Yesterday's Interview with Kurdish IDP's
Muzheer Jalal Rafour, January 10, 2007
Peggy and Cliff met with 24 members of the family in a home they are renting in Sangasar. Musheer told CPT that if we tell their story it is better than receiving material assistance. They are from Laozha Village, Sangasar town, Suleimaniya Governate.
On December 16, 2007, he heard a sound of planes flying over like every night, but it was different this night. At 2:05AM a bomb hit the other side of their home. They went outside. The next pass of the planes, the house was bombed again. On the third pass he remembered a tiny baby he thought was still sleeping inside and returned – the windows were blown out this pass. As he exited the house, he heard his 27-year-old daughter, Susan, crying and saw a big light in the sky – everything was on fire. He went to help, but couldn’t use lights because the planes were still circling overhead. He tied her wounds with his sash, but he had no car and the planes were still overhead.
His friend called from another village, but he had to say, “Don’t come,” because of the planes. His daughter waited for three hours and the plane came back again to attack. The other children were in a ditch for safety, but they were cold. Finally he used a blanket to carry his daughter to the car of a relative. They drove the car without lights with a person ahead with black clothes to guide it. They got her to Diana Village, an hour away, where an ambulance took her on to Howler, two hours further to the hospital.
The doctor said her bone was shattered and he would be unable to save the leg, so he amputated mid-calf. Susan is still in the hospital and it has been very difficult psychologically. She feels her life is ended, there is nothing to live for. She may return home today or a week from now.
The same Turkish attack injured Haja Ajura Rasoul in the hand when a piece of the bomb shrapnel struck her. Other children have eye and throat problems from something in the bomb. A neighbor saved one child during the bombing and had to leave another child, so Muzheer’s son went to save that child.
His house was destroyed four times by Saddam Hussein during the Anfal. This fifth time was by the Turkish fighter planes. “But even if it happens ten more times, we will never give up our home.”
Seven of their Albanian cows were killed in the bombing and others are unhealthy. There are 24 families in the village, about 126 people. Maybe 20-25 animals for each family died in the bombing.
Planes are still flying overhead, apparently doing reconnaissance. Sometimes a father or a shepherd returns to care for the living animals or check crops.
Muzheer told CPT, “Please take our voice to the world. We in Kurdistan are a rich country, but we are presently chained by this political situation.”
“The Turkish excuse for the attack is the PKK, but there are no PKK targets or sites where we live. The situation in Kirkuk and the millions of Kurds in Turkey are the threats for Turkey and the reason for these attacks.”
“We heard the US supports Turkey. I don’t understand because the Kurds are the only people here who support the US. Maybe the US has more interest in Turkey than Kurdistan. An unexploded bomb in Laozha may be American. We are so disappointed. After 1974 we were abandoned. We ask the US people to support the Kurds so this doesn’t happen again. My cousin in Minnesota says the US people don’t even know about Kurds.”
Muzheer has received one million ID ($7-800, US) from the central Iraqi government to replace his house. From the KRG he got heating oil, clothes and coats from ICRC and blankets from another organization. People have been very concerned about what happened. People care. Practically, though, the response has been short. Government has welcomed their children to the local schools, though their home was 34 kilometers from Sangasar.
"It is good to write this story to the people of the US. A bigger establishment is needed to raise awareness. I am concerned about your safety, but I am ready to go with you to our border villagers when you get security approval."
If I was on TV in the US, I would say, “Stop the things that are happening. Stop the attacks. Stop the fears.”