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Haunted by the smell of apples: Kurds weep over Halabja

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Haunted by the smell of apples: Kurds weep over Halabja

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 15, 2024 8:53 pm

Haunted by the smell of apples
    Kurds weep over Halabja massacre
Kurdish history is full of oppression, suffering and tragedies. But the gas attack at Halabja, must surely be the most egregious

In 1988 Saddam Hussein’s army attacked the Kurdish province near the Iranian border with chemical gas, including mustard gas, sarin, cyanide and tabun. Survivors from Halabja say the gas smelled sweet like apples and instantly killed people who were exposed.

    These attacks were part of a larger genocidal campaign mainly against the Kurdish people. Called al-Anfal, it cost 50,000 to 100,000 lives and destroyed 4,000 villages between February and September 1988. Al-Anfal referenced the eighth “sura” of the Koran, “The Spoils of War”, which described the campaign of extermination of non-believers by Muslim troops in 624CE under Ali Hassan al-Majid
In Halabja, nearly 5,000 civilians were killed on the spot. A further 10,000 were left with serious injuries that affect their lives to this day. It was reported that more than 75% of the victims were women, the elderly and children. The attacks completely destroyed residential areas. Many of those who fled were never to return.

The legacy of the attack is an increased risk of cancer, miscarriage, infertility, birth defects – and a lingering trauma that is being transmitted from one generation to another.

Shocking images taken by journalists were to become global symbols of Halabja – and proofs of the depth of human cruelty. After these genocidal campaigns, many Kurds fled the country and became asylum seekers or refugees in Europe and elsewhere. Today, combined with Kurds from other countries, they constitute the largest stateless diaspora in the world.

    Many Kurds believe that the rest of the world turned a blind eye to the massacres. Despite a handful of European politicians who are considered “the friends of Kurds” and who constantly raised the issue in their parliaments, such as the French politician Bernard Kouchner, the outside world did nothing to prevent these crimes and in many case still doesn’t acknowledge them for what they were – genocidal acts
Once the main perpetrator of these crimes – Saddam Hussein – had been toppled from power, Iraq’s High Tribunal and Supreme Court recognised the al-Anfal campaign as genocide – although Halabja was not one of the crimes for which the late dictator was hanged. For many, the issue is not resolved and Kurds do not think that justice has been done. They want to see the campaign recognised as genocide across Europe.

Talk to people in the Kurdish diaspora, as I have for ten years now, and they’ll explain why recognition of the al-Anfal campaign as genocide across Europe is so important to them. They will tell you that various European companies supplied Saddam’s regime with the poisonous gas that murdered so many Iraqi Kurds – and should be held accountable.

They’ll point out that many of the perpetrators of these atrocities, including some of the pilots who dropped the bombs and the soldiers who directed the execution of Kurds on a systematic basis, fled to Europe as asylum seekers after the fall of Saddam. They demand that these people should be found and tried for committing crimes against humanity.

International silence

Many Kurds believe that their suffering has not been sufficiently acknowledged by the international community. Under pressure from attacks by Islamic State they are frightened at the possibility of massacres to come – and believe that international recognition would prevent these genocidal acts from happening again.

They also believe that recognition of these massacres will bring more visibility to the Kurds and to the plight of the Kurdish people in general. It would counter the consistent denial of their ethic identity and existence as a people.

The KRG has had some success with its lobbying over the years: the Norwegian, Swedish and UK parliaments have all recognised the al-Anfal campaign against the Kurds as genocide. In all these cases, MPs of Kurdish origin played a vital role in arguing their case. For instance, in the UK, Nadhim Zahawi – the first Kurdish-origin British MP – was the one who put forward the motion that prompted the British parliament to recognise the Kurdish genocide (a motion supported by, among others, Jeremy Corbyn).

Meanwhile diasporas in European cities have done what they can to keep this issue on the agenda. There have also been local diaspora initiatives, including one that convinced the Hague City Council to build a Halabja memorial to commemorate the victims.

This is all well and good. But while the atrocities visited upon the Kurds remain unrecognised as genocide by most of the world – and while murderous groups still bombard and attack defenceless people in their region, the people of Kurdistan still live in fear.

https://theconversation.com/haunted-by- ... acre-55979
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Haunted by the smell of apples: Kurds weep over Halabja

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Re: Haunted by the smell of apples: Kurds weep over Halabja

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 15, 2024 8:59 pm

Remembering the Halabja Massacre

March 16, 1988, the regime of then-President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, committed one of the worst atrocities of the modern era: the murder by poison gas of thousands of civilians in the Kurdish-Iraqi town of Halabja

March 16, 1988, and just before the start of the al-Anfal operation, the regime of then-President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, committed one of the worst atrocities of the modern era: the murder by poison gas of thousands of civilians in the Kurdish-Iraqi town of Halabja.

As part of a genocidal campaign against the Kurds and other ethnic groups in Northern Iraq, government forces spent two days shelling the city of Halabja with rockets and Napalm, an incendiary gel that sticks to skin and causes terrible burns. On the second day, March 16th, they suddenly changed tactics: attacking aircraft began to pepper the civilian parts of the city with canisters of chemical weapons including mustard gas and the nerve agents sarin, tabun, and VX.

That day, some 3,500 to 5,000 people died within minutes. Another 7,000 to 10,000 were injured, crippled, or suffered long-term health problems.

Although there is some evidence that Saddam Hussein's forces had used chemical agents before March 16, 1988, the attack on Halabja is thought to be the first documented assault by Saddam Hussein’s forces using chemical weapons. But it would not be the last.

Early in 1987, Saddam Hussein authorized the use of chemical weapons in attacks on as many as 24 Kurdish villages. For his role in these heinous attacks, the dictator’s cousin and the campaign’s commander, Ali Hassan al-Majid, earned the nickname Chemical Ali.

The Al-Anfal campaign was a series of horrific crimes perpetrated by Iraqi leaders against their own civilian population. The gassing of the citizens of Halabja was one of the worst atrocities perpetuated by Saddam Hussein against his own people.

For his part in it, and for other crimes, Chemical Ali was executed by hanging. The Iraqi Special Tribunal dropped charges against Saddam Hussein himself only because he was executed after being convicted in a separate case.

The head of government has a responsibility to the country, and to its people, to act in their best interest. Ultimately, few dictators die in bed, or exit the scene of their crimes gracefully. The fate of those who instigated the al-Anfal and killed thousands of innocents in Halabja, should serve as a warning to others who follow in their murderous footsteps.

https://editorials.voa.gov/a/rememberin ... 98678.html
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Re: Haunted by the smell of apples: Kurds weep over Halabja

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 15, 2024 9:05 pm

Halabja victims on 36th anniversary

Australian Ambassador to Iraq Glenn Miles paid his respects to the victims of the 1988 chemical attack in Halabja on the 36th anniversary of the tragic event

“The Australian Embassy in Iraq extends its respects to the victims and survivors of the horrific 1988 bombardment of Halabja. We commemorate those who lost their lives and commend the incredible strength and perseverance demonstrated by the community of Halabja,” Miles said in an exclusive message to Rudaw.

“Australia's commitment to the eradication of chemical weapons is founded in the memory of the many casualties of chemical weapons used in conflicts around the world,” he added.

On the last days of the eight-year-long war between Iran and Iraq, warplanes of the former regime of Saddam Hussein rained down a lethal cocktail of chemical weapons on the city of Halabja on March 16, 1988, killing at least 5,000 people, mostly women and children, and injuring hundreds of others.

The Halabja chemical attack, which was recognized as an act of genocide by Iraq's High Court in 2010, has left a permanent scar in the historical memory of the Kurdish people.

The attack was part of a longer genocidal campaign against Iraq’s Kurds by the Baathist regime that continues to resonate in the mind of Kurds to this day.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/15032024
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Re: Haunted by the smell of apples: Kurds weep over Halabja

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 15, 2024 9:16 pm

Iraq to inspect Halabja water/soil

A delegation from Iraq’s environment ministry arrived in Halabja on Friday, a day before the 36th anniversary of the chemical attack on the city, to investigate the lingering effects of the attack

Halabja Governor Azad Tofiq told journalists that a delegation headed by Iraq’s Deputy Environment Minister Iktifa al-Hasnawi arrived to pay their respects to the victims of the chemical bombing.

Hasnawi said they will also inspect the water and soil of Halabja to see “whether the impact of the chemical bombing still remains in the city.”

The delegation from Baghdad also brought over 10,000 saplings to be planted in the province, according to Tofiq.

In the last days of the eight-year-long war between Iran and Iraq, warplanes of the former regime of dictator Saddam Hussein rained down a lethal cocktail of chemical weapons on the city of Halabja on March 16, 1988, killing at least 5,000 people, mostly women and children, and injuring hundreds of others.

To this day, survivors of the attack suffer from injuries caused by the toxins.

The Halabja chemical attack, which was recognized as an act of genocide by Iraq's High Court in 2010, has left a permanent scar in the historical memory of the Kurdish people. It was part of the Baathist regime’s Anfal campaign against the Kurds that killed over 182,000 people.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/150320241
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Re: Haunted by the smell of apples: Kurds weep over Halabja

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 16, 2024 10:42 am

Kurdish leaders remember Halabja

Kurdish leaders on Saturday paid tribute to the victims of the 1988 chemical attack on Halabja on the 36th anniversary of the tragedy, saying the massacre was part of a campaign to erase Kurdish identity

“The chemical assault on Halabja was merely one instance in a sequence of brutal acts committed against the oppressed people of Kurdistan,” Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani said in a statement. “If justice had prevailed, the Halabja genocide would have been sufficient grounds to recognize the legitimate rights of the people of Kurdistan.”

“The main goal of this crime and other crimes of successive Iraqi regimes against the Kurdish people was to commit genocide against the Kurdish people and erase their identity,” Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said, urging Kurdish people to defend their rights and protect the status of the Kurdistan Region.

On March 16, 1988, warplanes of the former regime of dictator Saddam Hussein rained down a lethal cocktail of chemical weapons on the city of Halabja, killing at least 5,000 people, mostly women and children, and injuring hundreds of others.

The Halabja chemical attack, which was recognized as an act of genocide by Iraq's High Court in 2010, has left a permanent scar in the historical memory of the Kurdish people. It was part of the Baathist regime’s Anfal campaign against the Kurds that killed over 182,000 people.

    A few years later, the international community imposed a no-fly zone over northern Iraq to protect the Kurdish population. This gave Kurds the space they needed to establish their own parliament and their autonomy was formally recognized by Iraq in 2005. A series of rulings by the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court in recent years, however, have been criticized by Kurdish officials as detrimental to the Kurdistan Region’s political entity and have sparked concerns over the future of the Region’s semi-autonomous status in Iraq
Both leaders also called for proper compensation for the victims’ families, lamenting a lack of interest from Baghdad to provide compensation and justice.

“The achievements and the political and constitutional status of the Kurdistan Region are the products of the blood of martyrs and sacrifices of the Kurdish people,” President Barzani said.ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The Kurdistan Region’s top leaders on Saturday paid tribute to the victims of the 1988 chemical attack on Halabja on the 36th anniversary of the tragedy, saying the massacre was part of a campaign to erase the Kurdish identity.

“The chemical assault in Halabja was merely one instance in a sequence of brutal acts committed against the oppressed people of Kurdistan,” Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani said in a statement. “If justice had prevailed, the Halabja genocide would have been sufficient grounds to recognize the legitimate rights of the people of Kurdistan.”

“The main goal of this crime and other crimes of successive Iraqi regimes against the Kurdish people was to genocide the Kurdish people and erase their identity,” Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said, urging Kurdish people to defend their rights and protect the status of the Kurdistan Region.

Both leaders also called for proper compensation for the victims’ families, lamenting a lack of interest from Baghdad to provide compensation and justice.

“The achievements and the political and constitutional status of the Kurdistan Region are the products of the blood of martyrs and sacrifices of the Kurdish people,” President Barzani stressed.

In the last days of the eight-year-long war between Iran and Iraq, warplanes of the former regime of dictator Saddam Hussein rained down a lethal cocktail of chemical weapons on the city of Halabja on March 16, 1988, killing at least 5,000 people, mostly women and children, and injuring hundreds of others.

The Halabja chemical attack, which was recognized as an act of genocide by Iraq's High Court in 2010, has left a permanent scar in the historical memory of the Kurdish people. It was part of the Baathist regime’s Anfal campaign against the Kurds that killed over 182,000 people.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/160320241
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Re: Haunted by the smell of apples: Kurds weep over Halabja

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 16, 2024 3:20 pm

Iraqi's denial of Kurdish rights

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On Saturday, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) President Masoud Barzani delivered a message on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of the chemical attack on Halabja, condemning the impetus within the Iraqi state to eradicate and deny the rights of Kurdish nation

President Barzani underlined, “the Halabja Chemical attack was a heinous crime; it was, and still is, testament to the cruelty and mentality of oppression by Kurdistan’s adversaries.”

He also highlighted that after more than three decades, “it is utterly disgraceful to see indications of denial and suppression within the Iraqi state against the rights of Kurdistani nation”

March 16th marks the solemn commemoration of the 36th anniversary of the devastating chemical attack on Halabja. Despite the Iraqi parliament's acknowledgment of the atrocity as genocide 13 years ago, the current Iraqi government, inheritor of the former regime, has refused to provide compensation to the victims.

On that fateful day in 1988, Iraqi warplanes unleashed chemical gas upon the heart of Halabja and its surroundings, claiming over 5,000 innocent lives and leaving over 10,000 others wounded, some of whom continue to endure unimaginable suffering.

Shockingly, 68% of the victims were children under 18 years old, and the aftermath saw the complete destruction of 198 out of 216 villages. Additionally, as citizens fled to Iran, 211 children from 74 families went missing.

The KRG has repeatedly called on its federal counterpart to compensate the victims of atrocities against Kurds committed by the former Iraqi regimes, including the infamous Anfal Campaign (1986-89) that killed an estimated 180,000 Kurds.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/story/34 ... ary-%C2%A0
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Re: Haunted by the smell of apples: Kurds weep over Halabja

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 16, 2024 3:24 pm

Halabja victims' cries unheeded

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On Saturday, during a debate organized by Kurdistan 24, the head of the Halabja Chemical Attack Victims Association Luqman Abdulqadir stated that the Iraqi government does not feel obliged to respond to the Halabja chemical attack case

Luqman Abdulqadir highlighted that the Iraqi government has not accepted the obligation to respond to the Halabja chemical attack crime in general and the victims in particular.

"We as the victims' association have visited Baghdad during the reign of all Iraqi prime ministers; successive delegations have come to Halabja to see the victims of chemical attack; however, thus far they have been to no avail," he said.

Abdulqadir denounced the Iraqi government’s attitude toward the people of Halabja, stating that the Iraqi government still treats Halabja and Kurdistan Region’s residents in general, as second-class citizens.

“There is unmistakable indication by the Iraqi government of discrimination between the citizens of the Kurdistan Region and other Iraqi provinces.” He remarked.

As a result, Mr. Abdulqadir underlined that, since the Iraqi regime has not been responsive to their requests, “as representative of the victims of Halabja, we turn to Kurdistan Region to provide improved efforts to enhance living circumstances of the Halabja attack victims and provide necessary medical surgeries for them.”

Comparing the current Iraqi government’s treatment of the Kurdistan Region to the monstrosity of Halabja massacre by the previous regime, Mr. Abdulqadir underscored that, “Before, the Iraqi state gassed Halabja and Balisan, but now they are targeting the entire Kurdistan Region as a political entity.”

“Perhaps the people in charge have changed in the Iraqi state and its government, but the mentality remains the same,” he added.

According to the estimates provided by Mr. Abdulqadir, the total number of victims of the Halabja chemical attack registered in the Kurdistan Region is 808 people. The victims are from Halabja, Shaqlawa, Balisan and Dukan.

Additionally, he pointed out that there have discrepancies in the correct number of the victims of Halabja, claiming that there have been registered victims that have never lived in Halabja.

“We urge the Kurdistan Region to create a committee of experts to revise the list of victims that had been prepared by the previous committee. The problem was that the previous committee did not have proper expertise in cases of chemical attacks and genocide,” he explained.

In his closing statement, Mr. Abdulqadir starkly emphasized the profound despair surrounding the Iraqi state and its government's inability to address the enduring agony and plight of the Halabja victims. "We must rely on international pressure to compel Iraq to provide restitution for these victims," he declared.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/story/34 ... s-unheeded
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Re: Haunted by the smell of apples: Kurds weep over Halabja

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 16, 2024 3:34 pm

PM Masrour Barzani vows to uphold Halabja's legacy

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Saturday, marking the 36th anniversary of the chemical attack on Halabja, announced that “the mass murder and genocide of Halabja shall always remain an open wound. We shall endeavor to remember the martyrs collectively and keep their memories alive.”

    Marking the solemn anniversary of the Halabja massacre, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani stated that, "The mentality behind the campaigns to erase and exterminate the Kurdish nation, still exists and we must all stand against it, we must all staunchly forbid those who seek to toy with the victims of our nation.”
He highlighted that the purpose is to sow seeds of defeatist mentality among the Kurdish nation and “seeks to undermine the constitutional status of the Kurdistan Region.”

Saturday March 16, marks the 36th anniversary of the chemical attack on Halabja. However, following 13 years since the Iraqi parliament recognized the crimes of chemical attack as genocide, the Iraqi government as the inheritor to the former regime has refused to compensate the victims.

On that fateful day in 1988, Iraqi warplanes unleashed chemical gas upon the heart of Halabja and its surroundings, claiming over 5,000 innocent lives and leaving over 10,000 others wounded, some of whom continue to endure unimaginable suffering.

    Shockingly, 68% of the victims were children under 18 years old, and the aftermath saw the complete destruction of 198 out of 216 villages. Additionally, as citizens fled to Iran, 211 children from 74 families went missing
The KRG has repeatedly called on its federal counterpart to compensate the victims of atrocities against Kurds committed by the former Iraqi regimes, including the infamous Anfal Campaign (1986-89) that killed an estimated 180,000 Kurds.

    Despite international condemnation, it was revealed in 2002 by the German newspaper “Die Tageszeitung” that over 158 international companies illicitly aided the Ba'ath regime in acquiring chemical and biological weapons. These companies spanned 11 countries, including Germany, the United States, France, and others
Justice has been slow but not entirely absent. In 2005, the Dutch Supreme Court sentenced Dutch businessman Frans van Anraat to 15 years in prison for his role in supplying chemicals used in the attack. Furthermore, the arrest and subsequent execution of Ali Hassan Majid, known as Chemical Ali, in 2010 marked a significant milestone in holding perpetrators accountable.

PM Barzani and the KRG Cabinet Honored
the Anniversary with a Reverent 5-Minute Silence
Reverberating the Resilience of Halabja's Martyrs.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/story/34 ... -injustice
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Re: Haunted by the smell of apples: Kurds weep over Halabja

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Apr 09, 2024 7:41 pm

Victims of Ba'ath regime still await compensation

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - In the wake of the 21st anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath regime, the Kurdish people of Iraq are still grappling with the enduring legacy of its brutal reign. Despite international recognition of the regime's atrocities as genocide, justice remains elusive for the victims and their families

The Ba'ath regime's crimes against the Kurdish population, including the infamous Anfal campaigns, chemical attacks, and systematic destruction of villages, continue to haunt the collective memory of the Kurdistan Region. Over 182,000 lives, including women, children, and youth, were tragically cut short during the eight stages of the Anfal, with horrifying accounts of elderly and disabled Kurds being buried alive.

One of the darkest chapters in this saga unfolded on March 16, 1988, when the Ba'ath regime unleashed chemical weapons on the town of Halabja, claiming the lives of more than 5,000 innocent civilians. The scars of this heinous act still linger, serving as a grim reminder of the regime's barbarity.

Moreover, the Ba'ath regime's policy of Arabization forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of Kurdish families from their ancestral lands, replacing them with Arab citizens. Despite the promise of restitution outlined in Iraq's constitution, particularly in Article 140, which mandates the return of displaced Kurds and the resolution of administrative disputes, successive Iraqi governments have failed to deliver on their commitments.

    Instead, Kurdish areas outside the Kurdistan Regional Government's jurisdiction continue to bear the brunt of ongoing Arabization efforts, perpetuating a cycle of injustice and displacement
As the world marks another year since the downfall of the Ba'ath regime, it is imperative that the international community redoubles its efforts to ensure justice for the Kurdish victims. Compensation for their losses and recognition of their suffering are not just moral imperatives but essential steps towards healing the wounds of the past and building a more inclusive future for all the victims.

The time for action is now, as justice delayed is justice denied.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/story/34 ... mpensation
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