I was all set to blog about an account of the horrific death of Atwar Bahat, a leading Iraqi television journalist. Fortunately, before I could blog about it I found out via Peter Daou that the video that inspired the account was a hoax. But it wasn’t revealed as such before, as Daou notes, right wing bloggers swarmed the story; in some cases using it as “evidence” of cruelty and barbarity that’s allegedly innate to Muslims.
The right-wing blogswarm Daou mentioned actually only underscores the point I originally wanted to make by comparing the reaction to the fake video of Bahat’s murder with the nearl total non-response to another murder in occupied Iraq that Bill brought to my attention.
A 14-year-old boy has been shot by Iraqi police officers for the apparent crime of being gay, the Independent of London reported.
According to his neighbors in Baghdad’s al-Dura district, Ahmed Khalil was shot at point-blank range after a scuffle with the police.
Ali Hili, an exiled gay Iraqi who is Middle East affairs spokesman for the London gay rights group OutRage! said, “According to a neighbor, who witnessed Ahmed’s execution from his bedroom window, four uniformed police officers arrived at Ahmed’s house in a four-wheel-drive police pick-up truck.”
“The neighbor saw the police drag Ahmed out of the house and shoot him at point-blank range, pumping two bullets into his head and several more bullets into the rest of his body.”
Hili claimed that Ahmed was a “victim of poverty” and apparently killed by “fundamentalist elements in the Iraqi police.”
It is believed Ahmed slept with men for money to support his poverty-stricken family. They have since fled the area.
It’s particularly interesting that the blogosphere’s non-response to this story is essentially bipartisan in nature. But it’s not a big surprise.
I posted about Iraq’s anti-gay death squads after picking up the story from David Ireland. I also blogged once or twice about the child sex trade that’s thriving in occupied Iraq, and which causes children like Ahmed — who enter the sex-trade as a result of the grinding poverty their families now face — are essentially caught in the crossfire between the economic realities of a destabilized Iraq and the Sharia law penalties enforced by roving religious gangs emboldened by that same instability.
Ahmed was most likely a victim of the same anti-gay religious death squads Ireland has been covering for the last couple of months, without getting much of a reaction from anyone. The U.N. basically confirmed the reports, and the BBC picked up on it. The response to Ireland’s story and the BBC coverage have been meager at best.
I don’t know what to make of it, but I think it’s very telling that a fraudulent video of one person’s death gets and overwhelming response while factual reports of the murders of several gay Iraqis gets almost none. If I didn’t know any better I’d take it as a sign of whose lives matter whose don’t. If I didn’t know any better.