Warning: the following post is shocking, graphic and disturbing – the sad part is, it’s all true.
Nearly two years ago Joss wrote a stirring post on Whedonesque in response to news of the so called “honor killing” of Du’a Khalil Aswad. Du’a, a 17-year-old Iraqi Kurd of the Yazidi faith, was not only stoned to death, but people at the stoning filmed the incident on their cellphones. The exact cause for the stoning is in dispute, be regardless of the reason the result is the same – Du’a is dead. As Joss said, “There were security officers standing outside the area doing nothing, but the footage of the murder was taken – by more than one phone – from the front row. Which means whoever shot it did so not to record the horror of the event, but to commemorate it. To share it. Because it was cool.”
Joss Whedon fans, such as myself, were horrified. For a fandom known for supporting Joss’ favorite charity – Equality Now, known for loving Joss’ portrayal of women as more than just victims, known for rallying behind a teenage superhero and women warriors: we were more than disappointed.
This April 7th has been dedicated to be the international day against ‘honor killings’. According to the folks at www.stophonourkillings.com there’s been approximately 300 more honor killings since Du’a’s death.
If you would like to get involved in helping people remember Du’a’s death or raise awareness they have some suggestions and resources from their website (special thanks to TonyaJ for pointing this out on Whedonesque):
7th April will be the 2nd anniversary of the horrific stoning death of Du’a Khalil Aswad, which we have nominated to be the international day against ‘honour’ killings.
In remembrance of Du’a, you are invited to:
1. Leave a tribute on this remembrance page
2. Visit a memorial service to be held in Rt.66 Hotel & Conference Center. Springfield, Illinois, April 7th from 6:30pm until 8:00pm
3. Spread the word: Write a letter to your local papers, raising the issue of so-called ’honour’ killing.
4. Blog for Du’a: Write a blog entry for Du’a Khalil on the 7th April, perhaps using one of our graphics available here, or post about her life on your forums
5. Contact the KRG: Email the Kurdistan Regional Government asking what progress there has been in finding and prosecuting Du’a’s killers and what they intend to do to reduce the rate of ’honour’ killings in Kurdistan (there have been at least 300 other victims since Du’a’s death.)
6. Sign the petition: Sign here
7. Put up a poster. Print out and put up a poster in your window to show that Du’a Khalil is not forgotten [Big PDF]
8. Buy Nothing But Red, the anthology written in Du’a Khalil’s honour
9. Use this graphic as your Facebook or MySpace profile for the day
Best Regards, International Campaign Against Honour Killings Staff