On the way to the gym last night, I heard a chilling NPR report about honor killings in Iraq. I left class early because I couldn’t concentrate. I kept hearing Rumsfeld’s ridiculous comments about the press ignoring all the “good news” coming out of Iraq.
The NPR report by Anne Garrels, was about Fatima, a 16-year-old who was abducted with a note demanding he quit the Iraqi police or she’d be raped and killed. He quit, Fatima was returned to her family, but not spared. Fatima’s cousin, a law school graduate, pulled the trigger. “She knew the customs, but I don’t think she expected we would kill her. She was crying. It was 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,” he said in the report. The possibility that Fatima could have been raped was enough to kill her. “What really hurt us was people saying, ‘This is a curse on your family.’ Tribal customs demanded that she must be killed so that our honor will be washed, polished.”

According to the report, Iraqi law makes a distinction between murder and so-caled honor killings. If an honor killing case ever makes it to the courtroom, the murderer only serves six months to a year.

What if a man is abducted? “When a man is released, we slaughter sheep and make a party; when a woman is released, it is a disgrace.”

Here’s the report. Please pass it around.

In other “good news” coming out of Iraq, Knight Ridder reports that pregnant women are being forced to have Caesareans because checkpoints make it close to impossible to get anywhere in an emergency.

After curfew there’s even less assurance than there is during the day that Iraqis, who are ordered to stay in their homes after 11 p.m., won’t be killed by mistake. The roads are rife with checkpoints, insurgents and jumpy Iraqi and U.S. soldiers.

Dr. Iman Ibrahim, 38, who works at Saint Raphael, a private hospital in Karrada, in south-central Baghdad, said her pregnant patients came to her afraid. Two of every 10 patients ask for Caesareans to avoid the roads and about half of them ask for labor to be induced during the day.

Most women who can’t afford Caesareans opt to spend nights in the hospital waiting for their babies to push out of their wombs, or they induce labor a few days before their due dates. Some wait for the contractions, then call the police. Ambulances stop running at night.

During the upcoming elections, the roads will be closed for three days. This is what Bush calls progress.

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