Kurdish Filmmaker Details Anfal Atrocities

    By Brian Padden*

    The genocide trial of Saddam Hussein for a military operation against Iraqi Kurds two decades
    ago, has brought the Anfal campaign back into the headlines. Prosecutors say 180,000 Kurds
    were killed and thousands of villages wiped out.

    Kurdish-American filmmaker Jano Rosebiani has sought to convey
    the magnitude of the devastation in a series of documentary films,
    allowing victims and survivors to tell their own stories.

    A Kurdish mother's anguish as she recalls how her husband and
    eight children were killed during the Iraqi Anfal campaign, is one of
    many emotional interviews in Jano Rosebiani's documentary, called
    Mass Graves.

    Rosebiani is a Kurdish-American filmmaker, whose purpose in
    making Mass Graves was to bring to light the atrocities that occurred
    during the rule of Saddam Hussein.                                                                      Jano Rosebiani

    "I felt like no one was actually doing any films or documentaries in detail, nothing deep enough to
    really get the viewer outside of the region to really understand the tragedy that took place here, or
    the extent of it, the fact that we can actually call it genocide," he said.

    With financial support from the U.S. government,
    Rosebiani produced three documentaries, Mass
    Graves, Chemical Ali and Weapon of Mass

    All three films detail atrocities committed by Saddam
    Hussein's regime through eyewitness accounts.
    People tell of seeing their loved one tortured and
    killed in front of them, of being forced to flee their
    homes, of surviving chemical attacks and of the
    sense of isolation.

    One man said he was able to escape to a Turkish
    refugee camp, but officials there refused to
    acknowledge that he was a victim of a chemical

    "We would tell the Turks about the chemicals," he
    said. "They would tell us to shut our mouths. They
    would say, 'you have been burned by fire.'"

    Rosebiani was also given access to video shot by the
    Iraqi military, documenting torture and killings.
    Rosebiani says the films are hard to watch.

    "It was really a nightmare to go through it," he added. "I would look at my [the] babies, and start
    thinking of the stories they were telling me about, what was happening to their babies. You know,
    sometimes I feel like I would go mad."

    Now that Saddam Hussein and six of his former military commanders are on trial for genocide
    against the Kurds, there is a sense of satisfaction for Rosebiani. He says his films set the stage
    for the current trial by making the case against Saddam in the court of world opinion.

    Irbil, Iraq
    26 August 2006


    Extra notes:

    To order the documentary “Weapon of Mass Destruction” please click the link below:

    Also you can visit Jano Rosebiani’s website