Went last night to a demo organised by a womens’ group against Turkish military intervention in Kurdistan. They’re afraid that Turkey will carry out atrocities against Kurds if they enter Northern Iraq -- and according to a new report from Human Rights Watch they have good reason to be concerned.
Many of the women carried photos and paintings of husbands, brothers and sons who disappeared during the Anfal, the campaign of military actions against the Kurds by Saddam Hussein in 1988, when he carried out a campaign of systematic destruction, designed to punish the Kurds for siding with Iran in the war with Iraq.
You can read more about the Anfal here, here and here.
The most notorious incident was the chemical weapons attack in March 1988 on the town of Halabja, near the Iranian border. At least five thousand people died and thousands more were disabled permanently.
More on Halabja.
A university student who survived the Halabja attack told me her story. Here’s an excerpt:
“When the attack happened in Halabja I was five years old.
“I was so young that at first I didn’t know they were attacking us.
“I remember that we were eating our food in the morning when the attack on Halabja began. We went into the underground bunker in the house for safety.
“Everyone was in a hurry and was very afraid. Even parents didn’t take their children. Some just ran away.
“I was left behind when my parents ran away. My dress got caught in barbed wire and I couldn’t run after them. A man came and helped me and I ran and managed to catch up with my mother and father.
“It was a rainy day and there was mud everywhere. We ran all the way to Iran without shoes on.”