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Happy Qala Dza Martyr Day

Today is the memory of the Qala Dza massacre that took place on April 24, 1974 in the city of Qala Dza in Kurdistan, Iraq.
The weather was cold, rain did not stop, and the snow covered the peaks of the mountains surrounding the Martyrs Valley (Doli Shahidan) in the city of Qala Dza, located in the far northeast of Iraq.

Excitement, movement and activity were taking place everywhere in this small city that received students from the University of Sulaimanya and all those who had emigrated from their universities because of the brutality and barbarism that was practiced by the governmental repression apparatus against Arabs and Kurds in general and against all those who demand freedom and sing for peace.

The Kurds were celebrating Nowruz everywhere on the 21st of March 1974, the holiday this year was different because the central government in Baghdad had reneged on its pledge to implement the March 11th agreement signed between the Iraqi government and the leadership of the Kurdish revolution led by the late leader Mustafa Berzani. Preparations to accommodate students coming to Kurdistan at an academic university in the city of Qala Dza are proceeding in full swing, everyone is eager for the success of this dream, for the convoy of knowledge to continue and for the road to be paved for the honourable scholars.
A large warehouse was emptied that was used to collect tobacco planted in the plains extending around the city of Rania and the city of Qal'at Dizah.
The unpleasant smell of war expected by the regime of the president of Iraq Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr and his clique in Baghdad was closing the noses of the students and people there, as if they knew what the rule of tyrants was in store for them.

We hurried with the people of the city to dig trenches in primitive ways everywhere, an L-shaped trench and a W-shaped trench. Curvy, we were preparing ourselves to complete the academic year, I left the mathematics department at the College of Science at Basra University and joined the Kurdish movement, and many of my colleagues joined the movement from the University of Baghdad and Al-Mustansriya University, in addition to most of these students of Sulaymaniyah University.
At four o'clock in the morning of the twenty-fourth of April of 1974, two warplanes flew in the sky of the city, breaking through the sky and the calm of the morning of the month of flowers, jasmine and daffodils with their terrifying buzz, foretelling a pessimistic disaster that reminds me of the insults of our people in the countryside of the South when crows squawk over their heads.
After an hour a giant plane flew over the city of Qala Dza once again called Topoliev or Bagger, a plane carrying and launching heavy bombs, which is banned internationally, called Napalm bombs, and it was accompanied by two warplanes to protect it, most people were asleep did not expect to be bombed by the ill-fated planes despite the warnings and expectations of an attack and bombing from the Kurdish authorities, the screaming warning started with the arrival of the planes, and everyone was shouting in the Kurdish language. Hat ... Hat ... it means it came ... it came ... it came, yes, the planes came to bomb the children, to bomb the students who dreaming of a promising future For them and their families, at this moment I remembered my family, my father, my mother, my brothers and my little sister.
The Russian-made Bagger Topoliev plane discharged four napalm bombs on several places in the city and one of them landed in the student’s hostel “warehouse”.
The martyr Azad in the warehouse could not rush and go to the trenches that we dug next to the warehouse, and everyone who left the warehouse survived, but whoever remained was martyred.
A night before, the martyr Azad used to sing for us his famous Kurdish song don’t cry “Demagri Magri”.
Sarwar, who dreamed of marriage, was martyred on the day of the engagement, the Henna day and the day of the wedding, his blood was like roses’ water that was sprinkled over the heads on the day of parties, the days of Eid, and the day of engagement and marriage. RIP Sarwar, your name is engraved in the honourable martyrs list.
The weight of the napalm bomb is about a ton of highly combustible materials and gunpowder mixed with TNT, this bomb internationally banned, but unfortunately it was allowed and not prohibited from hitting the Kurds and students in particular, it was a terrible massacre that caused the bombing.
Building glass, stone, rock and bomb fragments were everywhere, everything was blackened by burns and smoke.
I used to collect the remains of the martyrs and remove the debris, rocks and stones from the bodies of women and children. One of my friend was with me.
The faces of everyone were yellow and devoid of blood. We did not taste the food from the severity of shock and astonishment for several days. You can read the size of the tragedy in our eyes, I felt after this bombing that the bloodstream and the colour in my veins had changed.

The Kurdish leadership declared the twenty-fourth of April as the day of the eternal Kurdish martyr, and this was the first day for the martyr to witness a heinous massacre carried out by criminals without being punished until these lines were written, and herein lies the tragedy.

Then I decided to leave the city and go to the city of Choman, the Kurdish headquarters in the high mountains of Kurdistan, with a number of my fellow surviving students. My friend Hassan Amin Mezuri was with me. We were students at Basra University.

The journey required us to walk on the edges and cliff of the mountains, we should have avoided the army ranks and the bombing of aircraft, artillery, minefields, and wolves that howled at nightfall. I did not know these terms previously nor these roads, but I learned them prematurely, it is a matter of life or death, it is a matter Kurdish people who are struggling to survive.

What a curse, as soon as we got to Galala Bridge, so planes bombed the city of Galala again, killing more than thirty elderly sheikhs who were in the deserted city. Once again I found myself facing a situation that I had never seen in my life, but what can me and my companions do? We have now reached this afflicted city.
We started collecting the body parts of the dead and putting them in an agricultural machinery, an open tractor (tractor) amid the wailing and screaming of the mothers of the victims, in these moments I remembered my mother, when my brother died, and I realized how sad her feelings were at that moment when death mixed with the sad memories, that it is love and distance from the mother my beloved, it is another day for the martyr. How many days will I count from the days of the martyrs?

Helebcha and the five thousand martyrs or the martyrs of the Faili Kurds who were absent from the oppressive Arab Ba'athist regime. The number of martyrs among the young Faili Kurds has reached more than twenty five thousand, and we have not found a trace of them until these lines are written.
Why did they build a monument for you, martyr? Why did they sing the anthem for you, and why did they call you a martyr? Do tyrants understand the meaning of martyrdom? No, they do not understand because they are cowards because they are in a status other than your holy status. They are at the bottom and in the gutter. They are in the dustbin of history.

We will make a monument for you, martyr, in every mass grave in Halabcha, Baghdad, Kirkuk, Kut, Basra, Karbala, and in all parts of Iraq.
You will be a symbol for us, martyr, all our days will be a title for you, martyr, Rest in peace and sleep the soul of the eye, glory and eternity are yours, happy martyr day.
Dr. Dhia Soramli
London 24 April 2021