Leicester community gathers to mark 25th anniversary of genocide
Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Communities and also in Education
Kurdish people commemorate atrocity when 5,000 people were killed by poison gas
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY AT 4:45pm on Friday March 15 at University of Leicester Charles Wilson Building Second floor
A community in Leicester is to mark the 25th anniversary of genocide committed against them – commemorating the first time in history that a Government used chemical weapons against its own citizens.
Members of the Kurdish community will gather at the University of Leicester on Friday 15 March to mark the massacre of Halabja – when Saddam Hussein’s forces murdered 5,000 people through a poison gas attack.
Some of those gathering are survivors and witnesses to the terror, including Karzan Karim, a PhD student at the University who was only five miles away on the fateful day in 1988 when the attack occurred.
He said: “As a child I heard the planes overhead that went over the town of Halabja and I saw the cloud which we found out later to be the poison gas that killed my people in a matter of minutes. We wish to honour the memory of those who died and by remembering the massacre to raise public awareness of the plight of Kurds and to bring to justice those responsible for the atrocity. 5,000 people were brutally killed in a barbarous act of persecution which was part of the Anfal campaign which claimed the lives on 182,000 Kurdish people in more than 2000 towns and villages.
“Thousands of people continue to suffer long-term medical conditions as a result of the various chemicals and nerve agents that were used against us, as well as congenital disorders and birth defects continue to impact future generations.
Members of the Kurdish Student Society at the University of Leicester and the Leicester Kurdish Community Organisation will join with members of the Kurdistan regional government, civic leaders and senior members of the University at the Halabja Memorial Day event where they will observe two minutes’ silence. There will be an exhibition and children will present a tableau of the terrible attack when they recreate the final moments of the massacre.
Dr Douglas Tallack, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) from the University of Leicester said: “This is an important and sensitive occasion marking a terrible chapter in the history of the Kurdish people.
“The University of Leicester has strong links with Kurdistan-Iraq with an English language centre in the region as well as partnership links, scholarships and capacity-building programmes.”
The event takes place at 4pm on the second floor of the Charles Wilson Building, University of Leicester on Friday March 15.