Wednesday, 17 March 2010


I told my friend L that I would blog today to raise awareness of the continued troubles of the Kurdish people.

Yesterday and today, the 16th - 17th March was the anniversary of the 1988 attack by Iraqi forces on the Kurdish city of Halabja. Over 5,000 people were killed when Iraqi planes dropped chemical weapons. Chemical weapons are part of the notorious weapons of mass destruction.

The massacre at Halabja came at the end of an extended campaign, known as al-Anfal, to exterminate Kurds in Iraq. The 'ethnic cleansing' started in April 1987 and an estimated 100,000 people were slaughtered.

Kurdistan is an area that comprises parts of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, although Kurds are ethno-linguistically Iranian. Kurds have frequently been displaced from their homeland and so groups exist throughout Europe, Asia Minor and North America.

It is far from rare that despots and just fellow-citizens discriminate against groups within societies.
Kiran Desai in 'The Inheritance of Loss' shows us an example in the Indian Himalayas. Khaled Hosseini does the same for Afghanistan in 'The Kite Runner', and in Syria, the Kurds continue to be oppressed.

There is a petition to show solidarity with the Kurdish people, to end oppression and discrimination, and to uphold the values of democracy. If you feel able to sign it, you can find it here.

1 comment:

Sleepy said...

+ what was done to the Marsh Arabs.
Horrific ethnic cleansing there. Chemical Ali test ground.