Barzan, Iraqi Kurdistan
Giclée print on Hahnemühle photo rag paper
56 x 84cm
5/5 editions (+ AP)
In the East of Barzan municipality lies a graveyard for the victims of the 1983 Kurdish rebellion against the Iraqi government in northern Iraq and the ensuing 'Anfal' campaigns in Qushtapa, Harir, Dyana and Bahreka. The Anfal genocide was a series of campaigns from 1986 to 1989 by the Iraqi military ruled by the secularist Ba'ath Party. Saddam Hussein sought to crush all Kurdish aspirations of rebellion and independence, he entrusted Ali Hassan al Majid with task of controlling the Kurdish 'insurgency'.
Three primary methods were used during the Anfal genocide.
direct military attacks - including chemical attacks such as on the city of Halabja which killed nearly 5000 civilians
mass executions - men of military age captured in rural areas of Iraqi Kurdistan were often transported to south western and executed in the desert
'Arabisation' - Kurdish communities in pro-insurgent areas were broken up and redistributed around Iraq. This happened notably in the resource rich city of Kirkuk where Arabs from poorer parts of Iraq were transferred in to provide a stronger ethnic foothold for the Iraqi Ba'athist regime.
It is estimated that between 100,000 and 182,000 Kurdish civilians were killed during the Anfal era. Many of the desert mass graves in which bodies were dumped have been exhumed and many remains returned to ancestral lands. However, some have simply gone missing. In the cemetery in the image, graves with remains are mixed in with empty memorial graves.