An Anfal Survivor tells his story

Anfal cemetery

Anfal cemetery

Translated by Kamal Chomani:

Twitter: @KamalChomani

Today, 14-04, marks the 26th anniversary of the Anfal Campaign which was carried out by Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship and brought death to more than 100.000 innocent Kurds.

Anfal is the cruellest atrocity in the modern history of the Middle East. Here is the story of a survivor, Hassan Ali, 42 years old, whose account reminds us how Anfal can never be forgotten in our history.

“We are from Omerblin village. The Anfal campaign started in our area in 07-04-1987. My father said an unnumbered detachment of the army has come to our area and they are extremely hostile with very cruel ambitions. At that time, our village comprised 128 families. At the dawn of 09-04-1988 our village was vacated. On 13-04-1988 we all reached Qalla Charma village. At that time I was about 15 years old. My mother gave me 4 Iraqi Dinars and my dad gave me 20. They told me we might become separated and that I should have some cash in my pockets. Then on 14-04-198 my mother and I came on to the main street close to SarQalla between Kfri and Kalar. We saw that 22 men, some of them our relatives, had all been arrested by a military brigade and the traitors of the Fatah Bagi Jaf which had been awarded five of Saddam Hussein’s golden medals. So that was the last time I saw my father and other men who were taken away in a military patrol by the armed men.

My mother’s last cry for me

With five shepherds of our village we were taking care of a flock of sheep. My mother (Amina Ahmed) and my auntie (Sawsan Faraj) stayed with me. The commander of the brigade who was a brigadier talked with the traitors in Arabic. The traitors said, “we take these two women to Qorratu near to Kalar city and later we take the sheep straight to you’. They were talking in a way to show that the officer is sorry for us and wants to show his kindness. Afterwards, they forced my mother and auntie onto the back of a tractor and they started crying. Still I can see the picture of my mother. Her flowered shirt is still in front of my eyes. From the back of the tractor she was crying: “Hassan… Hassan…”

I never saw my mother again since then. All the detainees were transferred from Qorratu to Topzawa, West of Kirkuk. Then, on 17-04-1988, it was Ramadan. People told me that my mother was fasting. She had bought one kilo of sugar for two dinars from the soldiers, whereas 50 kilos of sugar then was usually only 10 dinars. My mother had bought sugar because she didn’t care much about being hungry but she was not able to survive without having tea. She loved tea so much.

I am not only a survivor of Anfal, I am not only left alone, but even my psyche was ‘anfalled’. How can I forget those moments when my mother was crying ‘Hassan…Hassan…’ at the back of the tractor?


The witnesses told me: my mother and the other women were taken at 3-4am, early morning, and no one was left in the first destination. When they took my mother, she had her own pot on the fire, and that’s why many times I have dreamed about my mother who told me, “Before killing us with guns, we are starved from hunger and thirsty”. This has left very bad impact on me and always makes me weep.

Two wishes

Often when I cry, I cry for two things. I am afraid that I may die and may not see the traitor chiefs being hanged. After 61 sessions of court, arrest papers have already issued for 423 of them in which 256 are for the betrayers under the name of tribal leaders and Sheikhs. I am also afraid that I may die but never find the remains of my parent’s corpses”.

Source: Weekly Awene

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