The army brought a large number of buses that looked like oversized
ambulances, because they had no windows: it was all metal plating.
Before the people were put in the buses, their names were called from lists,
and then written down on a new list. I stayed with my mother and sisters.
They drove from 6 a.m. until sunset. Then the bus stopped,
and the guards opened the doors. They took everyone and
they began pushing us into the trench that I saw in front of us.
An officer and a soldier stood next to the trench
and at once opened fire at us with Kalashnikovs.
I was hit in the flesh just above my left armpit.
I tried to climb out of the trench, toward the soldier on my right.
I saw that the soldier was moved to the point of crying.
But then the officer standing on my left-hand side gave an order to the soldier
and the soldier pushed me back into the trench, and fired at me in the lower right back.
Then the shooting stopped.
It was dark. The soldiers left.
I climbed out of the trench by myself. I began to walk, into the darkness.
There was no moon.
After a while I saw the shadow of a tent. Close to the tent,
dogs tried to attack me; they were barking. I threw stones at them.
The noise alerted the owner of the tent who came out with a flashlight.
When the man saw this boy in Kurdish dress who was bleeding,
he pulled me straight inside the tent.
After three days, the man took me to his brother’s family in Samawa.
After nine months, I was able to speak Arabic fluently,
and could tell my host family what had happened to me.
Taymour Abdullah Ahmad, Kurdish boy
Interviewed by Joost Hiltermann, adapted in “Genocide in Iraq,”
Human Rights Watch, July 1993
From the book, Kurdistan, In the Shadow of History.