April 3, 2008 at 3:07 pm 14 comments

WHEN: 7th April 2007
WHERE: Bashika, Iraqi Kurdistan
VICTIM: Du’a Aswad Khalil (photo attached), age 17. A second-year art student.
Was stoned to death by her brother, uncle and cousins, who beat her and crashed her spine and skull with concrete blocks in front of a bestial crowd of 2000 ‘men’ that were cheering and recording the murder on their mobile phones. Police officers were present in the scene but just watched. Nobody- NOBODY- helped her. When Du’a died, they dragged her body in the streets, as if she was some sort of trophy.


Today this message is being sent to people around the world by those of us that have come together to pay our respects to a beautiful 17 year old girl that was brutally stoned to death  on April 7th, a year ago. This is the first anniversary of Dua Khalil Aswad’s death. As a friend, I ask only that you give me two minutes of your time – just two minutes, if you have not heard about Dua Aswad, briefly, she was a victim of another honor killing, there are approximately 5000 per year throughout the world.

Dua was not a victim of the war in Iraq although she was from the town Bashika in Iraqi Kurdisan, she was stoned to death by her brother and uncle and cousins in front of a cheering crowd of 2000 ‘men’ that were filming the ‘event’ on their mobile phones, a group of Yazidi (a Middle Eastern religion with ancient Indo-European roots) extremists that forbids a relationship outside of that faith. If you would like to know more about Dua, I am printing below an article that was published in a newspaper in the US describing Dua’s murder.

However, I know some of you may not have the time to read this but we are asking everyone around the world to take a moment and go to the following site and sign the petition against stoning of women in Kurdistan.

There is no obligation, you do not have to put your full name down if you prefer not to, your email is safe and will not be distributed, we only ask that you do this now – today, currently there are 14,875 signatures, it is our way of showing people around the world that have been so devastated by her murder that she has not been forgotten.

Because we cannot go to her simple unmarked grave covered with rocks and lay a rose, instead we are gathering together and signing this petition, in the comment area simply write “we will never forget you Dua” that is all I am asking.

Please, we cannot bring Dua back, she was another innocent victim whose life was taken in such a brutal way, it is time we quit closing our eyes to these atrotcies, please forward this email to everyone on your contact list – just like you do when you want to share something important with your friends – please, as a friend, pass this on to as many people as possible.

No one will be showing up on your door at midnight with a grand prize, no one will bring you luck at work tomorrow but you will be doing one thing – you just may be passing this information on to the one person that can make a difference – we don’t know who that person is but we will not stop our efforts until these crimes cease, we must continue to spread the word:No More Honor Killings – No More Stonings – Help these people – In Dua’s name – sign the petition and pass this on – thank you!:


and sign the petition – even if you have signed before – sign again and write the following comment:

*** under comment write:
“We will never forget you Dua”

The conference in London in Rembrance of Dua Aswad and other honor killing victims is April 12th, we want to present a number to them to let them know how many people signed this petition on or before Dua’s one year anniversary – April 7th – please do this as soon as possible and pass this email on – thank you!
Remembering Dua Aswad ~ Everyone’s Child                                                                                Roanoke Times & World News

“As the sun went down the tombs cast long shadows over the village cemetery, Badi’aa Aswad threw herself on the mud grave of her 17-year-old daughter, Dua, and howled. “Come to Mama, Dua,” she cried, caressing the plain concrete headstone. “The last thing you told me was that you were hungry. Come home. Let me cook and feed you.” Disturbed by the sobbing, a passerby offered water in the hope of soothing her but Aswad screamed that she could not drink a drop. “Dua is thirsty,” she shrieked, directing the stranger to pour the contents of her water bottle over the dusty grave instead.”
Last year on April 7th Dua Aswad was stoned to death by a mob in the Kurdish village of Basshiqa, was she just another casualty of the Iraq war? No. Dua was a casualty of another “honor killing” a term used as an excuse to murder someone because they have brought dishonor to the family. Honor killings are a cultural atrocity acted out by ignorant people. There are approximately 5000 honor killings each year throughout the world including the US. Dua was a member of the Yazidi sect in Iraq that forbids a relationship outside their faith. Dua, a fine arts student at a local college in Iraq tried to break away from this tradition and fell in love with someone of her own choosing. For this Dua paid the ultimate price. Her uncle found out that Dua was involved with a Muslim and decided she should be murdered, her father said no and sent Dua to a shelter. The uncle took matters into his own hands and went to the shelter dragging her out in a headlock to the center of town where over 1000 men were waiting. They stripped Dua’s clothes from her body to humiliate her, threw her to the ground and began kicking her in the face, head, chest, between her legs as she screamed out in agony. She reached out and begged for help, not one person came forward. Not one. Instead they picked up large stones and hurled them into her face, head, chest, while continuing to beat and kick her. Cell phones were seen filming this horror, the video clip I watched scanned the crowd, men were packed shoulder to shoulder chanting and cheering like it was a sporting event screaming “kill her kill her”, Dua tried to sit up and was kicked in the chest slamming her back down. This brutal murder lasted over 30 minutes. They would pick up an arm or leg and if there was any sign of life they would kick and stone her more. Finally as Dua laid lifeless on the ground they picked her up by her arms and legs – stretched out like a prized animal and paraded her through town. This innocent 17 year old was someone’s child, someone’s sister, someone’s love. Her family grieves, her mother sits by a pile of dirt covered with a few stones and cries out for her daughter, she caresses the dirt remembering Dua’s last words to her “momma I’m thirsty and hungry” before she was dragged away to be murdered.

Why do I care about Dua? This was a world away, not my problem, she deserved it right? Wrong! Dua was another innocent victim of this crime referred to as “honor killing”, Dua did nothing wrong, when the video was uploaded to the internet and circulated around the world within days the world protested and demanded action, only then did the Kurdish authorities dig up Dua’s body and send it off to a lab to see if she was a virgin, when tests confirmed she was only then did they charge 4 people – out of the thousand only four. They were not arrested, only charged. I will never forget those images of Dua struggling so hard to get up, begging for help, how can people be so cruel, how can so many people let this happen without stepping forward to help an innocent child? What kind of society lets this happen over and over? What can we do? One way is to encourage international pressure to put a stop to these killings. Last May hundreds of mourners gathered together and threw roses into the River Thames in London to remember Dua, we cannot do that but we do ask that on April 7th in honor of Dua Aswad who represents all victims of honor killings wear a white ribbon or light a candle in her memory. Thank you – and bless you Dua, we will always remember – you are not forgotten as you are now everyone’s child!For more information on Dua and honor killings go tohttp://www.stophonourkillings.com/?name=Content&pid=44





14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aida Marina  |  April 3, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    These are not “men”, they’re not even animals, they are monsterous demons who assume human form and attack the weak and helpless. This proves that non-evolved cavemen are still being born.

    To cheer at someone else’s pain and suffering while they are being stoned for no other reason than a rule set down by “men” is utterly barbaric. Someone should be accountable, starting with the “police”.

  • 2. Andrea  |  April 3, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    May you rest in eternal peace…

  • 3. ERS  |  April 3, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you for remembering Du’a.

    Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
    “Reclaiming Honor in Jordan”

  • 4. Karen Tintori  |  April 4, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Thank you for blogging about Dua and keeping her memory alive.

    There is a beautiful Jewish saying that when we speak of the dead, their lips move softly in the grave. I’d like to think that Dua is aware that we remember and care and that she knows she will not be forgotten.

    Karen Tintori, author
    Unto the Daughters: The Legacy of an Honor Killing in a Sicilian-American Family

  • 5. wagny  |  April 4, 2008 at 7:52 am

    I will never comprehnd the violence that has become so prevalent in our world. I meditate, reflect and I pray and I am unable to reconcile my feelings about our collective devolution. I thank all of you who have written and displayed the physiology of your souls.

    You are beautiful!

    Marijo Gillis
    “a commentary”

  • 6. Sarah  |  April 4, 2008 at 8:32 am

    “we will never forget you Dua”

  • 7. Lina  |  April 4, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Thank you dearly for posting this. We will NOT forget Du’a. She represents female courage and strength. I hope she becomes a symbol for all suppressed women on this earth. R.I.P. my beautiful angel!

  • 8. wagny  |  April 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Thank you for honoring her soul .

    Rest In Peace DU’A

  • 9. Sheila Mahon  |  April 4, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    This is why women need to be in power. I don’t want to vent here so I will just say, Blessings on Du’a and ALL women. May the light of god FINALLY touch the hearts of men and may women and animals finally be free.

  • 10. wagny  |  April 5, 2008 at 1:37 am

    Thank you Sheila and thank you all for creating memories for this child. and Sheila, you can vent all you like!

    http://www.wagny.org and http://www.wagny.net

  • 11. Dua's Voice  |  April 5, 2008 at 6:56 am

    Thank you all for writing in support of Dua Aswad – I have made it my mission since watching the video of her stoning last year to spread the word as far and as loud as possible, I deeply appreciate Wag On The World for printing my story. What happened to Dua was horrific, I cannot even begin to imagine the suffering she endured – she has entered my heart and soul and I will never forget her as so many of you won’t – she is, like I said, “everyone’s child” and we must do what we can to never let this happen again. Please sign the petition – even if you signed it before sign it again – and write in the comment area “we will never forget you Dua”, we hope to have this petition taken to the conference in London on April 12th to show them that Dua has not been forgotten, that we have not forgiven those that did this and we will never stop fighting for her justice. The petition is at:
    thank you all for not forgetting this precious child and all the girls/women out there that are living in terror every single day – we must must must do what we can…. never give up!

  • 12. wagny  |  April 5, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Read the International Campaign against killings and stoning of women in Kurdistan Petition
    Please signe the petition and keep the memory of EVERYONE’s CHILD alive and “breathing”

    15085. Marijo Gillis A grave and truly sorrowful demonstration of the devolution of humanity in an area of the world beset by brutality and violence. REST IN PEACE innocent girl, in the loving arms of the Creator! WAG ON THE WORLD

  • 13. Judy Landess  |  June 21, 2008 at 12:33 am

    This past April you published the story I wrote for the Roanoke Times (our local newspaper in Virginia) about Dua Aswad’s stoning death in Iraq. I have had a lot of feedback about my stories, they are all written from my heart, believe me. I have just written another that I thought perhaps you might be interested in, my goal is to keep Dua’s memory alive, I continue to campaign diligently on her behalf. My goal is to persuade someone to do a documentary or movie on her life/death to bring attention to this horrific crime of “honor killing” and I feel the only way for this to be acknowledged by those that can do something is to have a documentary at the very least made. I have a couple people that have shown genuine interest in doing this, in the meantime, I continue to write articles and do whatever I can to prevent Dua Aswad’s stoning death from ever being forgotten. If you would like to read my story I’d be glad to forward it to you in word format. Thanks for your help – Judy

  • 14. Judy Landess  |  June 22, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Dua Knows…………….

    It’s been over a year now since 17 year old Dua Aswad was stoned to death by men from her Yazidi village in Bashiqa,Iraq that disapproved of her relationship with a young Muslim boy. With over 1000 men cheering on her slaughter that lasted over 30 minutes, she was stripped, beaten, kicked, stoned and paraded through the streets and to this day no one has been arrested. This murder was videotaped by several men with their cell phones and then uploaded to the internet to show the world what a great job their fellow tribesmen had done in protecting their honor. Unfortunately for these murderers, the videotape backfired as the world reacted with horror and disgust at this act with thousands demanding justice for this young girl, petitions were set up, about 16,000 signatures on one alone demanding that the Kurdistan government arrest those responsible but to this day no one has been arrested, not even the two policemen that stood by with arms folded, smiling, watching this event making no attempt to help Dua, they were not even reprimanded.

    I was one of the thousands of people that watched this video, I remember watching Dua some how forcing her battered body to a sitting position, her arm reaching out begging for help only to be kicked in the chest, slamming her back down to the ground. I remember her trying to cover her nakedness, I remember the blood streaming from her face, I remember sobbing uncontrollably, losing my breath with each violent kick that slammed her body back down over and over. I remember that not one person made an attempt to help this young, defenseless girl, yes, I remember…. Being a mother myself, my heart broke, I felt so helpless watching this young girl be murdered before my eyes and I could not help her at all. I felt like I’d let her down, I should have been there for her, I went to sleep every night for weeks unable to close my eyes without seeing her writher in pain over and over. I wanted so badly to help her, to hold her, to protect her from these evil men. I wanted to let Dua know that I cared, I would have helped if I’d been there, I wanted her to know that she was not alone any more, that there are thousands of people around the world feeling as I do, wanting to have those that murdered her as well as all those that stood by watching – all should be arrested and put to death. No one has the right to do what they did. She did nothing wrong, she was an innocent 17 year old girl attempting to find happiness as she so deserved, all young girls have that right, everyone has that right, no one had the right to take this from her.

    As the months have gone by I have found myself reading more and more horror stories that these girls are going through under the guise of “honor killings” – brothers, fathers, uncles, strangers, murdering these young girls/women for any reason, talking to a stranger, not wearing a head scarf, refusing to marry someone three times their age, refusing to be sold or exchanged because of a debt owed, or just because they were no longer wanted, These girls are raped and then murdered because their rape has brought shame to the family. These girls are burnt alive, stoned to death, hung, shot, had acid thrown in their face and worse. What has been done? Little or nothing and it happens over and over.

    I live in the US, I’m an American, I’m a mother and I care. I write articles to my local newspaper informing people of what is going on out there, I sign petition after petition, I set up websites on Facebook and MySpace, I try. I often wonder does Dua know I’m doing this for her? Does Dua know thousands of us around the world love her, want to right the wrong that was done to her. Does Dua know? She does.

    Last year, two months after Dua’s stoning that occurred on April 7, 2007, Houzan Mahmoud Representative Abroad for the Organization Of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), arranged to have a ceremony held in Dua’s honor and in admiration of Doa’s love 17 Red Roses were cast into the River Thames on June 2nd. I wanted so much to be there, obviously I couldn’t because of the distance but I kept thinking about it wanting to somehow be a part of this event, I wanted to honor Dua, I wanted to toss a rose for her. As I paused in my yard that day to reflect on Dua, to say a prayer for her, to tell her how sorry I was that this had happened, I looked in my flower garden and there among all my red poppies stood one beautiful white poppy, there had never been a white poppy in my garden before, I’ve had that garden for years, I’d never even seen a white poppy. Looking at that poppy I knew it was a sign, it was a beautiful, proud and innocent flower among the rest, it stood alone, not afraid and I named this poppy my “Dua Poppy”. I never forgot that day, it helped me immensely get over the guilt of not being with the others at the River Thames. This year as my red poppies started to bloom I again watched for the white poppy but it never bloomed. I had a reunion planned and had to leave for Ohio on June 7th, I went out several times a day to see if my white poppy had returned but it had not. On June 7th I got up early and was loading my car, I walked one last time to the garden and there it was, my white poppy, standing all alone, beautiful, proud and pure among all the red ones. I know in my heart that this is a sign – this is Dua’s way of telling me she knows, she knows we all care, we have not forgotten her, we will continue to fight for her justice, yes, Dua knows…….

    Judy Landess

    Wikipedia: red poppy – death
    white poppy – peace


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