Anfal Memorial Day

Anfal mass graves

Today, April the 14th is the 27th anniversary of the genocidal Anfal operations carried out in 1988 by the army of Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi Kurdistan is celebrated.

“Anfal” literally means “spoils of war”. The name refers to the eighth Surah in the Koran, which states: “Prepare all the power that you have to kill the enemies of God and your enemies.” In fact the Anfal operation was not one but a series of military campaigns starting with the Anfal I in January 1988 until the Anfal VIII in August 1988. The shocking result of this campaign is 5000 destroyed villages and 182,000 killed civilians, many of whom were buried alive in mass graves.

It should be mentioned that Anfal was not a simple military operation. It was a comprehensive and carefully planned campaign to exterminate the Kurdish people representing the culmination of two decades of ongoing politics of Saddam Hussein’s Arabisation aimed at Kurdish lands and the “final solution” to the problem of the Kurds opposed to dictatorship and repression.

The Kurds are one of the few nations who survived the nightmare of the Holocaust. Jews and Armenians carefully cherish the memory of the tragedies that they endured, apealing for the international recognition of the tragedy.The Kurds also cannot neglect this responsibility. The Kurdistan Regional Government urges the international community to recognize the genocide of the Kurds (the relevant resolutions on this issue have already been accepted in the parliaments of Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and South Korea), and it constantly strives to bring to court all those responsible for the crime.

Today the nightmare of genocide returns to Kurdistan. ISIS fanatics killed and imprisoned thousands of Yezidi men and raped Yezidi women only for the fact of their religious and ethnic affiliation. May the memory of the tragedy which happened twenty-seven years ago unite us and the international community in their efforts to defeat ISIS as soon as possible and all those responsible for the genocide to be severely punished.