Iraqi Death Squads: Targeting Emos, Gays, Or Both?

EmoLast night I recapped a Reuters story about the murder of "emo" teens by fundamentalists in Shi'ite neighborhoods around Baghdad. Human rights activist and literary scholar Scott Long has more: At his blog, he reports that two of his Iraqi friends have sent him pictures of an alleged victim of the emo purge, pre- and post-mortem, along with descriptions of the situation on the ground:

The correspondent who sent the following pictures says, “as you can see from the way they are dressed in their pictures, they are not Emo per se. I have been reading reports which indicate anyone who wears a stylish jeans with gel in their hair that represents the west has been identified as an Emo.” (Militias and the Iraqi media used similar markers to identify men who had sex with men back in 2009.) But he adds,  ”I have also seen many pictures of young men who have shaved their head and grew their beards just that so they would not be targeted.”

I'm not going to reproduce the more gruesome images from Long's website, but they do seem to depict the body of the boy pictured at right. (Another of Long's friends sent along pictures of the same corpse, but paired with images of what might be a different living boy. All images, it seems, come from Iraqi media.)

But — a wrinkle. This week, the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission released a report on a "wave of targeted killings" of LGBTs around Baghdad:

… in early February 2012, an unidentified group posted death threats against "the adulterous individuals" in the predominantly Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and Basra. The threats gave the individuals, whose names and ages were listed, four days to stop their behavior or else face the wrath of God, and were to be carried out by the Mujahedin. According to sources inside Iraq, as the result of this new surge of anti-gay violence close to 40 people have been kidnapped, brutally tortured and murdered. The Iraqi authorities have neither responded to this targeted violence nor have they publicly denounced it. It is widely believed that these atrocities are being committed by a group of the Shiite militia.

This sounds very much like the notices posted in Sadr City and Baya, which listed the names of local "emo" kids and gave them four days to adopt hairstyles less offensive to God

Vice Magazine has reported on the anti-LGBT crackdown in Iraq, and posted a picture of an alleged victim of the gay purge. It depicts the same dead "emo" boy pictured above.

So — which is it? Are Shi'ia thugs killing emos, gays, or both? Do they know the difference?


  1. Jason R. says

    The blog entry says it all. They are not specifically targeting emos or gays. They are targeting anyone that they think looks emo/gay/pretty/too western. Its more xenophobic than homophobic.

  2. says

    It’ll be interesting to see if the msm pick this up. I’m guessing they won’t. It would show even more clearly the Bush admin’s incompetence and corruption.

  3. just_a_guy says

    The Republicans can’t “free” ANYBODY. These killings are genocide, a genocide that Republicans would endorse.

    We all knew back in the day that “Dubyah” was an idiot monster. These killings are sadly George W. Bush’s ONGOING legacy. Thanks, Georgie. Thanks a lot.

    Lets pray to a real God that Rick the slime doesn’t get anywhere near the U.S. presidency. The last thing we need is another Dubyah.

  4. Continuum says

    Just gotta love the success of this trumped up War for Oil, . . . oh, wait, “The War to Bring Freedom to the Iraqi People” . . . that has brought more death and destruction to Iraq and the Middle East than Saddam Hussein ever could have imagined.

    George Bush, Cheney and their evil neo-con cohorts are truly open puss filled wounds on the face of humanity.

    I anxiously await the end of chapter two where the US succeeds in totaly destroying . . . I mean liberating . . . Afghanistan.

  5. Rance says

    The MSM has reported on the “Emo” killings, but, as is their fashion, has kept silent on the alleged gay killings.

  6. just_a_guy says

    Why no buzz about the gay killings? Because they assume killing gays will be accepted by 40% of Americans in the too-influential right wing??

    C’mon, media, stop cowtowing to the far right.

    And, @Rance, isn’t calling them “MSM” an unhelpful and frightening Breitbart legacy that actually PUSHES the media to legitimize the illogical right??

    If so, is relative media silence on the PURPOSE/GOAL of these killings as targeting gays getting lost done to CATER TO the right wing?

  7. Jeff says

    Gary Towel, you confuse me. Sometime I think the stuff you print is very biased, but sometimes you are the only source of important news.

    It makes me sick that so many Americans have died to stop this type of behavior, only to have it get worse. I personally think a lot of this type of behavior can be attributed to the hateful monologue of the Republican Presidential candidates.


  8. George says

    The Huffington Post headline reads, “Brutal Anti-Gay Killings in Iraq.” It’s only when you get to the article that you see the emo connection, which is essentially emo = gay to radicals in Iraq. They’re killing gays, using the emo look as an (incorrect) identifier.