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Kurdish artist unveils memorial to victims of Anfal killings

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Kurdish artist unveils memorial to victims of Anfal killings

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:30 pm

Kurdish artist unveils memorial to victims of Anfal killings

A Kurdish artist has unveiled a new iron mural in the Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah, commemorating the victims of Saddam Hussein’s “Anfal” campaign that targeted Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s.

The memorial, entitled “Anfal and Oppression”, was created by Kurdish sculptor Othman Qader, himself a survivor of the campaign. It depicts a family fleeing their home, which he says symbolises all Kurdish families who suffered during the period.

The 22-meter-long (72 ft) mural, which overlooks a main street in Sulaimaniyah, cost 5 million Iraqi dinars ($4,000) and was funded by Iraq’s Ministry of Culture.

“I was one of those who fled the Anfal operation. I saw with my own eyes the atrocities and oppression by the (ruling Iraqi) Ba‘ath party against my people,” Qader told Reuters.

“I decided to narrate such atrocities to the next generations through my artistic work to let them know the extent of the oppression that the Kurdish people are subjected to.”

During Anfal, which translates as “Spoils of War”, thousands of villages, declared “prohibited areas” by Saddam’s government, were razed and bombed as part of a scorched-earth campaign.

Turkey had a similar policy but the world seems to have overlooked that fact

The Anfal campaign began in 1986 and lasted until 1989, and was headed by Ali Hassan al-Majid (a cousin of then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from Saddam's hometown of Tikrit). The Anfal campaign included the use of ground offensives, aerial bombing, systematic destruction of settlements, mass deportation, firing squads, and chemical warfare, which earned al-Majid the nickname of "Chemical Ali".

Thousands of civilians were killed during the anti-insurgent campaigns stretching from the spring of 1987 through the fall of 1988. The attacks were part of a long-standing campaign that destroyed approximately 4,500 Kurdish and at least 31 Assyrian Christian villages in areas of northern Iraq and displaced at least a million of the country's estimated 3.5 million Kurdish population. Amnesty International collected the names of more than 17,000 people who had "disappeared" during 1988.

The campaign has been characterized as genocidal in nature. It is also characterized as gendercidal, because "battle-age" men were the primary targets, according to Human Rights Watch/Middle East. According to the Iraqi prosecutors and Kurdish officials, possibly more than 200,000 people were killed.

Under President Reagan, the United States continued to aid Iraq after receiving reports of the use of poison gas on Kurdish civilians.
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Kurdish artist unveils memorial to victims of Anfal killings

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