Former Syriac Member of Iraqi Parliament Joseph Sliwa: Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian victims of Anfal massacres marginalized

BETH NAHRIN — April 14th marks Anfal Remembrance Day, a solemn occasion to commemorate the memory of the victims of the Anfal campaign, a horrific episode of crimes against humanity committed by the Baathist regime in northern Iraq in 1988.

The Christian villages that were affected by the Anfal campaign still bear the scars of this atrocity, which led to the killing and displacement of thousands of innocent people. Despite the passage of time, justice has not been served for those who were affected.

In conjunction with the anniversary of the massacre, former Syriac member of Iraqi Parliament and Deputy Head of the Bethnahrin Patriotic Union (Huyodo Bethnahrin Athroyo, HBA) Joseph Sliwa challenged the prevailing narrative that only Kurdish people were affected by the Anfal massacre. He pointed out that there were also Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian victims of this crime who have been marginalized by the official account of the event.

Sliwa highlighted three dimensions of the massacre: firstly, that it was a mass killing of peoples; secondly, that it was given a religious veil from the Quran; and thirdly, that the Kurdish authority’s narrative of the event as only affecting the Kurds disregards the sacrifices and wounds of the Chaldeans–Syriacs–Assyrians, with over 200 of their villages completely exterminated.

Sliwa emphasized that many Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrians were killed, displaced, and disappeared, which the Kurdish political forces failed to acknowledge. He concluded by paying homage to the victims of the Anfal campaign and expressing the hope that they rest in peace, despite this crime against humanity committed under a Quranic cover.

The anniversary of the Anfal massacre serves as a reminder of the brutality and inhumanity of the Baathist regime and is a dark day in the history of the people of Iraq.