Sunday, June 04, 2006

War and Ethics: Gunning Down Unarmed Women

Even in war, there is a code of ethics that should be followed. Whether this war exists between American soldiers and the insurgency, criminals and their Iraqi/non-Iraqi hostages, or some unknown force and the thousands of gunned down Iraqi civilians, this code of ethics in nonexistant in Iraq.

On the one hand, we have the case of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians who get caught in the middle, sometimes deliberately and sometimes by mistake. The case of Haditha, all over the American media now, is sadly not news in Baghdad, except that such a situation is finally getting covered by the American media with such frenzy. If you take a look at most Iraqi bloggers and their sites, they make no mention of the Haditha affair. Why? Because thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens have been killed by American soldiers since the start of the war, and thousands of homes have been damaged and thousands of innocents have been jailed. Every day you hear of men, women and children killed and/or shot while driving somewhere, or while sitting in their homes. As my husband's cousin was saying around the dinner table this past Friday, 'What's the big deal with Haditha? Why is this massacre getting such coverage and attention?'
Undoubtedly, there are some differences between this massacre and others, running from the deliberate shooting of unarmed women and children, to catching this evidence on tape. But here in Baghdad, this massacre in not top news.

What is top news here is a growing trend to gun down unarmed women in public. Some new force out there in the streets of crazy Amiriya has decided that it is NOT okay for women to drive, use cell phones or walk uncovered in public, but it IS okay to assassinate these women in broad daylight, in front of anyone unlucky enough to be around at the time.
About two weeks ago, Iraqi bloggers started reporting news that leaflets were being left in certain neighborhoods in the Amiriya district with 'guidelines' for staying alive, including no cell phone use in public for women and no goatee wearing for men.

Today, I got a call from our Amiriya relatives. Cousin 'I', whose Shiite father went into hiding about a month ago (see May 7th post), was telling me why she hadn't been able to go out yesterday to buy some earrings for her new baby. While her mother (my husband's aunt) and I's husband were at her medical clinic yesterday afternoon, they heard a loud commotion in the street. I's husband, M, ran outside to lend a possible hand.
He found one woman in a 'Khaleeji' style abaya dead with a bullet hole to her head, and heard that another woman walking with her had run away from the assassins. Unfortunately, they caught up with her and she was also killed. No one knew why these women were targeted, nor by whom. Their bodies were left for American soldiers to pick up in a bodybag and send to the city morgue.

Again, it has sadly become normal to hear of such killings in broad daylight with no guilty party captured or questioned. But that the targeted ones have become women is a new and horrific situation. In all cultures, through out time, in war and peace, there has remained a code of honor that the killing of women is to be avoided at all costs. We hear of soldiers who find that they are fighting a woman in disguise, and refuse to kill her, though she fights them. In Islamic history, we know that the Prophet (saaws) warned his men not to kill any civilians, no women, children or monks in their monastaries.
And yet, here, we have a growing situation where women do not feel safe anymore; and I'm not talking about on the battlefield, but in their own homes and cities.

It continually pains me to see the utter chaos that has engulfed Iraq, where a man or woman walking in the street is killed in front of others, and his killers get away, with no worry of being captured or questioned. It pains me to see that this merciless killing has gotten even more merciless, if that is possible, targeting women, for God knows what reason. It pains me that bystanders watch these crimes happen, and are powerless to do anything about it. And it pains me that human life has lost its meaning, its honor and its dignity.


aea #2 said...

wow. subhannallah. Then what's your reason for staying there!!???

Halla said...

oh my God!!! How can anyone call the Iraqi's living in a free democracy when they are living in hell!! That is so scary!

f.d.rahman said...

Jazaaki Allahu Khairan for the post, Fatima.. it really brought me to tears. It makes it more painful thinking that nothing can be done.. and seeing how things are becoming harder and harder every day puts it all in perspective.. I don't know if I can see that future that we all once dreamt of what Iraq would become anymore..

Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping us informed. Sadly our own media is doing a very poor job of that.

Please keep safe and well.

Hatice said...

" Or do ye think that ye shall enter the Garden (of Bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: "When (will come) the help of Allah" ah! verily, the help of Allah is (always) near!"
"and Verily, After great hardship will come relief. Verily, After great hardship will come relief"
Hang in there and stick with the righteous.

Riot Starter said...

"In the land of the killers, a sinner's mind is a sanctum"...

I love Munich said...

What a nightmare!!! Is there no chance you'll get out? What a life if you don't know in the morning if in the evening you will see your family again or be in a bodybag in the morgue ... what a disaster!!!

moi said...

As much as I think that nothing will surprise me anymore with regards to Iraq, my theory is constantly disproved. Any attempt to even rationalize such dispicable acts of murder is futile. May Allah be with you.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't suprise me if these self-appointed Muslim police derived sexual pleasure from killing women. Religion being a false front they put up to hide their vampire-like appetites.

Anonymous said...

It is clear that extremists
elements on both sides have made
Iraq a horrible dangerous place.

However I believe that the Shia
extremists can be moderated by Sistani and the new Government.

However the Zarqawi branch of extremists
can only be killed and the fastest way for that to happen
is for The "patrotic resistance"
to make their peace with the new Iraqi government and simply turn
on Zarqawi and his men and kill them... for they will NEVER leave Iraqi in peace.

The American soldiers have absorbed car bomb after car bomb
car bombs followed by ambushes ...
car bombs followed by ambushes
followed by roadside bombs etc
all within streets in civilian
neighborhoods ....

After the first elections Americans expected more people to
cooperate with them

How did the roadside bomb get planted in Haditha AND IN ALL OTHER AREAS ... Who provided the trigger signal ???

Its clear that some neighborhoods
support the insurgency and in those neighborhoods innocents
will get killed when the bullets fly

Iraqi people need to come together and turn on the insurgents ....and support new government

How many innocent civilians would have been killed in Iraq since
Saddams statue was puled down if
their were NO roadside bombs and No carbombs???

Fatima said...

Thanks for everyone's kind, uplifting words and good wishes. Good to see you here Hatice, halla, munich, aea, fd, anonymous, and thought riot.

Anonymous 3:53 pm: I would not call these killers "Muslim police." Growing up in the States, it always bothered me when a criminal with a Muslim background was described as an 'Islamic terrorist/criminal' while the Christian counterpart was not described as a "Catholic/Christian/Presbyterian/whatever terrorist/criminal (case in point: Timothy McVeigh, Hadith soldiers, etc).
Also, as I mentioned in the post, the women were 'covered' in Islamic clothing, so we're not really sure what the impetus for the killings was, political, sectarian, etc.

Anonymous 8:39 AM: You bring up many issues. If Sistani had power over the Shia extremists, as you describe them, their activity should have stopped a while ago. But they continue.
For the Zarqawi extremists, God knows what will stop them. But I just read some breaking news that he's been killed, we'll see about that, and whether it affects anything.
And it seems like you are condoning the Haditha killings b/c the neighborhood must have supported the insurgency to allow for roadside bombs to be left there. Let's say there are one or two people who planted the bombs from the neighborhood. Does that excuse the deliberate murder of children?