President Barzani's Speech at Ceremony to Receive the Remains of 150 Victims of Anfal | |
First, I would like to warmly welcome the families of the victims from Garmiyan area, especially from Kalar [Garmiyan area between Kirkuk and Khanaqin was one of the main targets of the Anfal campaign]. I also welcome the representatives of Iraq’s Martyrs organisation, Mihrab Martyr Organisation, the deputy governor of Najaf, and the ministry of Martyrs and Victims of Anfal of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). I thank all the people who have been involved with bringing back to Kurdistan the remains of these victims.

These are the remains of the third group of victims who were found in mass graves in Najaf and who have been brought back to Kurdistan. As we have promised already, we will not stop our efforts until we have brought back the remains of all the victims.

The people of Najaf offered to bury these victims there as a symbol of the common oppression suffered by both our peoples and to strengthen our friendship. But because of the grieving families and because of our customs and traditions, it was deemed appropriate that they be brought back to the Kurdistan Region. Their memory will remain with every patriot in Iraq.

I welcome you back martyrs; while you were away, your sacred souls were with us all the time in the heavens over us in Kurdistan. This is another reminder of the suffering of the Kurdish people. This is yet another example of the tragedies of the Kurdish people.
We are thankful to everyone who has shown solidarity with us; at the same time, we are totally surprised that there are still some in Iraq who believe that the Kurds should have been subjected to more brutality and oppression than they already have. Instead of apologising to the people of the Kurdistan , they are threatening with more Anfal campaigns. This is truly shocking. But we are confident that, with the efforts of the patriotic Arabs and Kurds, those who believe in human rights, and those who believe in God, they will fail in their attempts.

The outside world was not aware of the tragedies of the Anfal campaign, or it chose to turn a blind eye. But now, the world knows all about it and this is another example of the pain and suffering of our people. The decision by the Iraqi Parliament to recognize these as crimes of genocide was very appropriate. This was indeed genocide; it was indeed mass extermination of a people; it was indeed an attempt to annihilate the Kurdish people.

Rest assured that their aim was not only to destroy all human life in Kurdistan , but if they could, to also destroy the mountains, the trees and everything else. There is a lesson to this story. For the people of Kurdistan the lesson is that our people will not be destroyed by Anfals and chemical attacks. To others, the lesson is that they should rethink their policies; they should understand that if they ever contemplate resorting to Anfal campaigns and chemical attacks, their fate will be no different than the Ba’th party.

People should not resort to violence for the sake of votes; people should not attempt to break the bonds of friendship between Kurds and Arabs for those same votes. Those who try to undermine the Kurdistan Region in any way, or contemplate repeating the Anfal campaign should know very well that the situation of Iraq is tied to the situation of Kurdistan . Kurdistan is part of the Iraq project. We do not consider the situation of Kurdistan separately from the situation of Iraq . We are partners in the government. The new situation [the changes after the fall of the former regime] is the result of our sacrifices and the sacrifices of our other allies.

What we ask is that our people are not subjected to the Anfal campaign ever again; that we would never again have to wait 20 years or 30 years to discover to the remains of our loved ones. Those fallen are the martyrs of the country; they are the martyrs of humanity; they are the martyrs of the struggle of a people.
We want an end to all this; we want all the people of Iraq to live in peace and harmony from now on; we want the people of Kurdistan to live without any anxiety; that never again anyone would consider violence through Anfal and chemical attacks.

I would like to thank all the people involved for their hard work and efforts. I once again warmly welcome the representatives of foreign countries for being here today. We thank them very much and want them to understand that this is an example of the tragedies that our people went through. When we demand a democratic and federal Iraq , it is because we never want anyone to see such tragedy.

Once again, I warmly welcome the families of the victims. The souls of these martyrs will always be dear to us and will always shine in the heavens of Kurdistan. Rest assured that their souls are finally in peace now that their remains are back in Kurdistan. I once again promise to try to bring back the remains of every last victim to the Kurdistan Region. Once again, I welcome you dear deputy governor of Najaf and I want you to take with you our thanks and greetings to all the people of holy Najaf. We will never forget what you have done for us. We apologise for not being able to fulfil your wishes to bury these victims in Najaf but we can build a monument that symbolises the common suffering that both our peoples went through; we even share mass graves.

Once again, I want to thank you and welcome you all.