THIS PAGE CONTAINS DISTURBING WAR IMAGES AND IS FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY - 16 OR OLDER
Recently there has been talk of getting out of Iraq post-haste (December 2005). In case anyone wonders why we are still in Iraq, one reason you have to remember is that Saddam Hussein decided to make a shell game out of Weapons of Mass Destruction, for many, many years, mocking both the UN Inspectors, the US and every other nation. President Bush had the guts to say enough. The song accompanying this page is by Bruce Cockburn and captures the feelings of many people around the world. What if Saddam had hooked up with Al Qaeda prior to the 9/11 Attacks. With Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD's) aboard those planes, it could have been a million of New York City's people dead, much of Washington D.C. and the Pentagon could have been a total loss. Hurricane Katrina was Bad - but imagine New York City with a million dead, in 2001. The only reason WMD's were not aboard those flights was because George Bush Senior directed US & coalition troops in putting a crimp in Saddam's production in 1991, and he had to play dodge ball with the inspectors for the next 9 years. Because as late as August of 1988 Saddam was developing and using multiple WMD's (Lethal Nerve Gas and Chemical Weapons) on his own people, the citizens of Iraq. When we went into Iraq before we exited too fast and gave Saddam his helicopter gun ships back as we drove off, no doubt pressured to get out of Iraq then as we see occurring now. The Iraqi's that attempted to oust Saddam then were left standing alone defenseless. No Fly Zones later protected the surviving Kurds. Get us out of Iraq, but not a second before the Iraqi people are ready. Current and future generations of Iraqi's are at stake. Mission Critical. — Steve Shep
This page is dedicated to the people of Halabja who on March 16th, 1988 suffered the worst chemical attacks committed by the Iraqi regime, directed by Saddam Hussein. On that day, 5,000 innocent civilians, mostly women and children, immediately perished. This was not the only chemical attack ordered by Saddam, it was just the worst. Read on....
A mother who embraced her one-year-old baby, fell down two steps from her house and was martyred. In a 150 meter area in the main street of Halabja, at least fifty women and children were martyred as a result of the deployment of the chemical weapons. A father was sitting over the bodies of his wife and ten of his children in one of the alleys of Halabja and was wailing. The sound of his wailing touched any cruel human being. The crimes unimaginable.
In a Simorgh Van, the corpses of 20 women and children who had been prepared to leave the town and the chemical bombardment of the town had deprived them of this opportunity, made any observer stop and ponder about the depth of the catastrophe. Fatal wounds on the corpses of these innocent people were evident.
The doors of most houses were left open and inside of each house, there were some martyred and wounded people. The enemy had heightened the cruelty to its peak and took no pity on its own people. Saddam's crime in the chemical bombardment of Halabja has indeed been unprecedented in the history of the imposed war. Saddam's crime in Halabja can never be compared to the tragedy of the chemical bombardment of Sardasht. In Halabja more than five thousand people were martyred and over seven thousand more people were wounded.
The Gases Deployed against the People of Halabja
The Iraqi regime, in the chemical bombardment of Halabja and the surrounding
towns and villages, deployed
three kinds of chemical gases. According to the findings of Iranian physicians, the mustard, nerve and cyanide gases have been used against civilians in Halabja and its surrounding villages. A group of the martyrs of the chemical bombardment of Halabja, after inhaling the cyanide gas, were suffocated immediately. Post-mortem examination of the bodies of the chemical bombardment of Halabja has proved that the suffocation of the majority of the martyrs has been due to the inhalation of cyanide gas.
Women and children formed 75 percent of the martyrs and wounded of the bloody Friday of Halabja.
Along with Halabja, Khormal, Dojaileh and their surrounding villages were
also chemically bombarded frequently
but the center of the catastrophe was Halabja.
Nadriyeh Mohammed Fattah, a 15 year-old girl who
studied in the technical high school of Halabja
The Repetition of a Crime which Has Been Condemned Several Times
The Iraqi regime signed the 1925 protocol of Geneva of the prohibition of the deployment of the chemical and biological weapons in wars in 1931. The regulations of the 1972 Convention of Geneva requesting all countries to cease production, completion and conservation of all kinds of chemical and biological weapons and to demolish them and the UN 37/98 resolution emphasizing the necessity of observing the articles and contents of the 1925 protocol and the 1972 Convention of Geneva have also been accepted by the UN member countries including Iraq.
In late April 1987, twenty four villages of Iraq's Kurdistan were targeted by the chemical bombardment. These villages were chemically bombarded twice in less than 48 hours. Saber Ahmad Khoshnam, one of the inhabitants of the bombarded villages in Loqmanodulleh Hospital in Tehran on the 28th of April 1987, told reporters that the Iraqi warplanes dropped 18 chemical bombs at Sheikh Dassan, Kani Bard, Pasian and Tuteman villages. He said that more than one hundred people of these villages were wounded and that he had witnessed an entire family in Parsian village that lost their sight. In the course of the chemical bombardment in late April 1987 of the Iraqi villages, more than 130 innocent villagers were martyred and about five hundred of them were wounded.
The Iraqi regime has deployed chemical weapons against its own people while the UN general secretary's representatives during their visits to Iran in two occasions, prepared detailed reports from the deployment of the chemical weapons against the civilian people and submitted them to the United Nations in reports number S/1 6433 and S/18852 and after the submission of these reports by the general secretary to the Security Council, eventually this council, too, joined those individuals and organizations who condemned Iraq's deployment of chemical weapons. But despite all these condemnations, Baghdad's rulers continued their crimes.
Every murder destroys a
measure of human dignity
|We were burnt as newly-grown
In the current of poisonous winds,
And showed our dreadful wounds,
From one side of the world to the other.
But the unjust eyes of the world
Were never opened truly towards the oppressed.
The world only confined itself to a false regret, And once again,
We became a target as heaps and heaps of martyrs, We were the target of poisonous bombardments, We were the target of destructive bombs, And we remained the lonely oppressed ones of the world.
We rose from under tons of debris,
And stood up in the lands of poisonous bombings,
And we kept up standing and fighting,
Believe it, you people of tomorrow,
Believe such a history and learn a lesson,
Learn how to fight oppression in this way.*
* From the poem "Khaibar" by Mohammed Reza Abdol-Malakian.
Joy and happiness permeated the air in Halabja.
A Glance at the position of the town of Halabja
The City of Halabja, with a population of about 70,000 is in the province of Sulaimanya, 260 kilometers north-east of the city of Baghdad. It is surrounded by the heights of Suran, Balambu, Shireh-roudi and Shaghan in the north, south and east. The lake of the dam of Darbandikhan is to the west of this town. Halabja which is within 11 kilometers of the nearest Iranian borderline occupies a green and fertile area covered with forest vegetation. Most of the people of Halabja are farmers or cattle breeders. Halabja and its surrounding villages such as Khormal and Dojeyleh have for long witnessed the struggles of the Kurds against the Iraqi regime.
Every life has a measure of sorrow, and sometimes this is what awakens us.
Mass media and Iraq's crimes in Halabja
The Iraqi regime's crimes in chemically bombing the Halabja town were too grave for any human being to overlook. Correspondents of the western and American mass media who visited Halabja found out some facts about the horrible crimes committed by the Iraqi regime.
Also, the radio and televisions network in the United States, France, and
Britain, by broadcasting a short film of
the chemical massacre of the Halabja residents, made their audiences familiar with the most horrible crimes in
the history after the atomic bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some of the materials selected by
the world press concerning the chemical bombardment of Halabja are as follows:
Article by the correspondent of the London Daily., the independent, published
on 23rd of March, 1988:
" ... The reported slaughter of 5,000 Kurds in Iraqi poison gas attacks underlines a dangerous new dimension
in the volatile middle east: the growth of the chemical warfare capability of several important regional powers, and the fear that, despite efforts to curb these weapons, they could be used more widely.
".. (in producing chemical weapons) Iraq has apparently been helped by British, West German, Indian, Austrian, Belgian, and Italian companies, despite bans on the sale of chemical that could have military use...
"... There is evidence that the Iraqis did drop poison gas bombs on the towns because the traditionally rebellious Kurds, who have been fighting for autonomy from Baghdad for years, welcomed the Iranian (troops)."
French Television m 23rd, and 24th of March, 1988
Different French Television networks, on Wednesday and Thursday the 23rd and 24th of March 1988, broadcast the first pictures of corpses of thousands of those martyred and wounded in the chemical bombing in Halabja.
The commentators of the French Television, described these crimes as intolerable, disgusting and horrible. Some commentators considered the crimes of Saddam as even more horrible than some of Hitter's crimes.
The first channel of the French Television noted that it is not the first time that the Baghdad regime had deployed chemical weapons, however, this is the first time that Iraq had so vastly deployed them against the civilians.
Andrew Gowers, middle east editor, and Richard Johns of the London Daily, Financial Times, writing on 23rd of March, 1988:
"... What has been happening in the last year, especially the last week, in a remote corner of north-east Iraq reveals unplumbed depths of savagery...
Alistair Hay, pathology professor at Leeds university, England, speaking on
BBC Television News, and BBC Radio
World Service oh 22nd and 23rd of March, 1988:
" The Kurds have claimed for a number of months, perhaps over a year, that Iraq has been using chemical agents against them. But this latest occasion seems to be the first really documented case that we have where chemical agents have been used.
"Iraq has used chemical agents against Iran on a very large scale for three years now. And although the west and other countries have been condemnatory about that use, the country (Iraq) still felt secure enough to use chemical agents. They have used them because these agents are very effective against the opposition that has no self-protection and until such time as there is perhaps an end to war, or sufficient sanctions against Iraq to persuade it not to use chemical agents, I'm afraid they will continue to use them or so it seems."
"The United Nations have had three investigations into the use of chemical warfare agents in the Iraq-Iran war and they have said unequivocally on all three occasions that Iraq has used chemical warfare agents. They have said that mustard gas was certainly used on all three occasions, that is in 1984, 1986 and 1987. And they have also said that they have evidence that a nerve agent, tabun, was also used. The investigation was carried by a well qualified team, so l have no doubt in my mind that they have been used."
Article from Halabja by David Hirt, Middle East correspondent of London Daily, the Guardian, published on March 23, 1988:
" No wounds, no blood, no traces of explosions can be found on the bodies -
scores of men, women and children,
livestock and pet animals - that litter the flat-topped dwellings and crude earthen streets in this remote and neglected Kurdish town...
"The skin of the bodies is strangely discolored, with their eyes open and staring where they have not disappeared into their sockets, a grayish slime oozing from their mouths and their fingers still grotesquely twisted."
"Death seemingly caught them almost unawares in the midst of their household chores. They had just the strength, some of them, to make it to the doorways of their homes, only to collapse there a few feet beyond. Here a mother seems to clasp her children in a last embrace, there an old man shields an infant from he cannot have known what..."
"It is hard to conceive of any explanation for the chemical bombardment of
Halabja other than the one which
Iranians and Kurds offer - revenge..."
"As artillery continues to rumble round the hills, Halabja stands silent and
deserted except for what they can
find and a dazed old man, absent during the bombing, who has come back in search of his family..."
Pictures tell the story: Photos from Halabja Attack (see additional photos from this horrible day)
On the borders of Kurdistan
On the borders
Where throats are
Choked with good-byes
And eagerness is
Suspended in the eyes
And people asked
When.. where are we ? why..?!
Here a child dies..
There a baby lies, and
Another face-down cries:
My wound is hurting
My breath is hurting
My stomach is hurting,
Mother: Am I to die ?
And my white pigeon ?!
Are we going to die ?
In tears she said:
There beyond the border posts..
Only days: we won't die
For us, God will try..
Again, the child cries:
Will my pigeon die ?
Mother: I love her..
She is my life
Because I love,
She does not deserve to die
I love her...
All broke in tears
Dear.. your pigeon died
When the planes pried
And she broke in tears
My white pigeon was gassed ?!
My Kurdish pigeon died
Mother.. my hair is falling
why ? Am I do die ?
Some water please..
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Saturday, 15 March 2003
President's Radio Address (Remembering Halabja)
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This weekend marks a bitter anniversary for the people of Iraq. Fifteen years ago, Saddam Hussein's regime ordered a chemical weapons attack on a village in Iraq called Halabja. With that single order, the regime killed thousands of Iraq's Kurdish citizens. Whole families died while trying to flee clouds of nerve and mustard agents descending from the sky. Many who managed to survive still suffer from cancer, blindness, respiratory diseases, miscarriages, and severe birth defects among their children.
The chemical attack on Halabja -- just one of 40 targeted at Iraq's own people -- provided a glimpse of the crimes Saddam Hussein is willing to commit, and the kind of threat he now presents to the entire world. He is among history's cruelest dictators, and he is arming himself with the world's most terrible weapons.
Recognizing this threat, the United Nations Security Council demanded that Saddam Hussein give up all his weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Gulf War 12 years ago. The Security Council has repeated this demand numerous times and warned that Iraq faces serious consequences if it fails to comply. Iraq has responded with defiance, delay and deception.
The United States, Great Britain and Spain continue to work with fellow members of the U.N. Security Council to confront this common danger. We have seen far too many instances in the past decade -- from Bosnia, to Rwanda, to Kosovo -- where the failure of the Security Council to act decisively has led to tragedy. And we must recognize that some threats are so grave -- and their potential consequences so terrible -- that they must be removed, even if it requires military force.
As diplomatic efforts continue, we must never lose sight of the basic facts about the regime of Baghdad.
We know from recent history that Saddam Hussein is a reckless dictator who has twice invaded his neighbors without provocation -- wars that led to death and suffering on a massive scale. We know from human rights groups that dissidents in Iraq are tortured, imprisoned and sometimes just disappear; their hands, feet and tongues are cut off; their eyes are gouged out; and female relatives are raped in their presence.
As the Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, said this week, "We have a moral obligation to intervene where evil is in control. Today, that place is Iraq."
We know from prior weapons inspections that Saddam has failed to account for vast quantities of biological and chemical agents, including mustard agent, botulinum toxin and sarin, capable of killing millions of people. We know the Iraqi regime finances and sponsors terror. And we know the regime has plans to place innocent people around military installations to act as human shields.
There is little reason to hope that Saddam Hussein will disarm. If force is required to disarm him, the American people can know that our armed forces have been given every tool and every resource to achieve victory. The people of Iraq can know that every effort will be made to spare innocent life, and to help Iraq recover from three decades of totalitarian rule. And plans are in place to provide Iraqis with massive amounts of food, as well as medicine and other essential supplies, in the event of hostilities.
Crucial days lie ahead for the free nations of the world. Governments are now showing whether their stated commitments to liberty and security are words alone -- or convictions they're prepared to act upon. And for the government of the United States and the coalition we lead, there is no doubt: we will confront a growing danger, to protect ourselves, to remove a patron and protector of terror, and to keep the peace of the world.
Thank you for listening.
President George W. Bush
Visit my 911 Remembered Tribute Page hosted here by clicking: 911 Video Memories
Satellite Images of the World Trade Center before and after 911: Remember 911
Multiple Reference Materials on Halabja:
http://www.krg.org (this was offline when I checked 7-15-2003)
Some of the following links may be outdated. Please access what you are able to and accept my apologies on the others. Search on Google (www.google.com) for "Bloody Friday" for additional info and photos.
My thanks to Alex Atroushi and the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iraq for permission and assistance with this page. My primary regret is that Operation Iraqi Freedom did not take place prior to March of 1988.
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