Rad Geek People's Daily

official state media for a secessionist republic of one

Why We Fight

So that moderate cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani can exercise his God-given right to organize anti-gay death squads:

[Fourteen-year-old boy] Ahmed Khalil was shot at point-blank range after being accosted by men in police uniforms, according to his neighbours in the al-Dura area of Baghdad.

Campaign groups have warned of a surge in homophobic killings by state security services and religious militias following an anti-gay and anti-lesbian fatwa issued by Iraq’s most prominent Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

… Neighbours in al-Dura district say Ahmed’s father was arrested and interrogated two days before his son’s murder by police who demanded to know about Ahmed’s sexual activities. It is believed Ahmed slept with men for money to support his poverty-stricken family, who have fled the area fearing further reprisals.

The killing of Ahmed is one of a series of alleged homophobic murders. There is mounting evidence that fundamentalists have infiltrated government security forces to commit homophobic murders while wearing police uniforms.

Human rights groups are particularly concerned that the Sadr and Badr militias, both Shia, have stepped up their attacks on the gay community after a string of religious rulings, since the US-led invasion, calling for the eradication of homosexuals.

Grand Ayatollah Sistani recently issued a fatwa on his website calling for the execution of gays in the worst, most severe way.

The powerful Badr militia acts as the military wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which counts Ayatollah Sistani as its spiritual leader. Another fatwa from the late and much revered Ayatollah Abul Qassim Khoei allows followers to kill gays with a sword, or burn him alive, or tie his hands and feet and hurl him down from a high place.

Mr Hili said: According to our contacts in Baghdad, the Iraqi police have been heavily infiltrated by the Shia paramilitary Badr Corps.

Mr Hili, whose Abu Nawas group has close links with clandestine gay activists inside Iraq, said US coalition forces are unwilling to try and tackle the rising tide of homophobic attacks. They just don’t want to upset the Iraqi government by bringing up the taboo of homosexuality even though homophobic murders have intensified, he said.

A number of public homophobic murders by the Badr militia have terrified Iraq’s gay community.Last September, Hayder Faiek, a transsexual, was burnt to death by Badr militias in the main street of Baghdad’s al-Karada district. In January, suspected militants shot another gay man in the back of the head.

The US State Department has yet to document the surge in its annual human rights reports. Iraq’s neighbours, however, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are often criticised for their persecution of gays.

Darla Jordan, from the US State Department said: The US government continues to work closely with our Iraqi partners to ensure the protection of human rights and the safety of all Iraqi citizens.

— Jerome Taylor, Independent (2006-05-05): Iraqi police killed 14-year-old boy for being homosexual

Please bear in mind, if you are in the United States, that your money has been taken from you by force, in order to make you pay for the arms and the training for this police force. Please also bear in mind, if you are in the United States, that the polite functionaries and well-dressed men and women who have collaborated with al-Sistani, who are now turning a blind eye to this and covering it over with some diplomatic words in the name of nation-building, are also pretending to do so in your name and with your authorization.

You need to understand that anger and facile sarcasm are the way that I make it through the newspapers these days without collapsing into tears.

engraving: a ghastly skeleton, robed and crowned, holds a sceptre and a polished glass with the words, THE MIRROUR WHICH FLATTERS NOT

Further reading:

11 replies to Why We Fight Use a feed to Follow replies to this article

  1. Victoria Marinelli

    What do you want to bet that the men who used this boy in prostitution are cut from the same cloth as those who would later execute him for “his” “crime”?

    And don’t even get me started on the whole presumption-of-sexual-identity thing when it comes to prostituted kids, which just serves to falsely validate the notion that kids enter into this voluntarily, that it’s about their “orientation.” Yes, gay youth are disproportionately targeted for abuse in prostitution, but it’s still not about them – it’s about the men who think it’s acceptable to exploit (and then handily dispose of) such youth.

    As for the “collapsing into tears” bit, I certainly understand. But still, grief can serve as some life-sustaining fuel. Without the capacity for grief, we can’t have compassion, and without compassion, we’re inexorably lost.

    So, while a virtual box of tissues offered by a complete stranger isn’t much, I extend it anyway, with the notion that there’s collective strength in each facet of the exchange – from the reporters who bring stories like these to light, to minds like yours which bring others’ attention to same, to the rest of us who are reached in the process. Keep up the good work.

  2. Dain

    On the one hand, the US is the only power with the ability to use overwhelming force and terror to make Iraq secure enough to be a relatively safe environment for those that were (or seem to have been) – I hate to say it – somewhat better off under Saddam: gays, christians, secularists.

    But on the other hand, the same overwhelming force and terror would be anathema to any libertarian notions of right and wrong.

    This whole situation is a nightmare.

  3. Sergio Méndez

    Making a parody of a famous colombian movie

    “There you have your fucking democratic and secular irak”

  4. Sam Haque

    Dain is correct to point out that prior to US occupation, Iraq was the most secular of the Arab states. However, he is very wrong to that there some sort of conundrum as to whether the US should use its influence to make things safer for gays in Iraq. The answer is no. It’s the sort of thinking that created the mess in the first place. What would happen is that gays would be indentified with the US occupation and subsequently targeted by insurgent groups.

    Also it’s worth pointing out that the distinction between moderate clerics vs radical clerics has nothing to do religion so much as whether they are collaborating with the US occupation or actively opposing it. The ones who are are actually serious about ending the occupation as quickly as possible, such as Al-Sadr, are branded “radical” by the US media whereas collaborators such as Sistani are “moderate”.

  5. Dain

    Sam, good points. I was caught up in imagining that the US in Iraq would or could be akin to Jacobins imposing liberalism – corrupt and bastardized though it be – on Iraqis. For example, IF the US were to make Iraq safer for gays, and they were subsequently targeted, the US in response would (or could) make penalties even more severe for gay bashers.

    Yet the whole “the US will bring liberalism and modernity to Iraq” is straight out of the playbook of Enlightenment era imperialism, no doubt, recasting imperialists as harbingers of universal values rather than narrow, selfish interests.

    Though I didn’t support the war, fears of Iraq sliding even further into chaos and backtracking on any modicum of liberalism and secularism is what some fear would happen if the US withdraws now.

    I myself support a withdrawal, as the continuing and unavoidable catastrophe of violence and occupation by US forces is unbearable, but I understand the concern of those that fear for Iraq’s minorities.

  6. Joshua Lyle

    Re: Dain While I share concerns about the efficacy of terror and overwhelming force in protecting targeted groups in Iraq, I think the question of moral justification is not so clearly impossible given libertarian ethics.

    The problem hinges on the degree to which one may properly use force in self-defense. If a cleric orders my death, would it not be in my moral action horizon to kill him in addition to those that come armed to my door? And if I have that right, could I not assign it to a greater power that it might be more effectively carried out?

  7. Dain

    Joshua, you have a very cogent point. But in the messy world of post war foreign occupation, the right of a targeted group or individual to pass off their protection to a greater power – in this case the US military – often involves “negative externalities”.

    The checkpoints, house-to-house searches and frequent shootouts would punish (and ARE punishing) too many Iraqi innocents in the process of protecting the safety of minorities. The US of course has no policy to protect gays, but if it did the above scenario would undoubtedly occur.

    Heck, I’m all for rogue, yet hopefully sane and honest, US soldiers being paid under the table by wealthy western liberals to seek out and destroy fundamentalist gay bashing a-holes.

  8. Joshua Lyle

    Re: Dain

    I concur.

    Let me know if there’s a fund I can send my $20 to.

  9. Sam Haque

    (Dain) I’m all for rogue, yet hopefully sane and honest, US soldiers being paid under the table by wealthy western liberals to seek out and destroy fundamentalist gay bashing a-holes.

    Again, it’s unclear that this would make life safer for gays since it would be evident why clerics were being targeted even if it wasn’t clear who was doing the killing. Not only that, in martydom clerics have a tendency to achieve a moral authority beyond anything they had in life. Instead of isolated incidents, there could be widespread reprisal killings of gays similar to what was inflicted upon the Shia once US forces started targeting Sunni clerics affiliated with the insurgency.

    (Josh) The problem hinges on the degree to which one may properly use force in self-defense. If a cleric orders my death, would it not be in my moral action horizon to kill him in addition to those that come armed to my door? And if I have that right, could I not assign it to a greater power that it might be more effectively carried out?

    Killing in self defense is just a normal human behavior like eating and sleeping and not subject to questions of morality. It requires that the probability you will die be dramatically reduced should you engage in killing yourself. However, this almost never the case, and it is not the case in Iraq. The situation is that occupation forces have taken for themselves the role of guardians by and large without the consent of those who they are ostensibly protecting.

  10. Joshua Lyle

    Re: Sam Haque I do not disagree with your assessment of the occupation of Iraq, nor did I intend to imply that my hypothetical was actualized in that situation.

  11. Rad Geek

    Dain:

    I think you are being too charitable. The war planners have made it quite clear that they don’t give a damn about protecting the innocent. Just as they have been doing in Afghanistan before this, they have coddled, negotiated with, trained, and armed the very worst elements they could find so long as those were willing collaborators with the occupation. This as part of a deliberate strategy to seek a stable and pro-Western government, which they have defined as success for democracy and human rights. They have failed catastrophically even at that, of course, but it was pretty clear from the get-go, given whom they have chosen to work with, that this nation was going to be built on the backs of a lot of innocent people, and the masters of war would have no problem passing it off with an indifferent shrug.

    Of course, even if their motives were better than they were, you are right that the necessary means would still be intolerable evils inflicted on innocent third parties.

    Sam Haque:

    The situation is that occupation forces have taken for themselves the role of guardians by and large without the consent of those who they are ostensibly protecting.

    True, and it’s not just Iraq, either. That’s as concise an explanation as you could give of what governments do for a living, always and everywhere.

    Victoria:

    Thank you. I agree with you about the need for grief, and for compassion. If anything, I’m trying to apologize for not having anything more useful to offer here than bitter polemical sarcasm in response to this horror. Ahmed Khalil, Hayder Faiek, and all the others devoured by this horrible war deserve better than that. I just wish I had the words for it.

Post a reply

By:
Your e-mail address will not be published.
You can register for an account and sign in to verify your identity and avoid spam traps.
Reply

Use Markdown syntax for formatting. *emphasis* = emphasis, **strong** = strong, [link](http://xyz.com) = link,
> block quote to quote blocks of text.

This form is for public comments. Consult About: Comments for policies and copyright details.

Anticopyright. This was written in 2006 by Rad Geek. Feel free to reprint if you like it. This machine kills intellectual monopolists.