Germany: Killed for being too German

Spiegel Online brings the sad story of Morsal Obeidi, a German-Afghan girl who was recently murdered by her brother. What I find most sad is that the story is told as if the murder was planned by her brother alone, a sort of sibling rivalry. Morsal had been beaten by her father for being too German and forcibly sent for re-education in Afghanistan, her 13 year old brother beat her when she tried escaping her home, and she was lured to her her murderer by her cousin.

Morsal was stuck between her wish to live a normal German life and her wish to be with her family, a wish that ultimately killed her. Why was only her brother arrested for her murder?



Morsal was most afraid of her brother Ahmad. While she began to feel at home in Germany, he lost the ability to strike a balance between his family's old and new worlds. He dropped out of school. His German was poor. He began drinking, and by 13 his name had appeared in police records for the first time. Since then, Ahmad has faced criminal charges roughly 30 times -- for offences like assault, harassment and burglary.

On Jan. 20, 2007, for example, he got into his car, drunk. He stopped at a light and attacked four men, beating one of them with a club and stabbing another in the thigh with his knife. When the police arrived at the scene, he faced them with a broken bottle in his hand.

A number of attacks on Morsal are also noted in his police file. But most of the attacks were never reported -- or documented. According to police records, Ahmad beat up his sister on Nov. 1, 2006. The older sister, the report reads, scratched Morsal in the face as she was lying on the ground. There were more blows on Nov. 8, 2006. This time Ahmad threatened her with a knife, but without using it. He shouted at Morsal, accusing her of violating the family honor. Morsal filed a complaint against her brother, and she was returned to the KNJD. On Jan. 19, 2007, Ahmad allegedly beat her up again, this time in the office of the family's used car and bus dealership. His sister dressed like a slut, Ahmad told the police.

Perhaps Ahmad already sensed that he was a failure, and that he had messed up his life. But according to a relative, he loved Morsal. The youth welfare agency's files refer to their relationship as "highly ambivalent." Morsal was afraid of Ahmad, but he was also a refuge, and sometimes she spent the night in his apartment. The two shared a common fear of their father. Morsal confided in a member of the KJND staff, telling her "she felt closest to her brother, even though she also had many disagreements with him."

In early March 2007, the family sent Morsal to stay with relatives in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. They wanted her to study the Koran and familiarize herself with prayer, and to shed everything that was German about her, the many bad influences and her supposedly dishonorable life. The parents, who had told their daughter that the trip was to be a vacation, soon returned to Germany. But Morsal was kept behind for nine months -- to be reeducated.

In Afghanistan she lived with her cousin, Yussuf Obeidi, a stately man in his mid-fifties. The family wanted her to experience the chemak, or female awakening.

Defending Family Property

The Obeidis are not a noticeably conservative family. Nevertheless, it valued traditions, and one of them was to defend the family's property: zar (gold), zamin (property) and zan (women). In their traditional world, it was set in stone that these things are the property of the man.

Morsal was allowed to return home to Hamburg in January of this year. She later told the police that she had been taken to Afghanistan to be married there, and that she was only able to return to Germany by promising to obey the family.

These are the statements of a 16-year-old girl. The father, standing at the door of the family apartment in the Rothenburgsort neighborhood -- a pale, gaunt man -- has no comment.

A friend would later say that Morsal had a baby in Afghanistan. But the police say that they have no knowledge of a birth. The situation became more acute seven weeks before Morsal's death. The staff of the youth welfare agency tried to remove Morsal from her parents' apartment. On April 11, both Morsal and her parents agreed that she would move to a facility in another city, Flensburg. According to the youth welfare agency's files, "Hamburg was a dangerous place in every respect" for Morsal.

On April 25, Morsal decided to leave the Flensburg home. According to her record, she "wanted to live with her family again, but only if the parents did as she wished." The youth welfare office discussed the matter with the family. The father agreed to take in Morsal again, but only if she "obeyed the family rules."

The father was hoping for a new Morsal, and Morsal was hoping for a new father. Both were disappointed.


Source: Spiegel (English)

See also: Germany: 'Honor' murderer confesses, had attacked sister before, Germany: Afghan-German girl murdered, brother suspected

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