Yesterday, (May 16th, 2013) was the 25th anniversary of the Halabja Gas Attack and Anfal Campaign against the Kurdish people in Iraq and many people have never even heard of these two words. Halabja Gas Attack resulted in the murder of over 5,000 Kurds in Iraq by Saddam Hussain’s forces. This was one of the operations part of the Anfal Campaign. The Campaign lasted for three years (1986-1989). During this time, Kurds along with other minorities (Assyrians, Jews, Turkmens) were deported and attacked via chemical warfare, ground offensive and destruction of settlements. On May 16th 1988, mustard gas and nerve agents were dropped on the town of Halabja, instantly killing men, women and children. Those who survived, carry the pain of loss as well as deadly diseases such as cancer.
I had the chance to attend and speak at the Kurdish Genocide Commemoration Ceremony in Toronto, yesterday. Listening to their experiences and pain reminded me of my own community. Although this was a time to commemorate the innocent and learn about the history of the Kurds under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussain, I also had an opportunity to learn about their efforts to get the Canadian parliament to recognize Anfal Campaign and Halabja Gas Attack as Genocide. MP Jim Karygiannis is the sponsor of motion M-505, which asks the Canadian government to recognize the crimes of Halabja and Anfal as Kurdish Genocide.
Speaking from experience, this is a positive step forward and It was great to see the presence of Canadian politicians at the commemoration and their willingness to support this motion. Unfortunately, politicians can only present the motion in the House of Commons. It is up to the greater public to demonstrate that they want this motion to pass in the Parliament. That means lobbying and campaigning online and in person is very important. Further, as citizens of this country and supporters of human rights, it is our duty to educate ourselves and support our fellow community members.
That being said, I want to take this opportunity to share the link to the online petition. Please take a moment to sign the petition and share with your friends. My community successfully got Resolution M-416 that recognized the Genocide in Srebrenica passed in 2010. This would not have been possible without a community effort. We did it once now lets do it again.
SIGN AND SHARE: The KURDISH GENOCIDE PETITION !!!!