Anti Fascism

Remembering Saddam’s Victims

If you have half an hour to spare, this sunny afternoon, watch this PBS documentary, online:

Dr. Mohammed Ihsan is investigating the disappearance more than 20 years ago — during the early years of Saddam Hussein’s brutal dictatorship — of 8,000 Kurdish men and boys. “This case is particularly significant,” says FRONTLINE/World reporter Gwynne Roberts. “Their abduction marks the point when Saddam’s regime moved from isolated acts of brutality to mass murder.”

Ihsan shows Roberts an eerie September 1983 black and white videotape in which Saddam summons Kurds to hear him denounce the “treachery” of the Barzanis. “They’ve been severely punished and have gone to hell,” Saddam declares. A captive audience obediently applauds. The abduction of the Barzani Kurds was the precursor to Saddam’s infamous Anfal campaign, in which his forces used terror tactics, including poisonous gas, to kill more than 100,000 Kurdish men, women and children.

Ihsan’s expedition gets under way from Arbil, a relatively peaceful and prosperous Kurdish city in northern Iraq. But even here, there is danger. In a bloody, chaotic scene, a suicide bomber kills 70 and injures 120 in a line of young Kurds waiting to join the police.

Via Nick Cohen.