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 The 22nd Anniversary of the Bombardment of the City of Halabja!

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The 22nd Anniversary of the Bombardment of the City of Halabja  10.4.2010  
By Dana Berzinjy - a longtime contributing writer for ekurd.net  

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April 10, 2010

Australia/Sydney, Dana Berzinjy, (eKurd.net). The 22nd Anniversary of the Bombardment of the City of Halabja by the Former Iraqi Government on the 16th of March 1988!

I would like to tell you that what happened to the Kurds 22 years ago in our Homeland (the Iraqi Kurdistan). The city of Halabja, with a population of nearly 105,000 is located in the province of Sulaimaniyah. The world's most severe attacks, with thousands of tons of chemical and biological weapons used against the unarmed civilian population of (Kurdistan/Northern Iraq) on 16th March 1988. The people of Halabja were attacked by aircrafts that dropped bombs; thousands of tons of chemical and biological weapons. These attacks form one of the most terrible human rights violations in modern history.                             


Dana Berzinjy

Throughout the sequence of assaults in 1988, victims were exposed to the maximum doses of the largely strong cocktails of chemical and biological nerve and mustard agents that were ever used against civilians. These cocktails caused malformations and cancer, kill, paralyse and caused immediate and lasting neuropsychiatric damage. Even the cocktails were able to kill babies in utero, and children and adults from fast growing untreatable and fatal cancers. Five thousand died immediately and more than 50,000 survivors suffer long-term effects. Many thousands

survived the first assault then died later on from conditions such as cancers, heart failure, congenital malformations and so on. Twenty two years after the attacks, nobody has taken this problem seriously and to find out about whether soil and water remain polluted and contaminated. I firmly believe the international community has failed to support the people of Halabja.

The former Iraqi Government assaulted an extremely defenceless population that incorporated women, children and the old people. These people were the target of bombs, stayed alone and oppressed ones of the worlds. People rose from under tons of remains, and stood up in the lands of poisonous and smell of chemical bombings, and the Kurds kept up the standing and fighting for our national rights that we believe in. We have been fighting and struggling against oppression in this way for so long. The Iraqi fighter aircrafts bombarded the city of Halabja and Khormal by the chemical bombing; this was the starting of the vast crime of history. Children sought the shelter of their mothers' arms. This bombardment was one of the most disgraceful and terrified inhumane crimes of history in Halabja. The town of Halabja came under attack by chemical and cluster bombs over 25 times by Iraqi fighter aircrafts.

On Thursday March 17, 1988, and on Friday March 18, took place one of the most shameful and fearful inhumane crimes in Halabja. People on streets and pathways rolled over each other. The sound of crying rose from the entire town. Thousands of people were sleeping cheerfully in their beds and did not know about these awful attacks, but they were subjected prior to sunrise to chemical bombardment, and poisonous gases but unfortunately the gassing of the city did not let them get out of their beds. The person who ordered that city to be bombarded was Chemical Ali'. Ali Hassan al Majid was better known as 'Chemical Ali' for his role in the gassing of the Kurds, and the deaths of thousands of Iraqi Kurds in Halabja and other villages and country towns of Kurdistan during the Iran-Iraq war. Majid, a close cousin of Saddam Hussein, had been sentenced to death three times before. The execution was finally carried out a week According to the news from Baghdad the capital of Iraq the “Chemical Ali" was executed on Monday, after his fourth death sentence was handed down. (3). He was first sentenced to hang for another campaign against Kurds a few months before the gas attack.

"Chemical Ali was the symbol of crimes and genocide in modern history. Handing down the ruling, Judge Abud Mustapha al-Hamani branded Majid's offences as "deliberate murder, a crime against humanity" when the verdict was delivered amid muffled applause in the courtroom.

Chemical Ali was a member of the decision-making Revolutionary Command Council and regularly announced to wipe out the Kurds and the Kurdish Freedom Fighters (3).In 1997-1998 the Iraqi government developed, more weapons, including the potent nerve agent VX and the biological weapons anthrax and the viciously toxic mycotoxins. I believe that Iraq used in the attacks, these two dangerous biological agents, such as, Mycotoxins, including trichothecenes. People in the world had seen the evidence of deformity and mutation following from the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1).

I want to say that the unjust eyes of the world never opened truly towards the oppressed. We are always being the target of poisonous bombardments; we remain the lonely oppressed ones of the world. This was the beginning of the great crime of history. A mother, who embraced her one-year-old baby, fell down two steps from her house and was martyred. In every street and the corners of Halabja, women and children were martyred as a result of the deployment of the chemical weapons. A father sat over the bodies of his wife and ten of his kids in one of the pathways of Halabja and was crying. The crimes Iraq committed in the past were enormous, and it was a catastrophe. Fatal wounds on the dead bodies of the people were evident. Saddam's crime was not just in Halabja but this tragedy targeted against the Iranian Kurdistan in Sardasht as well. Thousands of innocent people martyred and thousands more were injured. The Iraqi regime signed the 1925 protocol of Geneva of the prevention of the use of the chemical and biological weapons in wars in 1931. The regulations of the 1972 Convention of Geneva demanding all countries to stop production, achievement and storing up of all sorts of chemical and biological weapons and to destroy them and the UN 37/98 decision put emphasis on the necessity of monitoring the articles and contents of the 1925 protocol and the 1972 Convention of Geneva have also been accepted by the UN member countries including Iraq. In April 1987, more than twenty four villages of Kurdistan were attacked by the bombardment; the villages were bombarded twice in less than 48 hours. Saber Ahmad Khoshnam, one of the citizens of the bombarded villages in Loqmanodulleh Hospital in Tehran on 28th of April 1987, told the journalists that the Iraqi war planes used 18 chemical bombs at Sheikh Dassan, Kani Bard, Pasian and Tuteman villages, and over hundred people of these villages were wounded in these attacks and that he saw the entire family in Parsian village had lost their vision.

The UN representatives visited Iran twice and organized reports from the campaign of the chemical weapons against the defenceless people and gave it them to the United Nations in reports number S/1 6433 and S/18852 and after these reports were handed over in the general secretary to the Security Council, in the end joined individuals, organizations, and condemned Iraq's use of chemical weapons. But the former Iraqi Government leaders did not care and continued their crimes against the Kurds.

European countries and American mass media, visited Halabja, and found truth about the awful crimes committed by the Iraqi former regime.
Some of the materials relocated by the world press concerning the chemical bombardment of Halabja are as follows:

An article published by the London Daily., the independent, on 23rd of March, 1988:
" The slaughter of 5,000, Kurds in Iraqi poison gas attacks underlines a dangerous new dimension in the volatile Middle East: the growth of the chemical warfare capability of several important regional powers, and the fear that, despite efforts to curb these weapons, they could be used more widely. Iraq was helped by British, West German, Indian, Austrian, Belgian, and Italian companies, despite bans on the sale of chemical that could have military use. The above countries preferred business deals rather than the values of humanity and human beings. They

participated in the crime despite of the bans of the sale of chemical weapons. Do we not have the right to sue these criminals and to take them to the International Court, and find out who sold the chemicals the business men or the Governments themselves?

"Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran on a very large scale for three years during the war. The United Nations had investigated into the use of chemical warfare agents in the Iraq-Iran war and they said unequivocally on all three occasions that Iraq had used chemical warfare agents.
They said that mustard gas was certainly used on all three occasions, that was in 1984, 1986 anti 1987. They said that they had evidenced that a nerve agent, tabun, was used. The investigation carried by a well qualified team, so one has no doubt in there mind that they have been used." When some one like Chemical Ali was in court for such along time but the current Islamic Republic of Iran kept quiet and they never sued this criminal for the crimes that were committed against the Kurds and the Iranian citizen. I believe the Iranian Government is also liable for the quietness about this issue, and in itself is a crime. Iran should have asked the Iraqi and the International Courts for compensation for the genocide that was committed against the Iranian Citizens during the Iraqi and Iran war.

Article from Halabja by David Hirt, Middle East correspondent of London Daily, the Guardian, published on March 23, 1988:
“NO wounds, no blood, no traces” of explosions can be found on the bodies - scores of men, women and children, livestock and pet animals - that litter the flat-topped dwellings and crude earthen streets in this remote and neglected Kurdish town...
“The skin of the bodies is strangely discoloured, with their eyes open and staring where they have not disappeared into their sockets, a greyish slime oozing from their mouths and their fingers still grotesquely twisted. All the European countries condemn this genocide against the Kurds and humanity, but only the Arabs and the Muslims kept quiet and did not condemn this crime against our nation. I believe the quietness of the Arabs and Muslim world had proved their support for the former executed the Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein and his cousin (Chemical Ali). Their acts proved that they are the real occupiers of our Homeland in South of Kurdistan and Western of Kurdistan. The Arab writers didn’t even write one word about this genocide and atrocities of our people.

The Kurdish regional Government from its capital Erbil (Hewler) confirmed that an Iraqi supreme court overturned the previous decision by recognizing chemical weapons attacks on the Kurdish city of Halabja in 1988 as an act of genocide. The Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal said the Halabja weapons attack was an offence against humankind; this decision has a huge impact to reinstate the rights of the Kurdish people. I am sure that the Iraqi Government and the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal would not have recognised the Chemical Bombardment of the city of Halabja in 1988 is Genocide without Kurdish efforts. So in this occasion, I would like to congratulate the Kurdish Regional Government,
www.ekurd.netthe Kurdish Parliamentarians in Baghdad and The Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal on this victory. The Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal has proved the truth about the case of Halabga and it shows the court works under laws and applies justice without any discrimination. Congratulations on this great and brave decision, and has never done anything in this regard for the last 8 decades, or since the Kurdistan was forced to be linked to Iraq.

It is also, the former Baath Party regime of Saddam Hussein that link’s to genocide of the Anfal operation. Anfal was against Kurdish existence led by the Iraqi former regime in 1986 and 1989 and involved a series of army operations against the Kurdish Freedom Fighters the Kurdish civilian population of southern Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan). In the campaign, chemical weapons used and in Anfal campaign over 200,000 Kurdish civilians and Freedom Fighters were killed and over 4,000 Kurdish villages ruined in a response to a Kurdish revolution (2).

In March 1987, the Baath party placed Chemical Ali'in charge of state agencies in the Kurdish region, for the police, and military forces.
Joost Hiltermann, deputy program director for the Middle East and North Africa at International Crisis Group, said what set Halabja apart was its "full scale attack on a population centre with a weapon of mass destruction."

"In terms of proliferation and human rights abuses, this is an order of magnitude different than going into a city and just shooting up the place," said Hiltermann, who is the author of a book on the Halabja attacks (3). In this occasion the United Kurdish Association in Sydney assembled in the city on 16 March and condemned the former Iraqi Government for their crimes against the Kurds in particular and the humanity in general.
We hope that the hanging of this criminal; Chemical Ali would be a good lesson for the other dictators to stop their assaults and act of genocide against defenceless people. For instance the President Omar al-Bashir the Dictator, who committed crimes in Darfur wars. The UN said that 300,000 innocent people died in the Darfur conflict since 2003.

Mogadishu was the capital of Somalia, a country that suffered for 21 years under the dictatorship of Siyad Barre. In 1990, Siyad Barre lost power over all the regions. The Dictator Siyad Barre's regime bombarded the city and used the variety of different heavy artillery, such as ground to ground missiles, then at the result of the bombardment and the civil war led to huge civilian casualties.

Genocide in Galcayo the International Criminal Court will review bringing genocide charges against Sudan's president. The International Criminal Court permit was issued for President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes against humanity in Darfur. Prosecutors say Mr Bashir's government wanted to wipe out three ethnic groups. He intended to destroy the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa peoples.

If genocide charges brought, they will be the first to be issued by the The International Criminal Court against a head of state.
African and the Arab leaders united around Mr Bashir and rejected to honour the existing warrant. I want to say, it is not the first time that the Arab Muslim leaders support criminal leaders that committed crimes against their own people, for instance previously the Arab leaders had supported the former executed Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein and his cousin Chemical Ali. Even now a country like Syria is doing the same thing in the Kurdish regions; the police and security men and the Syrian Army kill innocent Kurdish people, Newroz the Kurdish New Year 2010 witnesses the Syrian crimes, by shooting the Kurds and by denying their rights to celebrate their Kurdish New Year Newroz on 21st March. This Newroz in Syria 2 Kurds were killed and over 50 Kurdish Syrian Citizens were injured by the Syrian Security Forces. Syria is one of the worst Arab State that supports terrorism and sends insurgents to Iraq, Syrian aims to destroy the Democratic Political system in Iraq. Due that the Syrian State of Terror does not believe in Democracy except dictatorship, and oppress non Arab nations, in order to keep and occupy their homelands forever.

The Dictator, Mr Bashir went to Qatar some time ago and he was welcomed by the Qatari leader, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah al-Thani, Sudanese

state radio said. This is the fairness of the Arab Leaders about the human rights. But despite of everything Joy Bidden is asking for another state for the Palestinian people, but the US Government and the authorities in the United States of America are still deaf and blind and cannot see the other nationalities in the Middle East who lived there thousands of years before the arrival of the Arabs from Sahara and the Turks from China to the area. Their eyes can’t be opened and they can’t see the indigenous people except the oppressors and the occupiers. At the end, I hope the United States of America and the British wont repeat the mistakes of the past centuries and will work seriously in the modern century to change their political strategies and try to help non Arab nations of the Middle East and the rest of the world in order to have their independent states and spread of democracy. If the United States of America really wants to spread a true democracy in the dark corners of the world, the US government must prove to the nations of the oppressed world practically not just in words, otherwise nobody will believe in the US Government and slowly they will lose their trust an their credibility in the eyes of the oppressed nations that have been struggling for a prolonged time. It is also a duty of Kurdish regional Government to send its message to the World throughout its consulates about Halabja and the Anfal Kurdish Genocide, in order this great mission to be successful, they need to provide finance for these matters and work hard, and provide all evident to the United nation, US, England, Sweden, France, and the other countries in order to get approval and recognitions from their Parliaments, about the Kurdish genocide. It also to find out about those criminals that participated in the crime by selling and supplying chemicals to the former collapsed Iraqi Government.

Author: Dana Berzinjy

These are some of the pictures from the City of Halabja, the Genocide of the Kurds.

In one single chemical attack in 1988 on the Kurdish town of Halabja more than 5000 civilian Kurds were killed

The Kurdish civilians were killed by Sarin and VX gas in the Kurdish city of Halabja. The 1988 massacre of Kurds, in the city of Halabja.

Bibliography

1. Christine Gosden and Mike Amitay, 20th 1999.
2. 1988 Kurdish massacre labelled genocide, 9.3.2010, Baghdad Declares 1988 Massacre Genocide, ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq.
3. Iraq executes Saddam henchman "Chemical Ali" 25.1.2010, Baghdad/Iraq. www.ekurd.net


Dana Berzinjy,
a freelance writer, Sydney/Australia, April 10, 2010, for eKURD.NET © All Rights Reserved. You may reach the author via email at: danaberzinjy (at) ekurd.net or dara_dar (at) yahoo.com.au  

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Copyright © 2010 ekurd.net. All rights reserved

About the Author: Master in TESOL from University of Western Sydney in 1995. Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) Faculty of Education {University of Western Sydney macarthur} 2001-2002. Postgraduate Diploma in Adult Education (Teaching English of Speakers Other Languages) Faculty of Education {University of Western Sydney macarthur} 1999-2001. Postgraduate Diploma in Business ( Employment Relations Law) Faculty of Business ( University of Technology Sydney) 1997-1999. Bachelor of Business (Commerce and Human Resource management) ( Southern Cross University) 1992-1996 Lismore.     

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