kidnapped by unidentified assailants in West Baghdad. The kidnappers threatened to rape and kill Fatima unless her brother quit the Iraqi police force. He did, and Fatima was released, but not, Garrels says, into safety. The mere possibility that she might have been raped was unbearable to her family. They couldn't live with that kind of "disgrace," and in order to preserve their "honor," her cousin Sarhan shot her.
Sarhan, who speaks freely and with seemingly no remorse to Garrels, is chilling. Listen to the report
just to hear him: "She knew the customs, but I don't think she expected we would kill her," he tells Garrels. "She was crying. I saw in her eyes that she thought we would take her in our arms and say, 'Thank god you are safe.' But she got bullets instead."
This is not honor. This is sick. It is such a perversion of justice -- punish the victim not the aggressor. Sarhan admits that this has nothing to do with Islam, that it is tribal custom... in which case, I'm beginning to believe those folks need more Islam!
The second story which really caught my attention was on December 8th, when Daniel Zwerdling told the story of Richard Rust
, a man who wanted to immigrate to the US, and was detained for a security check. Thrown into prison is what that means. While he was there, he had a heart attack, and medical assistance was so delayed he died. Zwerdling chronicles a chilling story of what happened to the men who protested the treatment (or lack there of) of Rust, and follows a trail of would-be-immigrant deaths that is enough to turn anyone's stomach. It's worth listening to, so you can write your senator and ask him what the hell is going on in this country! Send us your poor, indeed!
I long ago became disgusted with the way immigration officials treated simple men and women, innocent men and women, when I tried to help a cello playing friend of mine come from China to the States to get his BA. He had a full scholarship, a host family who had bought him a $10,000 cello because it was too difficult to bring his, a mother, sister and fiancee in Beijing to ensure he would return home, and still they treated him like scum. I suppose he should count himself lucky, since he didn't end up dead like Richard Rust and so many others.
Sigh. Why can't the world be a nicer place?