Today, July 31, 2023, marks the forty year anniversary of the genocide of the Barzanis. In 1983, Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq, accused the Barzanis of fraternizing with the Iranians. As a result, his regime rounded up 8,000 Barzani men and brought them to Erbil and farther up north. The families of these men were told that they were just being sent to labor for the day. However, these men were being kidnapped and later murdered. The death of these men was not uncovered for two decades, revealed only following the capture of Saddam Hussein by the US army during the Iraq War.
When the men didn’t return, women and children were left defenseless and desperate. They had given the men all of their valuables and gold before they departed, and had no means or money or men to support them. However, the women did not give up hope that their men would return, until a month later when, during a public gathering, Saddam Hussein hinted that the Barzanis were no longer alive.
The Ba’athist regime inflicted horrific acts against Kurdish people, with similar massacres committed against them in the Garmiyan and Halabja region, as well as to the Feyli Kurds. Following the Barzani genocide, Kurdish villages were destroyed and a minimum of 182,000 Kurdish civilians were murdered by the villainous Anfal campaign, an operation that targeted rural kurds.
In an official statement by the the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani said, “What is unfortunate on this occasion is that, four decades after this tragedy, there are still those who carry the same chauvinistic mentality and the era of the Anfal campaigns, as they seek to violate the legitimate rights guaranteed by the constitution to the citizens of Kurdistan, and deprive them of them…On the occasion of the anniversary of the genocide of the Barzanis, we salute the memory of the Anfal Barzanis and all the martyrs of Kurdistan, whose memory will always be stuck in our hearts with great respect and reverence.”