A Few Days’ Life of Revolution in Halabja

By Yasin Aziz:download (1)

Published on Amazon, 24th April 2015

This is the story of my generation’s experience from the time of the 1961 September (Aylul) Revolution. As a child in Halabja I witnessed most of what was happening when the Iraqi monarchy was overthrown, with the hope of a democratic government and equality for all peoples of Iraq. For a few years, there was hope and happiness, but it did not last long; soon the Soviet Union began interfering by arming Iraq and the West did not like the toppling of the Iraqi monarchy. Before long, all hopes of peace, equality and of preserving human rights had been dashed and the Kurdish revolution began.

This story is about my generation’s experience of what happened, of how people desperately tried to survive despite the threat of racial harassment, bombing, arrest, torture, disappearance and execution and, finally, intensified by the Iran-Iraq war, the genocide of over 200,000 civilian Kurds and Arab Shi’ites of South Iraq.

In my book, I have tried to be honest in my telling of the story through the lives of a few characters. I am trying to illustrate the policy behind the division of Kurdistan and the creation of Iraq that led to the setting up of despotic regimes. These characters’ stories unfold at a time when their governing leaders from minority groups, like the Sunnis in Iraq and Shi’ites in Syria, combine with a corrupt system and false democracy in Turkey to found their despotic regimes in the Gulf.

I talk about the use of religion to fool people into accepting the rules of despotic Arab regimes in Iraq, parochial culture, the problem of occupation, Arabisation, ethnocide, linguicide and various forms of genocide.

The eight chapters cover the following:

A brief introduction of Kurdish history

A brief description of social life in Halabja

The downfall of the Iraqi monarchy and its consequences

The 1961 start of the Kurdish Revolution.

The story of the first army incursion – by Battalion 20 with 36 tanks and artillery pieces, towards the Sharazur plain and Halabja town, when 70 peshmarga gunmen held them back for over a week in 1964.

The effects of the revolution on the culture of people, the culture of corruption, the creation of mercenaries and internal conflict…

In 1968, the Ba’athist regime took over the government of Iraq, which was then followed by a chain of disastrous events.

The Iraqi regime’s campaign of Ba’athification (forcing people to support the regime) that led to the dehumanisation and corruption of all Iraqi culture, followed by the two big wars, between Iran and Iraq and the occupation of Kuwait.

In 1987, the campaign of genocide in several stages when tens of thousands of Kurdish villagers were taken to the deserts of South Iraq and shot dead. There is the brief story of 12-year-old Taimoor from Kulajo village, who survived the mass slaughter of his family, relatives and friends. There is the story of the Barzani people and the genocide of Bahdinan in Dahouk area, where many villagers were shot dead and their villages and properties burnt by the Iraqi army in 1987.

The story of the chemical attack on Halabja where many of my cousins and friends were gassed to death; one of my friends recounted to me what he witnessed that day as he was watching from the mountain overlooking the town.

There is the story of Kamaran Nawroz, telling what happened during the chemical attack and the role of Iran in Halabja. There are further eyewitness stories of what happened in Halabja, including the impact of WMD on Halabja and its surrounding villages where, to this day, babies are born dead and many people are still dying from their WMD injuries. Amongst all these stories there is a brief account of the Ba’athist regime’s bombing of Halabja in 1974, when my father was flattened under a two-storey building.

One of the highlights of the book is ‘The vengeful Peshmarga in Baghdad’, when a young man was asked by a Kurdish peshmarga leader to go to Baghdad on a mission to assassinate one of the Ba’athist heads of the security service. In Baghdad, he was expecting to get a pistol from a contact but, when he could not obtain the weapon, he used an axe to kill and smash the Ba’athist’s head.

There are sections about social life in Halabja before the war, teenage romance and life in teashops and markets. In chapter 4, the peaceful and simple way of life is compared to the situation during the genocide campaigns and the apocalyptic day of 16 March 1988 when thousands of Halabja civilians were gassed to death.

This is the first attempt at a Social History of the Kurdish Revolution, priced by Amazon at £44.43/ $66.18: Amazon Amazon UK

Note: I am not a politician; I am only trying to promote awareness of the suffering of a people whose only intention is to live in peace and to have their basic human rights respected.

Yasin Mahmoud Aziz is from Halabja and lives in the UK. He is the author of ‘Dum Dum Castle’ and ‘A Few Days Life of Revolution in Halabja’ . Email: yasin2111@hotmail.com


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