A few days ago, the recovered bodies of more than 100 children who died during the Saddam’s genocidal Al-Anfal campaign were buried in the Kurdish town of Chamchamal. The children had been detained in an internment camp in 1988 during a wave of arrests and attacks on the Kurdish people.
Anfal commenced in mid-April, some 22 years ago. The series of attacks on the Kurdish people were lead by Saddam Hussein and Ali Hassan al-Majid—known as “Chemical Ali”, who was tried and executed for these crimes just last January. Villages were razed, civilians were displaced, and many were executed. Others were sent to concentration camps. Children were taken from their mothers. Approximately 180,000 people died or disappeared during the campaign.
On Tuesday, the recovered bodies were finaly laid to rest in a ceremony in Chamchamal. Peshmerga fighters buried the coffins draped with Kurdish flags in a cemetery created specifically for the ceremony. More than 4,000 people attended, including Barham Salih, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and Nechirvan Barzani, former Prime Minister. Other KRG officials, foreign diplomats and family members of victims were also there.
This is a tragic reminder of the brutality the Kurds suffered under Saddam Hussein’s reign. Now, however, the children are finally getting the respect they deserve. We must never forget them, or anyone who became victim to the tyranny of government.