(FROM A PAMPHLET WRITTEN IN KURDISH AND DISTRIBUTED THROUGHOUT GERMANY, BRITAIN AND ELSEWHERE IN EUROPE.)
THIS LETTER IS FOR YOU AND THOSE FRIENDS WHO ARE MEANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE EVENTS AND HOW THE SITUATION CAME ABOUT. WHAT I'M RECALLING HERE IS WHAT I'VE SEEN AND BEEN AWARE OF.
After the Anfals happened in Kurdistan (see main text), thousands of people wen arrested and then disappeared. Thousands were killed in the acts of resistance and many more thousands migrated to Iran and Turkey. Isolated, people gave into the State and government..a difficult and depressing situation emerged in Kurdistan. All this proved to the people that armed struggle was not the way to confront the gavcmment because of the poor quality of the technology and the armaments under their control. The technology and sophisticated weaponry were powerful and lethal. All the Kurdish opposition were forced into Iran. This made people more demoralized because they knew they couldn't do anything and daily the Peshmrga were handing themselves over to the government. There were a lot of deserters who at the same time didn't want to partake in the Iran-lraq war. The government was exploiting that psychologically depressing situation in which people were completely demoralized after the Anfals and where the Kurdish opposition hed been defeated, living out their existences unemployed and deserters at one and the same time. Thus people were awaiting the outcome of the war that could perhaps result in the fall of the Iraqi regime. The war ceased in August without this happening. People were afraid because, they were saying, that with Saddam staying on no-one could rest. Before he had been too occupied with the war, but now with the ceasefire he could turn on people again. This time however no political movement or activities existed. There was only talk about it on an individual level. So after the war stopped, the government having given itself time to lick its wounds, around September decreed a general amnesty for the Kurds called decision 736-737, according to which all Kurds could leave the army. The people believed it because, it was said, what did the government want an army for after the war?
People submitted to decision 736-737, legally registered with the government, and left the army. But it was only for a short time and then there was an army call up all over again. However the army became disorganized because there were large numbers who wouldn't accept its discipline and were only waiting to be demobbed. A month after demobbing took place the government transferred them south. At this time the general standard of living was low because all Kurds born between 1954 and 72 were in the army. Anyone without money couldn't afford army service because there were no wages and bribery was widespread in the army. This situation continued until Iraq invaded Kuwait. Then there began a transformation of the Iraqi army in Kuwait whereby most soldiers there was of Kurdish origin. After the coalition's threats, the scenario grew in scope, and Kurds daily started deserting from the army. In fact most deserted and only a handful remained because no-one agreed with the scenario. It was like as though every home in Kurdistan housed one deserter. The government couldn't control the situation as the deserters were too many and the standard of living so low that people were unable to do military service. Deserters arrested in the cities were released by forking out five dinars to Army Security and three dinars to the police.
This situation continued until the struggles between the coalition and the government really heated up, People then started building up hopes that the coalition would overthrow Saddam. It was said mostly in Sulliemania, that there was going to be a war but the people in the middle and south of Iraq ever imagined such a possibility until the night allied forces bombed Baghdad. For the people of Kurdistan that was the most beautiful night. The next morning people were joyfully hugging and kissing each other. This seemed to have happened only in Kurdistan. People felt revived and fear left their hearts. The government with its brutal security control mechanisms which had bound and gagged us for twenty years seemed to be falling apart. Peoples faces looked open and relaxed and they began to have conversations with each other. What's happening? What can we do? How do we oppose the government?
After the Iraqi army was broken in Kuwait, thousands of deserting soldiers on foot returned to their home-towns where hour after hour they spoke of the tragedies they had witnessed in Kuwait. How thousands starved to death or were killed and how the Iraqi authorities lied to them saying that there wasn't going to be a war. However most Iraqi cities are full of deserters and people have seen many tragedies and critical moments. But governmental control over the people wasn't the same as before and because of that people were preparing themselves bit by bit. Daily, people predicted that something was going to happen but noone knew how or in what way. This was when the news was received from people returning from the south about how the retreating army leaving Kuwait had joined with the people in attacking the government and that opposition in Basra had built up to the level where the people of the city had completely taken control.
Just a few days befwe the uprising people had had enough. That meant that something had to be done. But the problem was that they weren't prepared or at any rate weren't organized although they were just on the point of organizing themselves against the government. At that time we were aware of a group talled Committee for the Uprising. But we didn't contact them because we didn't trust some of their undesirable personalities. But they wanted to set up some armed teams and wanted to get together with a communist group, RAWT (footnote), to carry out their activities. But RAWT was so isolated because some of its members had recently been arrested and we didn't want to be to the fore of the army as an organization.
Then we (Y.K., A.H., SH.IW. and his brothers, S.A.I.I.K. and his team) had a few meetings to discuss the situation and how to initiate attacks and confrontations which would detonate the situation. But the main problem was lack of arms. We contacted the PUK and KDP for this purpose but they cheated us by not giving us weapons.
Then the Kurdish Opposition (Kurdistan Front) started contacting former participants from their ranks asking them to set up armed units giving them codename structures to be ready when necessary. The radio station continually called on people to be prepared and organized and they broadcast an amnesty for the Mstashars (footnote). They also called for the Iraqi army based in the North not to shoot on the public but to give into the people as they were backing the uprising in the south. The radio also called on people in Sulliemania to celebrate on the 7th, until they arrived to take part.
That's how people prepared themselves everywhere for the spark to light the uprising and the government was worried, prepared and wary but things were so serious that they didn't know how to cope with the situation. They even tried locally to initiate the explosion on the 6th in order to kill and threaten the people. But there was little they could do.
It was on the eve of the 7th of March 1991 that a group of about 15 met at my place to decide what to do in the morning and what positions we should take. But the problem was still a ]ack of arms. We all stayed at K's house overnight. We managed to get hold of one rifle and one USSI. At 7 am on the 7th we positioned ourselves throughout some popular quarters (Tooy Malik, Hawaranarza, Hagg-Khan, Malkandy, Azady, Darooga, Khanwa-Koraken and Baranan). Prior to that we knew of F-D, O.O. Ma-M and we heard that F had control over Majid-Bug and that they were ready.
I am going to talk a little about my own participation. We started with the popular quarters of Tooy Malik and Hawara just after 7 am. There were about seven of us and we went through the streets asking people to come out and join the uprising and coming confrontation. This is the historical chance Kurds had been waiting for. Hundreds of youths, women and children followed us but we only had two guns. The people requested to go to the homes of Jash Kurdish army units who'd got guns asking them either to participate in the uprising as Kurds or to hand aver their weapons to the people. We were actually quite successful in this. We went to their homes clapping and shouting solidarity slogans. They came over to us with their guns and joined the people. Now we had a lot of guns gathered together. After we went to the homes of two Mstashars in Tooy Malik and we got hold of a few more guns by putting pressure on them. But they weren't attacked because they said they belonged to the Kurdistan Front and they were waiting for the call via the radio station.
The demonstration grew larger and larger and we decided to attack a building housing the Osman Organization (footnote) on Tooy Malik concourse. It was an attack from all directions and within ten minutes it was burnt down and destroyed. Some Osmans were killed and some were arrested inside their building. The people - men, women, girls and even small children were enthusiastically active in helping out and giving first aid to anybody who'd received injuries.
At the same time people were swarming in from Mazid Bag and they controlled the university's police centre and the rest of the university. At that time there was shooting all over the place in Sulliemania. Smoke was rising. Then we went down Tooy Malik's main street to take over the prison. After an attack lasting a few minutes - together with a rocket attack - the prison guards surrendered and the prison was smashed up and all the prisoners set free. The actual walls were demolished with shovels belonging to the city council.
We continued onward and the demonstration kept growing as the people of Hagy Khan and Maikandy came into the street. Elsewhere the people of Azady and Khanwo-Koraom were coming down through Ondeback after the Azady police station handed over all their guns to them without firing a shot. In return people forgave them and didn't kill them. There was an attack from all sides on Sara - the main police station. The bravest person in that district was a young girl wearing black; she was continually to the fore of the people and wasn't afraid of anything, constantly raising maral. I spoke to her and she told me she was a niece of M.R. Anyway, attack after attack continued on Sara. Some people were injured The Sara police station finally fell to both the shouting and shooting of the psople. Some police were killed and those that were injured gave themselves up. Sergeant Shannall, the most infamous and hated person in the land who had been reaponsible for killing many people was captured. His head was smashed open with a club, his hands and legs cut off and his mutilated body hung on a traffic light outside Sara.
There was a big demonstration in front of Sara. The numbers were huge. Arms and cars had been commandeered by the people and groups were getting into cars and heading towards those places not yet liberated. We wanted to go down the Mawlawy (footnote) road towards Hasib Salh but we couldn't do it because there were Kanas (footnote) in the area and you would have soon been finished off if you were out on the streets. There was also shooting over in the Hamia, the main army base of Sulliemania. The assistance of the people was needed there. With their help most of the base could be taken over and thousands af arms distributed among the people.
Anyway scenes like these were taking place all over Sulliemenia. The news came through that all the security headquarters in the south had been taken. This time we were by the S'a Takochy garage when Hamia was taken. Fighting continued over at the Hasib Salh building until its resistance was broken. Then people stormed the place and two of its doors were burnt out. Fighting then broke out around the old security headquarters. Its four walls were demolished. People invaded the buildings which housed Party Headquarters. The gates of the cigarette factory were broken down and people looted thousands of cigarette cartons. Then we went back to Tooy Malik with our friends, going back through the city by car. Many places had by now been captured or burnt down. The only important security headquarters left was Akary, located in a rich suburb of Sulliemania. It was surrounded by the crowds of people who continued to arrive but there was still resistance. It was now about 11 am. We visited the hospital, the wards were packed with the injured. Most had received their injuries at security headquarters and the Hamia base. But the hospital was disorganised and in a mess because most hospital workers were afraid to come to work. Pillagers had been looting it and hospital beds had been pulled out onto the street. We asked some people to look after the hospital but it didn't work Then I went back through the city in out Krona car calling on all hospital workers to return to work because hundreds of people had been injured as well as asking the armed people to protect the hospital so that health care could be carried out properly. Then our Krona crashed into another car. But it was OK, we were safe.
Rocket attacks coming from security headquarters were landing all over Sulliemania killing and injuring lots of people. A group of us went back to Tooy Malik but the hullabaloo was so great that we couldn't be heard for more than five meters.
We met AM. and he told us what he had been doing. After talking to him we decided to set up a barricaded base-centre to call on people and direct them. Then we went to Awat school where there was a loud hailer. We immediately started to call on the revolutionary and exploited people to come together in order to organize ourselves and protect our city from any attacks, acknowledging how great and revolutionary the people are and how the regime's structures had been smashed 'Let's carry the revolutionary spirit onto the end and not let government offices and factories be misused because now they are our own, our own revolutionary property.' Then a lot of people gathered around the school and our friends also gradually got back together. There were a lot of government cars around and the school was in a strategic place Ieading to many parts of Sulliemania. Things were getting bigger and bigger and lots of armed people joined us and were asking what they should do now. The slogan 'Bread, Jobs, Freedom and the Democratic Republic' was the only slogan in people's mouths. The school had become a focal point. The soldiers that surrounded the city had surrendered to groups of people one after another, offering no resistance.
People were bringing them into the school. It was quite a sight; they were protected and no one was going to harm them. We, ourselves, looked after them and asked people to feed them because they are the sons of the people and they had protected the people by disobeying government orders. But not only soldiers but also police and security guards were brought in and these acts compelled us to set up a prison at the school. Then people were complaining about the looting. So we went through the city using our car's megaphone saying that these acts weren't revolutionary and that confiscated property now belonged to the people. We asked responsible people to get together and request that seized government property not be smashed up or burnt since it now belonged to the people. Some people brought everything they'd requisitioned into the school, from cars, to hospital equipment to heavy artillery that they'd lifted fnm army bases and guard posts (where guards had handed out rifles in a disciplined fashion and these rifles had been brought into the city). These acts enlarged the scope of what was taking place. People liked to have responsible persons carrying out their affairs, so it was urgent to arrange a meeting to explain who we were and what we wanted from the people and what our actions meant. After long discussions it was decided that our actions were to be carried out within the framework of the shoras and so we agreed to work under the name of the Tooy Malik Shora. We worked out duties and demands taising the slogan; 'Bread and Work and the Democratic Republic'. Our demands could be condensed into eight points - demands which were also been raised by the UN Council of Human Rights. I don't quite remember them concisely but there were demands for unconditional political freedom, freedom for all organisatians, strikes and womens' rights. Demands dealing with equal wages, with unemployment and social security support, with the separation of religion and state, freedom of religious pursuits and some other things like that.
These were the demands and our duty was to get people together to discuss them and to elect their own representatives. The 7th of March was now drawing to a close. During the night we stayed up constantly discussing things. We had about 70 prisoners. There were also a lot of armed people walking about. On the morning of the 8th, around 8 am. someone said the peshmergas were coming down from Goiza. We had about 7 cars, and went to meet them, rendezvousing with them in the Baroo (footnote) woods. After welcoming them, we passed on the news that the whole city was oocupied plus part of the security buildings. They hadn't been aware that the city had been taken and they were the first group of peshmergas who officially came down to the city. They were the 7th PUK battalion and their commander was A.H. We went back to the school and the megaphone was announcing the good news that our patriotic sons were now backing the public's uprising. It semed that most of the city's population was gathered around that school. When we had a meeting with the peshmergas we explained that only the security building had not been taken and we sent S and X together with some peshmergas over there. Fighting was recommenced until S was injured and some peshmergas killed. The peshmergas had thought we were the city organisation of the Kurdistan Front, but we explained to them that we were part of the "shoras of the revolutionary and exploited people' and didn't belong to any party, group or organization explaining to them what our actions had been and that our demands were the public's demands. They were glad and thanked us a lot for what we'd done and immediately asked for some coordination to help each other and act together. We agreed and asked them to go to the other school after lunch always insisting however that we wanted to remain independent. Then we took them there. All in all there were about 200 peshmergas.
Continuous fighting around security headquarters lasted until late afternoon but it ended on the same day it began (the 8th of March). All occupanls were killed, about 800 were inside. They were cut to pieces and the prisoners set free. A lot of people were martyred participating in this act; people such as Awat Abdlrazak, a close comrade of D. Inside security headquarters there were a lot of rooms, cells, gallows and places of execution. And a big cabin with bedrooms inside, with naked photos of women and women's clothes lying around. This was their place of entertainment with women prisoners. A photo of a woman serving their needs hung in a niche. She was undergoing multiple rape. Forgive me, I couldn't remove photos from these places. The inside walls of the prison are memorable, full of poetry and patriotic slogans.
During the fighting over the security headquarters those infamous ones injured or arrested were brought to the school. The people demanded a legalized peoples' court to be set up. With the aid of the loud hailer we chose eight criminals from the 160 prisoners and handed them over to the people. They helped themselves, cutting off their hands, feet and heads and then they were hung up. Even at that time J.H came over and said that M. Nowsherrawan (footnote) had requested that nobody be killed. But neither the people nor us were obeying their order because the people's hatred was so great that they would have smashed up the echool too.
After that news came through that Mulazm-Omer and his forces were coming into the city. He went to the other school, joining J. After a short while he asked to see us and we had a meeting with him, (myself, H.A. and J.) and he thanked us a lot and asked for solidarity and help. We helped them a lot that night giving them a few cars and assisting them with the deploymnt of their forces around the city. On the 9th the Kurdistan Front came down to the city and a lot of other friends joined us. After that discussions were about decisions to set up Shora workers' councils in different areas and we helped as much as we could. Shoras were increasing in Sulliemania and in the end there were about 50 of them. All this required a central headquarters, together with a rubber stamp to carry out the work in an organized and authorized way. K and his friends ware very active in Majeed Bag. The whole thing was getting bigger. There was a base centre in Sarkares (footnote) which we weren't aware of and didn't know personally and they started functioning after the 9th as a workers' shora. Then one of their representatives came over to see us. After a discussion we decided to help them. They wanted to have a meeting in nearby Sarkares and they asked us to go round and cail on people with the aid of the loud hailer to get a lot of people together to participate.
When it did happen, we saw their two meter wide red hammer and sickle flags. They distributed 'The March of Communism' manifesto in the name of the shoras. They only talked about the 35 hour week and nothing else. So we gradually withdrew from their company, telling them we weren't committed to any organization that they should only act in their own name and therefore, shouldn't impose that flag or their demands over the shoras' heads.
The work and the slze of the shora was increasing daily and cantrol was getting ever more difficult, especially the administration and division of tasks. Our relations with the KF was very good and our stamped authorisation was accountable and even recognized as theirs. We exchanged letters to carry out our tasks. Then we started administrating some tasks by ourselves such as, firstly, setting up mobile medical teams and collecting blood donations for those injured in hospital. We managed to collect 1,400 bottles of blood. The same thing happened with other services such as getting water and electricity workers together with the result that water and electricity supplies, which had been cut off for some time due to the war, were reconnected throughout Sulliemania. And finally we managed to get the hospital functioning properly again. L.SH.A. played a big part in all that and the hospital administration was in the hands of a shora workers' council.
Hospital staff were working round the clock and we reclaimed ambulances and medicines looted at the time of the uprising. The city council's central services set up their own shora, electing their own representatives. The engineers W. and the sister of a martyr, A. carried out this work effectively, collecting all the corpses lying in the streets and cleaning things up. The reason why we toak responsibility for these services was to aid humanity and to introduce and publicise the shoras. In that we were practically successful. At the same time lefties were infiltrating the shoras. A., O., and S. and others played a part in all that. Also the Kurdistan Front often came to the school. They discussed things but without any sensitivity, except towards those friends mentioned above who in their turn didn't respond to them, not even recognising their existence, as they only recognised the shoras as the sole centre of all things The KF complained that there was a political tendency in the shoras and that the workers' programme was that belonging to the 'March of Communism' group. Anyway these were the disputes going on within the shoras where different opinions and tendencies engaged with each other. This took place around the 12th and 13th of March.
It was then decided that I should be delegated to Hawlir so that what was happening in Sulliemania wouldn't be isolated. We went with S and some other friends. I went to the N.P.O. in Hawlir. We talked about what was happening, the shoras and the like and they agreed with what we said. We then went to M.T., the person in charge of the Kurdistan Front. I'd known him before, so we talked and he was in agreement and willing to help. S started campaigning among people in Hawlir, (the loyal ones, revolutionaries, patriots, democrats and the left), organizing seminars and reading leaflets written by the Sulliemania shoras and talking about them and how they were set up, their big achievements and what their demands were. We called on the revolutionaries for backing and solidarity and to begin setting up shoras in every district and factory. After some conversations, people showed themselves ready and a shoras centre was created near the Governor's offices. From there, some other shora centres were set up by the locals. A shora's authority stamp and headed note paper was produced. We stayed in Hawlir for three days doing all this. Whilst I was there about 35 shoras were created and we had 5 meetings with the locals. All the democratic demands of the people were discussed and it was made clear that people should insist on elections and work out demands.
When I got back to the Awat school in Sulliemania, a lot of changes had taken place. The schools' radio was mostly talking about the workers and workers' shoras, demanding all power to the workers. They'd been publishing Ieaflets and a facsimile of rhe 'March of Communism' programme in the name of the shora. They complicated everything so much that there should have been a vote as to whether the shoras should be workers' shoras with workers' resolutions and positions or whether the shoras should be opened up to include the bourgeoisie. RAWT kept this up until they were intervening in most things. For example, in the hospital they were saying that workers and ancillary staff should only work 7 hour shifts. Tbe hospital was working 24 hours in 3 shifts and their proposals would have meant a 9 hour gap in the day with no cover. But the ancillary staff wouldn't listen to the doctors and the whole functioning structure of the hospital was shaken. They also organised Sulliemania's electricity office in such a way as to make manual workers clash with office workers, as if pen pushers were the bourgeoisie whereas manual workers were earning more money than office staff or skilled engineers. At the bottom of all this was their opposition to the Kurdistan Front, portraying it as bourgeois and reactionary. The KF counteracted via their radio station and started characterizing the shoras as illegal organizations, unauthorized and composed of trouble makers and anarchists obstructing their tasks. We called on people not to listen to the KF but nothing was resolved. We visited all the different tendencies within the KF, explaining our achievements until they couldn't refuse a meeting between the KF and shoras' representatives. The shoras had a meeting and elected 5 representatives. But RAWT, by means of trickery, got more people to vote for their own men and they became the majority. Only one of the 5, M.A.M.l. was middle-of-the-road, the rest were hardliners who'd previously had a lot of rucs with the KF. O.O. was one of them.
Anyway the meeting took place. As well as the five representatives, 6 or 7 others came to the public cultural centre. Right away there was a dispute about these representatives. At the same time, leftist groups had also been having another meeting in the shora centres to drum up aid claiming the apparent arrest of shora representatives. They organized a demonstration in front of the public centre where they shouted and screamed out insulting slogans such as 'Disarm yourselves, bourgeois capitalists, you're incapable, only workers can build a new world'. This continued until 0.0. went outside to publicly disagree with what was going on inside the building. He said the people having a meeting inside were not workers' representatives as they kept capitulating to the KF. Then 0.0. and his supporters started chanting anti-KF slogans with the result that the outcome of the meeting was unclear because two different tendencies existed. One tendency was rooted in a Marxist-Leninist perspective and wanted workers'shoras, recognizing only the workers as the heroes of the street. We represented the other tendency and we wanted the shoras to be public shoras, where everybody could work together until elections could be held when the real representatives of the shoras would be selected. We talked about democracy insisting on human rights and we believed in cooperation with the KF. And that's how it remained until the anniversary of the chemical gas attack on Halabja on March the 17th.
Tbe shoras held a meeting to organize the biggest event so far. With this memory and the recent great victory the megaphones were placed in front of the old Sara cop station. More than a thousand people participated. It opened with readings from shora leaflets and then all the parties and organisations were allowed to read out their own tracts. There and then Budarky Sara was changed to Freedom Square. Things were going well but then, bit by bit, the Marxists started carrying on. It was as though they thought everybody present in the crowd were workers exhausted through hard work. Speeches were made and texts read out haranguing the bourgeoisie. lndividuals such as A.WO. indirectly attacked the KF saying they were reactionaries pitted against the workers' shoras and that's just how the bourgeoisie behave and that we, the workers, weren't afraid of anything and would fight to the finish. Things continued in this vein. It was futile trying to argue with them and people got whipped up to the point where they started condemning us. At the end of the meeting the KF organised a big demonstration against the shoras which headed towards Awat school in Tooy Malik shouting: 'the KF is the head wearing the crown, only shoras are troublemakers'. Anyway we managed with the aid of a megaphone, to calm people down, explaining that the shoras were there to serve the people and peshmergas and we started shouting out slogans praising the KF until they calmed down too and left us alone. From that day on I was really fed up because the KF had been given an excuse to oppose us. Also we no longer got on with the lefties to the point where we completely disagreed with them. and there was bad feeling all round. We accused them of messing up tasks and creating problems. They finally admitted they were wrang but by then things had been stirred up. A meeting followed and as a result there was a split. About 8 of them had been thrown out but we couldn't carry on with our work after that because the shoras had lost all credibility with the people who saw them as made up of troublemakers.
But RAWT carried on with their work and even now they're saying they'll continue though only as a voice which has no impact other than antagonizing the KF. That's all they talk abaut. Tbe situation developed like that with the two tendencies only complaining about the other. We've been accused of theft and cowardice and being KF's men. At the same time there was the issue of Kirkuk. The government had been re-taking it and Kurdish forces were attempting to recapture it. Our position was to independently take a part in the fighting over Kirkuk. The other tendency still using the shoras' name got together a fighting force with Alay Shorsh - Banner of Revolution - to take part in the actian. Mala Bakhtyar was thers and there were about 200 of them. Nothing was resolved. Government forces advanced to the point where on the night of the 3rd of April they were approaching Sulliemania. Government rockets fell on the city. That night there was the biggest demonstration of all in Sulliemania to raise the peoples' morale calling on them not to evacuate the city but to assist. The slogan: 'rockets, tanks and aircraft cannot make us leave this city' was shouted. That night we went to see the KF leadership in Tooy Malik. They said they were going to resist and weren't leaving the city because the peshmergas were about to defeat the government forces. This continued until just after midnight, the KF radio station did an about turn declaring that nobody had to get in anybody's way and to let people collect their belongings and families and flee the city. People were demoralised and everybody was on their way. All morning people left the city and some 80% were gone. Some friends stopped over at my place thinking about how to resist. It was about 11 am on the 3rd of April, planes and artillery continually bombarded Sulliemania. My family couldn't agree as to whether to leave Sulliemania so I sent W.K. W.A. with a few other friends to Krgais Way while myself, H.A.J. and my brother K. with three other friends were in Tooy Malik near 60 street. With no resistance being offered we crossed the street. Just before we got to the Baroo Woods, tanks took up positions on 60 street. Planes continued with their bombardment but there was anti-aircraft fire from some districts. There were thousands of people passing through Azmre Avenue when the planes were carrying out their bombardment. Many were killed. The soldiers then left 60 street and headed for the mountains. They haphazardly shot at us and then we went to the other side of Gorza and from there to Charta.
On the 3rd of April, when the government occupied Sulliemania, the city was deserted. By then 90% had left. The army looted most af it and anything that had been left behind in the beautifully designed houses were flung onto the streets. Those people who stayed in the city were untouched whilst the others, spread throughout surrounding apartment buildings were running for the border. It was so crowded without bread or food, that half the people Ieft their cars and escaped on foot. It rained continually for a few nights. The scene gradually calmed down and people were resettled in various shelters in old villages in the surrounding countryside after it was learnt that the government had failed to capture Azmer and two of their tanks had been burnt out. The government was actually defeated at Arbat's Way and the Brigadier arrested. Then came the gcroemment's amnesty but few people returned espcially those who'd left behind big interests. The government eventually got round to deal with the city. After a short period they sent a delegation asking for negotiations and in between there was talking. The people felt more secure, Iess afraid and they started coming and going to the cities as they liked. Finally they returned to Sulliemania and the situatlon has remained like that. People were awaiting the results of the negotiations which in general they've agreed with because they've reached the conclusion that Kurds by themselves cannot destroy the Iraqi authorities and, moreover, cannot ask for independence as it's rejected internationally. Because of all this they consider negotiations as the best solution far saving Kurdish lives and also could make real gains out of this historical opportunity since central authority is weak and under international pressure. People hang around the cities waiting for the results of the negotiations. Food has been distributed by the Red Cross and all the talk is about the apparent intent of the KF to form one party under the name of RZGARY PARTY uniting under one force named Duzgay Surbazy (meaning army institution). People are happy about this because they're saying Kurds are directly affected by what's happening and as a nation were threatened with starvatlon death and exile. Therefore one united party is necessary to answer all this. Leftist groups like the 'March of Communism' do not agree with this take on things saying only the workers can solve all problema and the struggle in Iraq is between labour and capital, consequently the workers'struggle is the focal point. I'll say no more about this; they are the mouthpiece of the Iranian Communist Party and there's no difference between them.
Another group has been set up recently after the shoras split called Workers' Association (Hastay Krekaren). They believe in the shoras' struggle and all their programmes are those of the workers. In their thinking they are strictly hardline Marxist-Leninist and put up grafitti. They are the same characters as before and don't get involved in any thing which makes their position clear apart from taking the piss out of everything. But it's useful enough for them just to sit around a table. Apart from that they do nothing.
1 am now in the old Penjwen with K and some other friends and now frankly any satisfaction I had with Marxist-Leninism is now completely shaky. I don't believe in parties or party business and I don't think there'll ever come a day when l'd work with any political group, organisation or party. I only look at things as a human being. I am prepared to participate in any event that serves humanity and the general interest. As such l'll participate. Onward but no organizational commitment.
And now I support the points raised by the negotiatians because people themselves have reached the oonclusion that they cannot rise up in the face of Imperialism and a lot of things that are happening have come out of the will and wishes of the Kurdish people. The peoples' ability is limited and therefore finding an agreement is much better. They need to have a bit of a rest having lived through three wars in 10 years with all the difficulties and human tragedies that have occurred. They only want to live like human beings, secure and a bit settled. All that made us - prefer intervention by the US army as we felt safer. If the negotiations succeed it will be a settlement of sorts as western interests also need it to save themselves... and we'll be grateful too. Then I can relax and carry on with my own personal life. My friend I ask your pardon if you're upset about these talks.
from the old Penjwen (an old town destroyed by the Baathists)
(14th June 1991)
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