Halabja Monument to Kurdish victims of gas massacre

By :http://halabja.eu

In September 2003, six months after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the autonomous government of Iraqi Kurdistan built a towering memorial on the outskirts of the farming town of Halabja, near the border with Iran. At its opening ceremony, cheering crowds greeted Secretary of State Colin Powell and other U.S. officials. “What I can tell you is that what

happened here in 1988 is never going to happen again,” Powell said. But the sleek, modern museum and monument stood in stark contrast with the town it was built to honor. Halabja itself remains largely in rubble, and the HalabjaMonument is the only new building that the regional government has constructed in more than a decade. With a population of 80,000, the town has no paved roads, poor infrastructure, and scarce water and electricity supplies. Intended to serve as a symbol of civilian suffering under Saddam Hussein’s regime, the monument became a flash point for frustration about the lack of development in Halabja. The HalabjaMonument commemorates one of the worst atrocities of the Saddam Hussein era. On March 16, 1988, Hussein ordered army planes to drop mustard gas and the deadly nerve agent Sarin on the Kurdish farming town. About 5,000 men, women and children were killed in the attack. Another 10,000 were injured and many still suffer from respiratory illnesses, physical deformities, cancer, and other diseases. Over time, many Halabja residents came to view the memorial as a symbol of the government’s persistent inaction, incompetence, and corruption. On March 16, 2006, the 18th anniversary of the attacks, 150 demonstrators gathered in front of the memorial to block an official visit. Security forces fired shots into the crowd. A 17-year-old was killed in the resulting riot, and a dozen people were wounded. By the end of the day, between 3,000 and 5,000 town residents had joined the protest. In a seemingly spontaneous fashion, the demonstrators set the memorial on fire. At present the structure remains standing but is severely damaged. Ninety-five percent of the museum’s artifacts and art pieces were burned. Shortly after the riot, the Kurdish government pledged US$30 million to rehabilitate Halabja. Their efforts now focused on basic services such as water, roads, and health care. Lack of funds has indefinitely delayed any progress in refurbishing the damaged memorial. In June 2006, Sarkhel Ghafar Hama-Khan, a former teacher, was hired as the memorial’s new director. He said that engineers have assessed the amount of work needed to restore the monument, but that concrete steps have yet to be taken.

 

Halabja

Halabja (Photo credit: Kurdistan Photo كوردستان)

 

Halabja

Halabja (Photo credit: Kurdistan Photo كوردستان)

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Halabja: chemical bomb found in house

Halabja: chemical bomb found in house

A chemical bomb was found today in a house in Halabja where ‘The Bloody Friday’ took place in 1988.

The bomb belongs to chemical attack bombardment time in the second half of 1980s by former Saddam Hussain’s regime.

“A chemical bomb hit a property of a civilian in 1988 in Halabja,” Halabja mayor Goran Adham spoke to PUKmedia, “it destroyed the house but didn’t explode so that it remained there.”

“The owner builds another house on the destroyed ground after he came back home from the 1991’s uprising. He put the bomb beneath the new house’s foundation,” Adham continued.

The owner informed the local authorities just few days ago after he intends to rebuild the house, he added.

He also stated that they have visited the house and invited a special team of bomb disposal experts to get rid of the bomb.

The Halabja poison gas attack was a genocidal massacre against the Kurdish people that took place on March 16, 1988, during the closing days of the Iran–Iraq War, when chemical weapons were used by the Iraqi government forces in the Kurdish town of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The attack killed between 3,200 and 5,000 people, and injured around 7,000 to 10,000 more, most of them civilians. Thousands more died of complications, diseases, and birth defects in the years after the attack. The incident, which has been officially defined as an act of genocide against the Kurdish people in Iraq, was and still remains the largest chemical weapons attack directed against a civilian-populated area in history.

PUKmedia   2012-08-01  18:05:00

Halabja

Christine Gosden, University of Liverpool, Professor of Medical Genetics 

Topic: Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction.

HalabjaMap

halabja gas attack

3/27/2003: WASHINGTON, DC: 30 min.
Professor Gosden discusses the medical and health consequences of the use of Weapon of Mass Destruction by the Iraqi regime against the civilian population of Iraqi Kurdistan in Halabja and 200 other locations during the genocidal Anfal campaign directly ordered by Saddam Hussein.  

The Forgotten People (Canadian CBC Program on Kurds and chemical attacks on Halabja) 

15 March 2003
President Bush Remembers Halabja

Where is Halabja?
Halabja is a small town in the governorate of  Sualimaniyah in Iraqi kurdistanIt lies 250 km north-east of Baghdad and 11 kilometers from the Iranian border.

What happened in Halabja?

On March 16th 1988, Iraqi jets bombed the town of Halabja with chemical weapons.  At least 5,000 people were killed and 7,000 severely injured.  Fourteen years on, thousands are still suffering the affects of the chemical weapons.

The gases used included mustard gas, nerve agents sarin, tabun and VX.  This was the largest chemical attack on a civilian population ever.

Who was responsible?

Iraqi forces under the command of Ali Hassan Majid, infamously known as Ali Chemical by the Kurds, were responsible for this despicable act of inhumanity.

Background
The Government of Iraq carried out a genocidal campaign against the Kurds during 1988, near the end of the Iraq-Iran War.  It was conducted under the codename “Anfal.”  The Anfal was a campaign carried out in several stages primarily between February and September 1988 and was to be the Iraqi government’s permanent solution to the Kurdish problem.

Of all the atrocities committed against the Kurds during the Anfal, Halabja has come to symbolize the worst of the repression of the Iraqi Kurds. Halabja was a town of between 40-50,000 people located about 11 kilometers from the Iranian border. It became the target of conventional and chemical bomb attacks over three days in March of 1988.

During those three days, the town and the surrounding district were unmercifully attacked with bombs, artillery fire, and chemicals. The chemical weapons were the most destructive of life. The chemicals used included mustard gas and the nerve agents sarin, tabun, and VX. At least 5,000 people died immediately as a result of the chemical attack and it is estimated that up to 12,000 people in all died during the course of those three days.

Gallery

Kurdish Genocide – 1988 Thousands die in Halabja gas attack

Kurdish Genocide – 1988 Thousands die in Halabja gas attack The attack quickly killed thousands of people (around 5,000 dead) and injured around 11,000, most of them civilians. Halabja is kurdistan city

Kurdish Genocide: Halabja

“Of all the crimes committed against the Kurdish people through history, Halabja has come to symbolize the worst repression of the Kurdish People. Halabja was a town of 70,000 people located in Southern Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan) about 8-10 miles from the Iranian border. In 16 of March 1988 the town became a target of a chemical bomb attack over three days. During these three days, the Iraqi regime brutally attacked the town and the surrounding district with bombs, artillery and chemical bombs. The chemical weapons were the most destructive of them all. At least 5,000 of the town’s inhabitants died immediately as the result of the chemical bombings and up to 12,000 people died during the course of those three days. The chemicals used involved mustard gas, nerve agent and possibly cyanide.

The town of Halabja was bombarded more than twenty times by warplanes of the Iraqi regime with both cluster and chemical bombs. In the streets and alleys of Halabja there were dead bodies piled up over one another. (…)

The world should not forget this day and especially not the Kurdish people. We shall learn from the genocides committed to any people living on this planet and prevent anything that could lead to another mass murder or genocide. Today Turkey and Iran are bombing villages in Southern Kurdistan and keep doing so with the silence nor any condemnation of the world leading powers. (…)”

 

Killer of Muslims executed in Iraq

Iraq’s government spokesman says Saddam Hussein’s notorious cousin “Chemical Ali” was executed Monday about a week after being sentenced to death for the poison gas attacks that killed more than 5,000 Kurds in 1988.

"Chemical Ali" was executed Monday about a week after being sentenced to death for the poison gas attacks that killed more than 5,000 Kurds in 1988.

“Chemical Ali” was executed Monday about a week after being sentenced to death for the poison gas attacks that killed more than 5,000 Kurds in 1988.

 

 

News of the hanging came shortly after three car bombs struck downtown Baghdad. It was not immediately clear whether the attacks were linked the execution of Ali Hassan al-Majid.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh confirmed the execution took place.

‘Chemical Ali’ was sentenced to death four times. He was captured in August 2003, five months after the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Majid was first sentenced to death in June 2007 for his role in a military campaign against ethnic Kurds, codenamed Anfal, that lasted from February to August of 1988.

In December 2008, he received another death sentence for war crimes committed during the 1991 Shia uprising in southern Iraq, where about 100,000 people were massacred.

In March 2009, the Iraqi High Tribunal handed ‘Chemical Ali’ a third death sentence over the 1999 murders of dozens of Shia civilians in the Sadr City district of Baghdad and in the central city of Najaf.

An finally in January, Majid was convicted of ordering the gassing of Kurds in the Iraqi town of Halabja, a brutal attack that killed an estimated 5,000 people in the northeast of the country.

Chemical Ali awarded because of his genocides

Chemical Ali awarded because of his genocides

 

 

 

Remembering the Halabja chemical attack

Remembering the Halabja chemical attack  18.3.2012
By Raber Derayee
— ekurd.net

March 18, 2012         

halabja gas atack

The only crime of the people who were killed in the most brutal way was that they were Kurds

It was March 21, 1988. Just five days before Newroz, when people were preparing for the celebrations on March 21, when the Iraqi warplanes ordered by Ali Hassan Majeed (Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s cousin, who was dubbed Chemical Ali) flew over Halabja city and bombed it with different kinds of chemical and gas weapons.

For five hours, Iraqi war planes in batches of eight dropped chemical bombs on Halabja. The smell of apple filled the city. But the smell was not from apples – it was from the chemical bombs. Saddam’s army used the smell of apples for their weapons so that when they targeted people, the chemical would not smell like poison. The apple scent was designed to be inhaled.

As a result, more than 5,000 innocent people, including men, women, children and infants, died and thousands more were killed as a result of complications, diseases and birth defects in the following years. Around 10,000 people were injured, some of whom still suffer from the wounds caused by the chemicals.

The only crime of the people who were killed in the most brutal way was that they were Kurds. They dressed differently, spoke differently and wanted to live freely.

Chemical Ali was sentenced to death for orchestrating the 1988 massacre of Kurds. He was executed in January 2010.

The Halabja chemical attack, which was and still remains the largest chemical weapons attack directed against a civilian-populated area in history, was recognized by the Iraqi Supreme Criminal Court as an act of genocide which was welcomed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). 

gas atack

The only crime of the people who were killed in the most brutal way was that they were Kurds

Internationally however the massacre has not been recognized as such yet. The Parliament of Canada has only condemned the act as a crime against humanity while other countries have not bothered to do even that. Efforts however continue for greater recognition of the massacre as genocide by the international community.

On March 15, when the Iraqi parliament commemorated the massacre – the parliament has been commemorating the massacre since 2010 when the supreme court labeled it genocide – Deputy Speaker Arif Tayfur told the parliament: “We remember this heinous crime at a time when there is still regional and international silence about it.” Tayfur called on the international community to recognize the massacre as genocide.

Also on March 8, the Halabja genocide and the use of chemical weapons against Kurds were discussed in the European Parliament by politicians, academics and Kurdish organizations. The conference was opened by Jürgen Klute,http://www.ekurd.net German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the European United Left/Nordic Green Left.

“The European Union has responsibility not only to contribute to the peace in the region by political and economical means, but also to end the weapons supply to countries in conflict,” said the MEP, adding that “the poisonous gas used in the Halabja massacre originated from Germany and other European countries.”

KRG Minister Sabah Ahmad Mohammad could not attend personally the conference and instead sent a video message. “Today these crimes are internally recognized by Iraq and the international community should also recognize them as genocides,” he said.
Mohammad explained that the KRG is working on the establishment of lobbies, groups for support and advisory committees which will work in cooperation with the Kurdish ministries to achieve international recognition of the atrocities committed against Kurdish people.