PRESS RELEASE 88th Anniversary of aerial bombing of Sulaymaniyah
On August 16, 1923, the Sulaymaniyah headquarter of Kurdish King Sheik Mahmoud was bombed, thus crushing his on-and-off again revolt against the British. RAF war planes did the job, using newly developed 220 pound bombs as well as left-over WWI ordnance, reportedly including poison gas bombs (www.solami.com/barzanilegacy.htm#bombs ¦ .../britishgas.htm).
This is to remember the victims of these
and others attacks, to raise awareness among the current generations of
past follies, and thus to help stem the tide against future man-made disasters.
According to Simons, Geoff. *IRAQ: FROM SUMER TO SUDAN*. London: St. Martins
Press, 1994, as quoted in "British Use of Chemical Weapons in
<< Churchill was in no doubt that gas could be profitably employed against the Kurds and Iraqis (as well as against other peoples in the Empire): "I do not understand this sqeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes." Henry Wilson shared Churchill's enthusiasm for gas as an instrument of colonial control but the British cabinet was reluctant to sanction the use of a weapon that had caused such misery and revulsion in the First World War. Churchill himself was keen to argue that gas, fired from ground-based guns or dropped from aircraft, would cause "only discomfort or illness, but not death" to dissident tribespeople; but his optimistic view of the effects of gas were mistaken. It was likely that the suggested gas would permanently damage eyesight and "kill children and sickly persons, more especially as the people against whom we intend to use it have no medical knowledge with which to supply antidotes.">>
To be sure, many - but not all - archives
are understood to have since been cleaned of smoking guns. This then is
also a call for testimonies and for further research - not for finger-pointing
but for better educating all of us.
PS: Today, of course, is also the 65th birthday of the region's president. In some other countries, this is the age for mandatory retirement. Under the given circumstances, this then is also a good moment for seriously considering such a step in honor, rather than under pressure. Conceivably, those wishing Massoud a well-deserved prompt retirement may support a solution with a fixed early deadline helped by a degressive, i.e.gradually disappearing right to keep the revenues accumulated over the past 20 years. The friendly warning is - like in the case of Mubarak - that as alleged VIP client of Swiss banks his and other names are probably already on draft orders for blocking his accounts for years to come, within 90 minutes of his eventually unorganised stepping down from power.
Oh Mother Kurdistan!* "Only those who use their freedom remain free".**
Spare us from
the temptation of false values, prophets and ephemeral foreign green lights!
Free us from evil spirits, fear and self-doubt, and instill in us modesty and respect for others!
Let us equitably share our heritage with our Arab, Assyrian, Kurdish, Turkoman and Yezidi brethren!
Let us welcome and support in our lands those capable to help recover our lost generations!
Make us choose leaders who do not betray and denigrate, but honor our past and secure our future!
Give us a dignified son whose handshake resembles that of a man,
a compassionate son who acts with exemplary wisdom, vision and strength for the common good!
Enlighten and encourage those who failed us to come clean, to admit and to repair their errors!
Give us a worthy daughter carrying the seeds of good thoughts, good words and good deeds!
Oh Mother Kurdistan, meet again someone like Father Egypt, and give birth, or rebirth, to children
who will bear the name of neither, but will resemble and carry forward the legacy of both of you!***
*) from an obituary for Mullah Mustafa Barzani's wife, Lady Hamael Mahmoud Agha Zebari (www.solami.com/mother.htm)
**) extract from the preamble of the Swiss Constitution (www.admin.ch/ch/e/rs/1/101.en.pdf)
***) E.g. as reflected in the proposed over-riding core institution named Mosul Vilayet Senate. (www.solami.com/senate.doc)