Today (16 March 2022) marks the 34th Anniversary of the Halabja Massacre. This day witnessed a crime against humanity and a genocidal act against the Kurdish People: killing over 5,000 and injuring 10,000 innocent civilians including women and children. The UN medical investigation later confirmed the use of Mustard Gas and unidentifiable nerve gases.
Kurds are the sons and daughters of the 12th Century extremely generous and compassionate Sultan Salah AdDin Ayyubi the Great, who was the first Sultan of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, parts of modern day Turkey and Hijaz of Saudi Arabia. His legacy included a supreme act of generosity: leaving almost all of his personal wealth, property and belongings to his subjects.
To commemorate this occasion the Kurdish House of Leeds, Nawruz School and the Kurdish Community held an event in which school children delivered a special performance to remember this day. Candles were lit to remember the victims of this massacre. Apples were a symbolic part of the stage decorations and display as according to some survivors of the attack, the gas shells on that day smelled just like Fresh Apples.
Rebwar Sharazure of the Kurdish House Leeds and organiser of the event said:
“We will never forget this Genocide and we wish it does not happen to anyone ever again. The Kurdish people expect that the world supports their demand for an Independent Kurdistan.
“I would like to thank Leeds City Council and our local councillors for their continued support and also for helping us to plant a tree couple of years ago in the city centre remembering the victims of Halabja Genocide.”
Councillor Gohar Almass MEE who represents Beeston & Holbeck Ward said:
”It was extremely emotional to watch the children’s performance, I’ve come along today with my daughters to express our solidarity with the oppressed Kurdish people. They truly deserve nationhood and to have their own independent state.
“Leeds is diverse city, a compassionate city, a city of sanctuary for all and it belongs to all its residents regardless of their faith, colour or ethnicity.
“From today, every time I eat an apple, I will remember the Kurdish victims of this genocide.
“The world must never forget this crime against humanity which reminds me also of Srebrenica Bosnia, Kashmir and Myanmar. I hope and pray for peace, prosperity and political stability in the world for us and our future generations.”
It was a very well attended event. People from all walks of life participated and expressed their solidarity with the Kurdish people .
35 million Kurds, the majority of whom live in Kurdistan, are one of the largest stateless ethnic groups and nations in the world.
Councillor Paul Wray, representing Hunslet & Riverside Ward, said:
“It was very humbling to join the Kurdish community in Leeds to remember the horrific genocide of 1988 and to share in their pain and sorrow at this widely forgotten crime – a crime where over 5,000 of their fellow Kurds were murdered. The Kurdish people are a vibrant part of our city and do so much good locally – long may that last.”