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Halabja anniversary takes political turn

Thirty four years after Saddam Hussein's Baath regime launched a chemical attack on the city, resident's of Halabja feel they have been forgotten by Iraqi and Kurdish authorities.
Children stand next to a sign reading "To reconstruct it, do not leave Halabja alone" by the Martyrs' Cemetery in Halabja on March 16, 2022.

HALABJA, Iraq — Snow flurries fell in Halabja on a cold and subdued day of remembrance, marking 34 years since the chemical attack perpetrated by Saddam Hussein’s Baath Regime. The city’s citizens usually come out in force to honor the victims of the genocide against the Kurdish people, but most stayed at home this year. They boycotted events organized by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), a sign of anger at Kurdish and Iraqi politicians who pay what they consider lip service to them on the anniversary and then fail to live up to their promises.

“We have given sacrifices, so we should have our needs met. We shouldn’t still have to demand the basics. That includes medical treatment and a normal life like any other people who have never made any sacrifices,” Luqman Abdulqadir, head of the Halabja Chemical Victims’ Society, told Al-Monitor in an interview. 

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