Sep 9, 2013

"From Tears to Hope"... Badinan Anfal Commemorated

25th Anniversary of Badinan Anfal in Nizarke Fort. Photo: KRG

By Shvan Goran

In the 25th anniversary of Badinan Anfal, at the presence of KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and other officials, Badinan Anfal was commemorated in Nizarke fort in Duhok. 

During a speech he delivered, Nechirvan Barzani mentioned that the Baath Regime launched attacks on areas of Badinan under the name of (the Final Anfal) 25 years ago. And as a result thousands of citizens were arrested, or fled to Turkey and Syrian borders, and hundreds of people martyred and injured as a result of chemical attacks on various areas of Badinan.
Nechivan Barzani said this is the page of tears in Anfal and should not be forgotten in order to be reminding everyone not to lose their humanity. "we intend to deliver a message to the world that states and governments are established for serving people, not killing and genocide" said PM, explaining that commemorating Anfal is a lesson to be said over every year so as not to be reoccurred, "Anfal should never reoccur anywhere in the world" stressed Barzani.
Barzani reiterated that compensation is the lawful right of people of Kurdistan, stating that the current Iraqi Government is the heir of the former government, demanding the Iraqi government to complement Supreme Criminal Court decision and compensate relatives and families of Anfal victims.  He stated one of the issues he has seriously dealt with during their visit to Bagdad was Anfal and compensation of victims.
PM Nechirvan Barzani Delivering his Speech in Nizarke Fort in 25th Anniversary of Badinan Anfal Photo: KRG

The Prime Minister stated that the achievement of chauvinism and dictatorship, was Anfal and genocide, but the achievement of revolution and martyrs' blood and victims was freedom, self-autonomous, democracy and the Kurdistan Region Government. "Our achievement is hope, the hope which is not only the responsibility of one political party, or the government to protect it, but it's a national responsibility for which all are responsible" remarked Barzani.   
25 years ago, the former Iraqi regime launched the final stage of Anfal known as Anfal of Badinan in some areas of Duhok province. The anniversary was commemorated with performing some cultural activities in Duhok from August 25 ending with the official ceremony in Nizarke fort on September 6.
On August 25 1988, several corps of Iraqi army were deployed in Badinan areas to launch the final stage of Anfal. The operation resulted in death of hundreds and fleeing of thousands to Turkish and Syrian borders.
On-the-Spot Mass Executions
The most notorious case of those days is the mass execution of 33 youths in Koreme village, a village of just two and a half miles north of the town of Mangesh. Five of the youths surprisingly survived.
 Hashim Mohammad Rashid is one of the survivors of the mass execution; he recounts his catastrophic story of his survival. Rashid says the Baath men gathered them beneath the village, lined them up and fired at them." At first they fired over our heads, then fired at us, at the third time they fired at us all, at the fourth time they shot the last bullets to proof our death, two bullets hit my knee and I was wounded" said Rashid, " after a while, I looked around to see 28 of my fellow-villagers martyred" "the scene is unforgettable" he added. Hashim pointed out that the five survivors remained in the wilderness for nine days with no food. 
Chemical Attack
On August 25, the Iraqi warplanes launched a number of separate and simultaneous attacks on villages in Badinan areas. According to eyewitnesses have been interviewed by Middle East Watch Report, the village of Birjinni, in the nahya of Zawita, the village of Tuka, just across the Khabour River, and the other a little way to the east, in the village of Gelnaskeh, were hit by chemical weapons at breakfast time on August 25. The people of Birjinni had been watching the sky since dawn. For several days they had been aware of unusual numbers of aircraft overhead, and they were fearful of a conventional bombing attack. As eight airplanes came into view, many of the villagers fled in fear to the shelters they had built nearby. Three of the planes made a low pass over the village, from east to west, and dropped four bombs each. Surviving villagers told of clouds of smoke billowing upward, "white, black and then yellow, rising about fifty or sixty yards into the air in a column. Then the column began to break up and drift. It drifted down into the valley and then passed through the village. Then we smelled the gas."
They say it was a pleasant smell at first; "it smelled of apples and something sweet." Others said it reminded them of "pesticides in our fields." Soon, however, "it became bitter. It affected our eyes and our mouths and our skin. All of a sudden it was hard to breathe. The villagers later found that four people from a single Birjinni family had died, including a 58-year old man and his five-year old grandson.
Tens of other villages were attacked by chemical weapons on the following days.
About 13,395 citizens captured during Badinan Anfal, most were taken to the Nizarke Fort, trucked there in army IFAs from their place of capture. Some male prisoners from the southern part of Badinan were also taken to the city of Mosul, but no one has apparently returned alive to tell the story of what happened there. The intimates in Nizarke Fort were tortured by Baath's men and kept without food for several days, before moving some of them to Salamiya, Tobzawa and Kirkuk communities. Those who weren't captured migrated to Turkey and settled in refugee camps of Mush, Diyarbakir and Mardin.
Nizarke Fort lies on the eastern outskirts of Duhok city. It is a huge concrete structure built in 1970s.

By Shvan Goran

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