IRAQ: Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian politicians and activists criticize PM al-Kadhimi’s for not visiting the site of Simele Massacre of 1933

KURDISTAN REGION IN IRAQ / SIMELE – Several Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian politicians, activists, and human rights advocates have criticized Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi for not visiting the site of the 1933 Simele Massacre on the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people. PM al-Kadhimi was in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq (KRI) to meet KRG leaders for budget talks, to smooth relations with Kurdish political parties and leaders, and to show that the KRI is part of Iraq. As a side visit, the Prime Minister visited the memorial for the Anfal martyrs – a genocidal campaign (1986-1989) perpetrated by the Iraqi Baath regime headed by Saddam Hussein in which tens of thousands of Kurds and thousands of Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians were massacred.

A visit by the Iraqi Prime Minister to the Simele massacre site would be an implicit recognition of the role of the Iraqi army and Iraq in the genocidal campaign carried out in August 1933. An estimated 6.000 Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians were massacred over the course of a couple of days in August 1933 with the massacre in the town of Simele being the most heinous. The Simele massacre is not recorded in Iraqi school books. The victims of the Halabja massacre are mentioned in the constitution, the victims of the Simele massacre are not.

Ashur Sargon Eskrya, head of the Assyrian Aid Society, took to Facebook and Twitter and criticized the PM:

“After the appointment with international support of Mustafa al-Kadhimi as prime minister of the Iraqi government, the hopes of the Iraqi people were set for the better and looked forward to positive results in changing the painful reality that Iraqis have been experiencing for decades.

As Assyrians and the indigenous people of Iraq, we were hoping Prime Minister al-Kadhimi would visit the site of Simele and give the due attention to the rights of a people which has and is still exposed to various kinds of genocide. The blood of our martyrs is still waiting for recognition and justice, else the massacre of Simele against our people in 1933 will stay a stain and disgrace to Iraq. If the Simele massacre, as well as the right of our people as the original people of Iraq, is not recognized it will always haunt and stigmatize the Iraqi army and government.”

Politician and activist Yalda Khoshaba of the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council also criticized PM al-Kadhimi’s for not visiting Simele and said it was a disregard and lack of interest in the what happened in the village of Suraya. The events of 1933 are a painful memory and a visit by PM al-Kadhimi’s to these sites would reflect positively on what documents and academic studies from Iraqi universities consider to be the Assyrian rebellion. It would mean justice for the victims who have fallen as a result of the injustice committed by members of the Iraqi army against these innocent martyrs.