Kurdistan Region marks 36th anniversary of Barzani genocide

The Kurdistan Region is set to hold a special ceremony on Wednesday to mark the 36th anniversary of the Barzani genocide, with senior officials expected to be in attendance.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region is set to hold a special ceremony on Wednesday to mark the 36th anniversary of the Barzani genocide, with senior officials expected to be in attendance.

The ceremony will start at 04:30 pm local time, in the memorial graveyard of the Barzanis, located in Erbil Province’s Barzan area, Baravan Hamdi, the Undersecretary of the Kurdistan Region's Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs, told Kurdistan 24.

He mentioned that the three presidencies of the Kurdistan Region, along with the presidency of the Iraqi Parliament, representatives of the Iraqi federal government, and foreign diplomats in the country will attend the event.

On July 31, 1983, the Ba’athist regime in Iraq took around 8,000 members of the Barzani tribe, including men, women, and children, to deserts in southern Iraq, executing them indiscriminately before burying them in mass graves.

Remains of some have been already found in southern Iraq and been transferred to the Kurdistan Region, but the whereabouts of most of victims up to now remain unknown.

Anfal is the Arabic term used in the Quran for “spoils of war.”

It was the word chosen by Saddam Hussein’s regime when they launched the campaign against civilians in different areas of the Kurdistan Region.

Anfal was a multi-phase political, military, economic, cultural, and social process of annihilation by the former Iraqi regime led by Hussein. The campaign resulted in the deaths of an estimated 182,000 Kurds and the eradication of 5,000 villages.

Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, Masrour Barzani, in a statement released on Wednesday, said that despite the civilian executions and the repeated destruction of villages in Barzan, the former Iraqi government failed to extinguish the resistance and fight of the Kurdish people.

He mentioned that the struggles and sacrifices of Kurds and Peshmerga forces “resulted in the elimination of Anfal campaigners and in the success of the Kurdistan Region, with our people continuing to survive.”

Barzani noted that his government will do its best to serve the families of Anfal victims and provide for them. He also added their rights and entitlements is a point the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will negotiate with the federal government of Iraq to secure the “moral and financial compensation of the victims of the genocide” in the Kurdistan Region.

The President of the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and former President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, also commemorated the “barbaric” and “inhumane” crime by the former government of Iraq in a separate statement.

“The enemy committed genocide against 8,000 Barzanis, but they failed to eliminate their beliefs [The Barzanis’ drive to revolt and resist to secure Kurdish rights] that up to now, continues to represent the Kurdish people,” Barzani said. Despite holding no governmental posts, Barzani remains a key political figure in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

The senior Kurdish leader expressed his concerns that, although 36 years have passed since the Anfal campaign, “chauvinistic and Anfal campaigner-like attitudes” can still occasionally be witnessed. His comment is believed to indirectly refer to the behavior and comments of some Iraqi politicians and military officers.

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“In the commemoration of the Barzani Anfal campaign, I would like to stress that the anniversary is not only to remember the pains our people have suffered but also to put all efforts together to eradicate the ideology that led to the Anfal [genocidal] campaign against us,” Barzani continued.

“It’s time to wake up the international community as the mass graves of our dears are being unearthed in Iraqi deserts, for them to be ashamed and know what crimes were committed against us while they remained silent.”

Editing by Nadia Riva