A tragedy whose wounds are still crying for today … Halabja

Selava Omar –

32 years have passed since the massacres of the Kurdish city of “Halabja”, but its tragedy and wounds are still present in the heart and conscience of the Kurdish people and the whole world, while the survivors of them still suffer from the effects of chemotherapy.

The Kurdish city of Halabja, about 240 km northeast of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and 11 km from the Iranian border, was subjected to artillery shelling throughout the days of 14 and 15 March 1988, as it seemed to be preparing for another scenario by shattering the windows of houses.

It was cloudy, as if the sun had felt an awful proximity to what was going to happen, and I decided not to witness the dormancy of this painful city, and on the ground there was calm after the continuous bombing of two consecutive days.

At 11:30, 50 Iraqi warplanes flew over the city of Halabja, which was inhabited by 80,000 people, and began to rain the city with rockets and bombs for five consecutive hours, unloading their chemical weapons and toxic gases over the heads of civilians, and the sky started raining toxins in its day.

After the bombing, the city sank into a long slumber, no movement was heard in it, and the traces of life were absent, according to those who lived in those days.

Within a few hours, more than 5,000 civilians lost their lives, including children, women and the elderly, and 7-10,000 others were injured.

The chemical attack by the Iraqi forces on Halabja was considered the worst massacre in the country, as bodies were dumped everywhere.

After analyzing samples collected from the city and the victims later, experts confirmed that three types of toxic gases were used to bomb the city (Cyanide, Poisonous Mustard Gas and Sarin gas that affects the nerves).

Years later … Amnesty International collected the names of more than 17,000 people who disappeared in 1988 from the city of Halabja in the chemical bombing and Anfal, while there are still hundreds of missing persons, according to what the organization published on its official website.

“During the chemical attacks we were in the vicinity of the Sirwan River, there was no way out, suddenly we saw the planes dropping the bombs, and then a very unpleasant smell came; it was like the smell of the burnt tire, without knowing it was the smell of the chemical,” said one witness and those injured in the chemical bombing of Halabja city.
He also indicated that he inhaled the poisonous gases that led to his poisoning, and returned to his memory what happened on that day, and said: “Some people came and took us in a car, and we headed to the other side of the border towards Iranian cities, we asked them where we are? They told us this is the “Kermanshah” Hospital And from there we got into a car and headed to Tehran; I stayed in the Tehran hospital for about 28 days, and then they sent us to the camps.
He pointed out that they were transferred to the “Bahrika” area of ​​Howler, where he remained for two years, and said that they lived under the “nylon” tents, then to return again to the city of Halabja.

The Halabja massacre, did not leave the world in front of distorting laws and provisions, because this massacre met the criteria of the 1948 Genocide Convention in defining genocide.
On December 5, 2012, the Swedish Parliament recognized that the Halabja massacre was genocide against the Kurds, as other courts have recognized.

The state of terror did not dissolve even after three decades after the massacre. The remains of mustard gas used in the bombing are still present, affecting agriculture and nature in general.

In contrast to the “sarin” nerve gas that evaporates, mustard gas is heavier in the air, as it falls to the ground and forms pockets whose effects last.

According to observers, the city of Halabja is still suffering from the effects of that chemical bombardment, as many fetuses are still born with physical disabilities, as a result of the impact of the chemicals used in that massacre.

The massacres against the Kurdish people are repeated from time immemorial to the present day. They are exposed to many massacres and genocide at the hands of authoritarian regimes occupying Kurdistan, starting with the “Dersem” massacre that occurred in 1938, through Halabja 1988, ISIS massacres in “Shankal” in 2014 and in “Kobani” 2015, and its last chapters are the massacres committed by Turkey in “Afrin”,”Sri Kaneh” and “Keri Sepi” as of 2018.

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