Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rest in Peace, Myriam Achkar

Thumbs up, Nadine Moawad. Really.




The rape and murder of Myriam Achkar in Sahel Alma has angered and outraged all of us. Myriam’s story is tragic and brings us face to face with the cruelest, most heinous of crimes. We are frustrated and enraged because it is unjust that she dies like this. A young woman, 28, takes a 20-minute walk from her home in the suburbs and gets raped and then murdered by a man.

That’s really what the story is: A young woman, 28, takes a 20-minute walk from her home in the suburbs and gets raped and murdered by a man.

But that’s not the story we’re hearing everywhere. What we’re hearing is: A young, Christian, virgin woman, 28, takes a 20-minute walk from her home to a church to pray, and gets raped and murdered by a Syrian worker.

And so the anger and outrage becomes Christian anger against Syrians. The family thirsts for his blood. They want to lynch him in the public square of Jounieh. They feel wronged as a religious community. This is violence from Syrians towards all Christians, and the Christians are too forgiving, they say. And they stress that Myriam was a practicing believer. She was not out in Gemmayze at 1am, they say. She was on her way to pray.

Nationality and religion have nothing to do with why Myriam was attacked. Really.

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All these misdirected hateful sentiments that have come out of Myriam’s rape and murder, these racist feelings towards Syrian workers, these sectarian feelings, these vengeful feelings. We can understand the feelings. But we cannot condone how they are directed.
We honor Myriam’s memory by directing our anger at sexual violence. May she rest in peace and may the right justice be served. Fight rape.

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