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During my daily blog hopping, I was stopped cold by a reminder that this month is the anniversary of the so-called honor killing of 17 year old Du’a Khalil. Just like a year ago, I felt sick to my stomach thinking about the horrible fate of this young girl, barely older than my own daughter.

“There but for the grace of…” keeps going through my head like an endless loop.
If we had been born in a different place, and within a different religion, it could be my daughter being stoned to death–for the unforgivable sin of being young, female, and in love.

If we had been born in a different place, and within a different set of social and religious mores, it could be my son who may have felt it necessary to avenge the family honor by taking his sister’s life.

There are all sort of horrors in the world.

There is also good in the world. Let’s work to make the latter stronger, wider, farther reaching.

From the Nothing but Red Press Room page:

NEW YORK (04/07/08) — Nothing But Red, the anthology of literary and visual arts inspired by the impassioned plea of Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon in response to the “honor killing” of 17-year-old Du’a Khalil Aswad, is now available for purchase. Sales of the anthology, which is currently available in multiple formats at www.lulu.com/nothingbutred, will benefit the international human rights organization Equality Now.

“I’ve met some amazing people who’ve worked incredibly hard to put this book together over the last year, whether as contributors or volunteers,” said Skyla Dawn Cameron, originator and editor-in-chief of Nothing But Red. “We can’t change Du’a’s fate – but we can let the world know that there are people who still care. That’s where this fight really happens: with each of us, challenging ourselves to do something to make the world better.”

The 313-page collection, which can be purchased as a trade paperback for $15.95 or as a pdf-format e-book for $5.95, is being released on the one-year anniversary of the death of Aswad. An Iraqi adherent of the Yazidi religion, Aswad was stoned to death by family members and neighbors; her brutal beating and murder was captured in a graphic video and spread on the Internet.

Shortly after learning of the murder, Joss Whedon, creator of the television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly, penned an emotional response on the website Whedonesque.com. His post, which built from the topic of Aswad’s murder to the contemplation of misogyny’s transcendence of culture, religion and era, ended on an appeal to his fans to do something active to change the cycle.

“True enlightened activism is the only thing that can save humanity from itself…” Whedon wrote. “Her face was nothing but red.”

Taking its title from those words, Nothing But Red is a response to Whedon’s call to action, which is included as an essay in the volume. A full list of contributors can be found at nothingbutred.wordpress.com.

Equality Now was chosen as the recipient of the anthology’s proceeds due to Whedon’s public support of the organization and its mission to “[voice] a worldwide call for justice and equality for women,” as stated on Equality Now’s website.

Visit lulu.com to get your copy.

TTG and I are going to The Lakes for a short break. (I’ll post the review for Rockstar on Tuesday hopefully, sorry Ros.)

We were going to do Frankfurt, but after last year, we decided that we’d rather go somewhere, where us being black wasn’t a problem for the locals.

Anyway, before I go, I’d like to post this. I’ve copied the whole thing onto here:

Bam: Hello, Friends. Our guest author for today, Skyla Dawn Cameron is not here to talk about her work, writing, or personal life (although that stuff’s fun too). She would like to take this opportunity to introduce to us a very special project she is working on that will benefit our disenfranchised and persecuted sisters all over the world. Why is she doing this? Well, let’s give Skyla the floor, so she can tell us all about it. Sisters and Friends, please give a warm welcome to Skyla.

The Inspiration – On April 7th of this year, seventeen-year-old Dua Khalil Aswad, of Northern Iraq, was pulled into a group of men–some of them family members–who tore off her clothes, then beat and stoned her to death. The ordeal took about thirty minutes, and though the police witnessed the event, they didn’t intervene.

All this was recorded on camera phones by several members of the “audience” and if you’re really curious, you can find the video on both CNN’s website and YouTube. Her crime? Dua Khalil was of the Yazidi faith, and she was seen in the company of a Muslim man that her family believed she intended to marry. She was brutally murdered to preserve the “honour” of her family.

One month later, popular filmmaker Joss Whedon posted his utter outrage at Dua Khalil’s death–as well as the larger issue of violence against women in general–on a fan-run news blog, Whedonesque. You can find the post in it’s entirety here, but to quote the bit that inspired the title of our project:

As you see, among his words was a call to action. I was inspired to organize a response from some of us.

What We’re Doing – We’re putting together an anthology of short stories, essays, poems, and art work, called “Nothing But Red.” The book will be produced as both a trade paperback and an eBook through Lulu.com with the proceeds going to Equality Now.

The book will be released on April 7, 2008 (the one-year anniversary of Dua Khalil’s death). We are pleased to announce, officially, that the first essay in the book will be Joss Whedon’s original post, “Let’s Watch a Girl Get Beat to Death.” Our website is currently located at http://www.nothingbutred.wordpress.com/.

What We’re Looking For – People to both contribute work, as well as offer assistance as volunteers.

Contributions: Submissions will open August 1, 2007 and close November 1, 2007. Although inspired by Dua Khalil’s death, submissions need not be about her specifically; we’re looking for responses to the issues Whedon raised, such as violence against women and the inherent misogyny in all cultures. This could be a short story about a woman standing up to domestic abuse. It could be an essay on the continual need for feminism. It could be a poem exploring the brutality of honor killings.

What we aren’t looking for are ten thousand word rants attacking religion, politics, or men in general. We all have strong opinions about things, but let’s try to be grownups about this, m’kay folks?

For further submission guidelines, please visit the “Submissions” page on our website.

Organizers: We have about a dozen people right now organizing things behind the scenes. Although it’s a fantastic, dedicated group, when submissions start rolling in, we’ll probably need more help.

If you have any specialized skills, such as editorial experience, PR/marketing experience, website design etc, and you’d like to volunteer your services, we’d greatly appreciate it. We’re also open to anyone who just feels like helping out by brainstorming ideas, proofreading, etc. Please, if this has inspired you to act, email me and I’ll invite you to our discussion group. Even if you don’t know what you can do to help, I’m sure you have something of value to contribute–even if it’s just acting as a cheerleader.

Who “We” Are – I’ve been using the collective “we” here a whole lot, and before you think that I’m a crazy person referring to her cats, let me assure you that there are several people other than me involved in this. There are a dozen organizers so far from across the world, all brought together by a shared desire to do something positive to promote equality. We range from multi-published writers to university students, people with experience in book design to professionals in various fields.

I Skyla Dawn Cameron am the head organizer, and I have a background in similar ventures: I’m heavily involved in my local writers’ organization and I’m currently chairing Public Relations for their first conference. We’re all serious about this project and dedicated to seeing it through.

How You Can Help – You can volunteer to help organize NBR by sending me an email at SkylaDawnCameron@yahoo.ca. That would be, like, really awesome. You can also help by simply spreading the word. Attending any writer or artist events? Going to any activist meeting? Please visit the page on our website called “Spread The Word” for some beautiful flyers that can be downloaded and printed. We also have a Cafepress storefront set up (we don’t make any money from the designs) where you can purchase a T-shirt, tote bag, mug, etc.

Another way to spread the word is to blog about it, and if you do it this week, you can win a prize…

Post something on your blog or website, a message forum, or wherever else you can think of, then post a link to it in a comment here. As thanks for your help, next Tuesday afternoon (June 26), I’ll randomly draw a name, and the winner will receive a free eBook of RIVER (my award winning debut novel) in their choice of one of the supported formats and a $15 Amazon GC from Dionne.

I originally posted about Dua Khalil, here. I still recall feeling sick to my stomach, when I watched the video footage, this shit just shouldn’t happen in this day and age, so let’s give Skyla a hand with her project, and you never know, we might just make a difference.

OK, that’s me, I’ll see you guys on Tuesday, be good now, and try to stay outta trouble while I’m gone. *g*

The hypocrisy of organised religion never fails to amaze me…

I got this via Rosie, and it was written by Joss Whedon.

It’s one of the most amazingly passionate essays I’ve come across in a long time. Every word he wrote was totally righteous.

I gotta go, cuz I’ve got a letter to write, and I urge all of you out there to do the same. Rosie says inch by inch, I say one person at a time…

Amended To Add

Bam just sent me this. It’s long, but you should read it.

Watch the film, it’s gruesome, but it’s a reality that women in the Middle East, and right here in my own country, have to endure.

I had a Muslim friend who ran away from home 16 years ago. She’d fallen in love with a boy from a different caste, and she was afraid that her father would kill her if he ever found out. I haven’t seen her since. I hope she’s still alive.

I hope every single one of those men burn in hell for what they did to that girl, especially those who took gratuitous pleasure in filming such an evil, and vile act.