When talk turns to the wholesale calamity of post-invasion Iraq, I sometimes find myself thinking of the Kurds -- as one iota of good news amid the bad. At least they aren't being slaughtered like they were under Sadaam Hussein. As we're often told, the Kurds are about the only group that escaped the bloody maw of sectarian violence; former U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad referred to Kurdistan as a "shining example" for the rest of Iraq. After decades of oppression under Sadaam and post-Gulf War offensives that led an estimated 2 million Kurds to flee into the mountains of Turkey and Iran, Kurdish communities are gaining a foothold of independence. But apparently, not all Kurds are feeling respite from living at the hands of violent tyrants. For women, there are still their husbands, brothers and fathers to worry about.
A report Wednesday on a large number of "honor killings" of Kurdish women paints a very different picture from the typical portrait of Kurdistan as an autonomous region of growing prosperity and relative peace. According to a new United Nations report covering the past three months, there have been dozens of women killed for "immoral conduct" as well as many reported cases of women burned to death "by accident." The report, which criticized the government's slow response to these murders, also pointed to the ongoing reports of mistreatment of the press and political prisoners. Apparently journalists reporting on government corruption are subjected to harassment and arrest, and some detainees have been held for several years without due process.
With good news like this, why bother with the bad news?