"Emo" Killing in the New Iraq
Leaving Iraq today for a long trip back to Pittsburgh after observing much court and collecting dozens and dozens of cases for some upcoming work. So I'll be offline a few days as I return and catch up on old work. But did want to share my latest Jurist column on the killings of the so-called emos in the new Iraq.
One thing I did not mention in the column but did want to raise more as speculation than as legal analysis (which is why it isn't in the column) is precisely why there is what seems to be a studied effort on all sides not to describe the actions taken against the emos as set forth in the above column as being a form of violence against perceived homosexuals. We don't hear that in Arabic press, it's always the "emos" are "effeminate" men with excessively styled haircuts, tight jeans, and "deviant" ways. But nobody actually goes out and lays human beings out on the sidewalk and drops cinder blocks on their head for their haircuts. Obviously, given the above descriptions, it seems to me this is related to hostility against gayish men (meaning men acting suspiciously unmanly), and yet this isn't said. And it isn't because “emo” is code to disguise hostile sentiment, as there is nothing politically damaging in Iraq against expressing hostility against gay people. It's the reverse that carries a political cost.
So the reason for the denial? Well liberals find it easier to defend emos in Iraq than they would homosexuals, and so they see no advantage in making the connection. It seems to work, Najaf has come out very clearly against killing of emos, in favor of "advice" and "guidance" to emos. Easier to urge people to leave emos alone than gays. (And those who cry out that "advice" and "guidance" sounds like Marcus Bachmann need to reevaluate the context. In a world where young men are having cinder blocks dropped on their head, if you're a strong fervent liberal who advocates same sex marriage, still in that context you take "pray the gay away" as being a pretty significant step in the right direction).
As for the more extreme religious elements, more extreme than mainstream Najaf, meaning the Sadrists, well it's obvious for them too I think. Those guys don't want to admit there are significant incidences of homosexuality in Iraq, it seems to violate the core notion that same sex activity is so deviant that it is extraordinarily rare in Iraq. And thus they can direct their criticisms against the "cursed" emos for their "effeminate" ways, urging legal action taken against them while denying they are responsible for the killing. And they can do all this while still maintaining there are absolutely no gay people in Iraq. There are only emos.