Never Forget: Halabja 25 Years OnPosted: March 16, 2013
Today marks the 25th anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s chemical attack on the town of Halabja: on March 16th 1988, as many as 5000 Kurds breathed as they did and then suddenly found that the air was poison. It was the most publicised event of the 1987-88 Anfal campaign: a systematic genocide of all the Kurdish and non-Arab peoples in the north of Iraq, leading to as many as 200,000 deaths. It should, I think, stand symbolic of the war against terrorism, however it manifests itself. There are some very distressing photographs online, but I decided against including them. Sometimes our imagination can capture horror well enough.
As the Kurdish ambassador said to Nick Cohen, “Everyone wants to remember Fallujah and no one wants to remember Halabja.” Well, for all the justifiable criticisms levied against the war 10 years on, we must never forget what the alternatives may have been.