Blood ties: a father forsaken

Patricide, or the murder of one’s father, is often associated with political intrigue at high levels: a son seeks his father’s throne and doesn’t want to wait for his father’s natural death.

The reported murder of an Iraqi man by his son and a nephew because he worked for the U.S. military as a translator is a tragic case of how kinship ties, supposedly involving love and avoidance of harm, can be over-ridden by other powerful interests and motivations with deadly results.

If you use the two search terms “killing” and “father” in Google, you will find many entries for so-called honor killings in which a father kills a daughter for perceived transgressions such as pre-marital sex or marrying someone of the wrong caste or other kinship category. These murders are all too common and the murderers all too often go free.

In this case, a father was killed because he chose to work for the “wrong” people. An honor killing of a different sort, but just as dishonorable and heinous. A son and nephew are in custody. Another son is being pursued.

My deep condolences to the victim’s widow.

One of the most famous literary references to patricide is portrayed in Gustave Moreau’s Oedipus and the Sphinx (1864). Creative commons licensed.

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