Just another “honor” killing

A horror story from Kurdistan Region.

A photograph of two bodies being dragged out of a pond with chains has caused even a greater outcry in Iraqi Kurdistan than the murder of the two young sisters involved.

“We intend to visit the Ministry of Internal Affairs to ask them about it,” says Parwa Ali, an MP in the Kurdistan parliament for the Change Movement (Gorran), the second-largest Kurdish party.

“This is too terrible. It is clear that the police from top to bottom needs training.”

The bodies of two sisters (aged 16 and 18) were found in a pond in the Iraqi Kurdish town of Said Sadiq, some 50 kilometers from Sulaimani, Kurdistan’s second-biggest city. They had been missing for two weeks, after appearing in court to fight their family’s opposition to marrying men they had chosen themselves.

The police used chains to pull the bodies out of the water.

“That is what you would use for a cow, not a human!” protests Ali, who was told the police resorted to this because of the state of the bodies, and for lack of better equipment.

What the hell? The issue isn’t how the corpses were treated, the issue is how the two girls were treated before they were dumped in that pond.

The picture of the girls, floating face down, was shared on Facebook, which led to reactions of shock and disgust.

“It shows the low value (that) is given to women,” someone commented. The condemnations of the way the bodies were handled overshadowed those protesting the deaths.

Ali suggests that was possibly because the case was seen as just another probable murder of women in Kurdistan, or so-called “honor killings.” On the same day, a girl of 16 was killed by her father, after the shelter where she had sought refuge handed her over to her uncle.

“Honor killings” are a common feature in Iraqi Kurdistan, where women who are deemed to have dishonored the family by associating with men who are not immediate relatives are killed by a relative. Every year, there are hundreds of such murders, with victims often set on fire or forced into committing suicide.

That’s the real horror.


  1. Claire Ramsey says

    it’s unbearably sad and horrible? are these honorable murderers really human beings? this is a species aberration – there is no adaptive advantage that I can see to murdering one’s daughters.

  2. says

    But there could be adaptive advantage to making sure all women are scared shitless of “straying” and this odd habit of murdering daughters is one byproduct of that.


  3. says

    Claire @3:

    are these honorable murderers really human beings? this is a species aberration – there is no adaptive advantage that I can see to murdering one’s daughters.

    I fully understand where you’re coming from, but it’s worth fighting the urge to see the murderers this way. They are human beings. Human beings are capable of wonderful acts of kindness as well as horrible acts of cruelty. To effectively combat these horrors…to attempt to shift the culture, we have to understand the motivations of the people responsible. Othering them or viewing them as if they’re not fully human isn’t helpful; dehumanization never is. It denies the very fact that humans are capable of such horrors.

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