Saddam Hussein is gone, but Iraq remains a deeply conservative nation, and it seems that a haircut can get you killed. Apparently the emo scene is perceived as being gay; and the AP is reporting that as many as 58 Iraqis who were gay or believed to be gay have been killed in the last six weeks:
To Iraqis, "Emo" is widely synonymous with "gay." John Drake, an Iraq specialist for the British-based AKE security consulting firm, said Iraqi Emos are getting their hair cut so they aren't immediately identified, and therefore targeted, in the wake of the new threats.
On February 13, the Interior Ministry of Iraq declared that the "phenomenon of emo" to be Satanic. The goverment has decided that black clothes, skull-print T-shirts and nose rings are "emblems of the devil." It's ironic that wearing funereal clothing with bones on it could mean actual death for a rebellious teen. An ugly death: The victims in question have been bludgeoned to death by militiamen smashing in their skulls with heavy cement blocks.
The New York Times tells the heartbreaking story of a 25-year-old young man named Mustafah, who was fired last week from a clothing store "because his boss thought his clothing too effete." Now he's unemployed and living in fear.
"What do you see about me that is so wrong?" asked Mustafa, who said he was too afraid to allow his full name to be published. "I'm a normal guy. I wish I could die rather than live like this."
"Emo" and gay kids targeted, killed in Iraq [CBS News/AP]
Fear as death squads hunt Iraq's gays and "emos" [Reuters]
Over 50 'emo' youths reportedly killed by conservative militias in Iraq [NME]
Threats and Killings Striking Fear Among Young Iraqis, Including Gays [New York Times]