American emo kids who think they have it rough should take note of this story out of Iraq: at least 14 young people have been stoned to death over the past three weeks, apparently for wearing "emo" clothes and haircuts.
It all started last month when Iraq's interior ministry declared "emo" to be "Satanism," and demanded that a community police force end the trend for good. In response, militants have been circulating leaflets with the names of emo kids in danger of being killed.
"We strongly warn you, to all the obscene males and females, if you will not leave this filthy work within four days the punishment of God will descend upon you at the hand of the Mujahideen," the leaflet said.
Another leaflet in Sadr City bore 20 names. "We are the Brigades of Anger. We warn you, if you do not get back to sanity and the right path, you will be killed," it said.
And sadly, they're not all talk. So far 14 youths have been brought to the hospital with fatal injuries from rocks and bricks, while 6 others were wounded as a "warning." But there is no official confirmation that these deaths are linked to the victims' emo style, in part because hospital sources "were not authorized to speak to the media."
Meanwhile, the interior ministry who led the charge to eradicate emo denies any connection. On Thursday, they released a statement condemning the media for the allegation.
Many media have reported fabricated news reports about the so-called "emo" phenomenon — stories about tens of young people killed in various ways, including stoning. No murder case has been recorded with the interior ministry on so-called "emo" grounds. All cases of murder recorded were for revenge, social and common criminal reasons.
One way or another, the Iraqi emo trend seems to be dying down.