"Never Again??" The Kurdish Genocide in Iraq
After the Holocaust occurred in Europe during the 1940s, the world promised that they would never again allow a case of genocide to go unnoticed for so long. Despite this firm statement, the Kurdish genocide in Iraq is an example of one of the four major genocides that took place during the second half of the twentieth century. The Kurdish genocide occurred in Iraq from 1987 to 1989. During this time, more than 100,000 Iraqi Kurdish civilians--most unarmed men, women, and children--were killed through mass executions, chemical attacks on cities, and mistreatment in jails and state-monitored living centers. In addition, over 2,000 Kurdish cities were demolished. Although there was substantial evidence that innocent Kurdish civilians were being targeted simply because they were Kurdish (thus genocide), the international community refused to believe it, sat back and let thousands upon thousands of people needlessly die.
The Kurds had a long history of conflict leading up to the genocide. They are a race with no homeland, scattered all over Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq. "The Kurds are divided by two forms of Islam, five borders, and three Kurdish languages and alphabets" (Power), and because of their lack of unity they fought amongst themselves as much as with others. Although they were promised their own homeland in 1922, Turkey refused to ratify the Treaty of Sevres that would make this possible, and in turn the Kurds have staged frequent rebellions ever since in hopes of gaining the right to govern themselves. They were offered some independence in 1970 when Iraq offered to give them about half of the land that they considered theirs, minus the Kurdish-populated oil-rich provinces, but the Kurds rejected the offer. Saddam Hussein imposed it anyway in 1974 in attempt to isolate the Kurds,