Dancing to say: ‘Bye Bye Chemical Ali’
25th January, 2010 is another day in my diary that has pages and pages of writing, despite the fact that it is incredibly difficult to express the emotions. Simply, ‘Chemical Ali’ was given his death sentence for the crimes against the Kurdish people.
I hear so often people saying young Kurds are not attached as much to their roots and their Kurdish identity. This is not the reality. The atmosphere at Uni today was one filled with serenity and fulfillment. Exams are around the corner, deadlines are approaching and final papers must be handed it. Despite this, the students took the initiatives upon themselves to celebrate the ‘UKHian’ way.
Patriotic songs were put on the loud speaker all day in the cafeteria. And between classes hand in hand shoulders shimmered, feet danced and the noises of happiness were made (Kurdish readers: I am referring to Halhala—our guys know how to do it well!!)
Girls, boys, old and young danced. Everywhere I looked I saw people smiling, girls laughing, boys dressed to impress and pictures were taken (I know years down the road, these pictures will be shown to our children, as we remind them of history—and say “this was the day after Chemical Ali got his punishment”) .
Students who I had never noticed before were in Kurdish clothes or wearing a Kurdish symbols including flags, bracelets, and the ‘Jamadani’ which was around the neck of many girls.
Young people were celebrating a phenomenal event where, the punishment of the guilty hands behind the cleansing and genocide against Kurdish people took place. The event was symbolic, as from this day forward, Kurds know they cannot be hurt or by anyone because of their Kurdish identity.
What makes the event so close to my heart in particular is the fact that I visited Halabja various times and the images have remained in my mind. I walked on the roads that innocent children died on. Sitting by the cemetery, the emotions and thoughts that provoke out of one’s mind is sorrowful.
Despite the celebration, the wound is still deep. Despite the smiles, the tears are still there. Despite the songs, our woes are still loud.
Young people will remember the innocent blood of the young children, the old fathers and the mothers of every household. And it makes me smile and be confident for the future of Kurdistan when I see young people so attached and devoted to their nation.
I am proud to be living a day like today.
Above: A lasting picture that will hold deep memories for years to come.
Univeristy of Kurdistan- Hawler students, celebration for the execution of ‘Chemical Ali’