In February of 2012, Iraq's interior ministry drew attention to the "emo" subculture last month, labeling it "Satanism" and ordering a community police force to stamp it out (1). “Emo” is a form of punk music developed in the United States. Fans are known for their distinctive dress, often including tight jeans, T-shirts with logos and distinctive long or spiky haircuts.
As a result, a number of teen-agers, mostly males, have been targeted, attacked, and killed by the vicious act of stoning to death using cinderblocks, bricks, and stones: 'First they throw concrete blocks at the boy's arms, then at his legs, then the final blow is to his head, and if he is not dead then, they start all over again,' one person who managed to escape told Al-Akhbar. The number of teens killed due to the order to "stamp out" the emo sub-culture ranges from 14 to over 90 as of early March 2012.
We must not remain silent while our young brothers and sisters in Iraq are murdered in the most brutal way, simply for wanting to be free to express themselves through their dress, music, thought or speech. There is an implication by the Iraqi regime that "emo" culture is a marker for homosexuality and this is particularly reprehensible; homosexuality is not a crime, and people should be free to love whomever they choose.
1- The Interior Minister must resign and face prosecution for directly provoking the militias to attack and kill (by stoning to death) teen-agers dressed in "emo"- or "western"-style clothing.
2- The Iraqi Government should announce a deadline by which all perpetrators from the militia terrorists to the police responsible for stoning the teens to death are indicted; and
3- The Government of Iraq must publicly acknowledge that universal human rights apply to Iraqi people, including the right to listen to whatever music they want, wear whatever color they want, and have consensual adult sexual relations with whomever they choose.
(1) Source for Ministry of Interior statement: (MS-NBC: http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/10/10634539-iraqi-teens-stoned-to-death-for-wearing-emo-clothes
(2) Other sources for this story:
- Al Arabiya: ‘Emo’ killings in Iraq create different reactions among religious clerics. http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/03/10/199751.html
- BBC: Iraqi 'emo' youths reportedly killed by conservative militias
- Reuters: Iraq militia stone youth for “emo” style http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1144288--iraq-militia-stone-youth-for-emo-style