Opinion |15 years old boy murdered for “looking gay” by Mariyem, Morocco

Dirt and blood were splattered over his body. His voice weakly whispering in an Iraqi accent, asking what was happening, between a state of life and death. The murderer held his phone, recording a video and talking with the struggling 15 years old’s body in an indifferent tone. Hamoudi Al Matiri asked, “What’s this coming out of my stomach?” The anonymous murderer replied in a calm emotionless voice, moving the camera to show his intestines coming out of his bloody midsection “those are your intestines coming out”. At that moment the 15-year-old boy asked in a voice that’s running out of breath “I want to see my mother”.

It is the same cry for help a scared child would give when the sense of danger is looming. In this case, his cries were too late, and quite too far, for his house was located four blocks away from the location in which he was stabbed, lying almost motionless on the floor, only his heaving breaths signalling the fragile ray of life that’s about to set behind death.

Hamoudi, regardless of his unconscious state, asked for an ambulance. His t-shirt was marred in blood, his small hand covered with dirt, and his thighs clenched together, clothed in black shorts.

The reason?

He looked too feminine and was suspected to be gay, which is not something positive in Iraq.

Again, yet another victim is added to the list of shameful stories future generations will read about the MENA region. Another drop of blood to the red sea of all the people who were buried underground, and non-conforming people who are still being buried alive.

We often speak of Islamophobia in the West, which is great, but can we speak of Freedomphobia in the Arab-Islamic world? For in each context, struggles differ.

To find an explanation to the horror that has happened to Hamoudi and many other Iraqi victims, as well as victims in the MENA region, numerous hypotheses, as a citizen who lives in this region, come to mind:

The first hypothesis is that there is a thirst for heaven that the many people in the MENA region quench for, even if the ladder to that is an innocent’s life. The many people born in this geopolitical region live under so much corruption that it made them lose hope in this life and the meaning of living it. They have reached a point where only the afterlife matters. Death, and all kinds of terrorism (verbal, physical, social, etc) are the price to be paid.

Only behind the curtains of the dark are we allowed to disobey. Only at night, after we preached during the day in the name of God and his laws, ended innocent lives, terrorized free minds with our glares and words, and killed the symbols and joys of life, are we allowed to masturbate to pornographic videos made by the Kuffars whom we wish to bomb, or to whom we pray for to turn to Islam “to have the perfect life”.

The second hypothesis is the ignorance that was a result of the failure in Arab speaking countries’ educational systems. They breed graduates who are like ticking bombs. They fear that any demonstration of femininity, skin, art, or things that celebrate and manifest life, could stray them from the path of God. They lack creativity and guard boxed minds. People who only care about filling their stomachs, and whose minds are at a constant hold, unable to imagine, to develop, nor accept the notion of personal freedom.

Ignorance is one of the greatest threats to our society. It is one of the reasons that the tribal mindset still persists in the MENA region. It is a big reason why we are still drenched in wars and a constant state of unfreedom.

My third hypothesis is that it is the patriarchal system that’s still rooted in all societies; ignited by the fragile egos of the patriarchs who derive their value of existence from violence, domination, and the size of their penis. The value system in the MENA region demonstrates the intellectual swamp we’re submerged in. Valuing the afterlife over life. Valuing consumption over production, valuing chastity over the freedom of the body to act as it wishes. Valuing man over woman. Valuing overeating over-exercise. Valuing murder over listening to a free mind or at least one that may differ. Valuing ignorance over knowledge. Valuing everything that kills the value of life and what makes or helps it progress.

Fourth hypothesis, that the reasons are a combination of all of the above, and even more.

Hamoudi El Matiri’s blood will not go in vain, for it shall water the soil from which other rebellious souls will rise, and the ones that still survive in this intellectual desert. Life will persist regardless of terrorist wishes. His feminine outlook and supposed homosexuality, for which he was murdered, shall be the flower that will crown a MENA region where people who work for the afterlife instead of this one find their place in history’s tombs.

Nature is clear, natural selection erases all species that are not able to evolve and adapt. As nations that appreciate life and seek knowledge have shown, the present and future is not a place for wars, ignorance, or the control of other people’s freedom. Those who will not evolve will be erased, sooner or later.




This is just one example of the important work produced by YaLa’s citizen journalists, a program funded by the European Union’s Peacebuilding Initiative in order to enable young leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa to document and share their experiences of the region. 

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