RealNews

Kurds brush up on human rights

About 70 Kurdish leaders met Saturday to learn how to forgive Iraqi soldiers. Kader Hassan Kader, a tribal elder from a small village along the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and the “other Iraq,” had a long memory and a taste for revenge. In 1988, his sister and older brother disappeared, along with more than 100,000 others, during Saddam Hussein’s Anfal campaign to destroy Kurdish village life. They were never heard from again, and are thought to be buried in mass graves along the southern desert near Kuwait. Mr. Kader says he was sure that when he saw the first Iraqi soldier defecting or fleeing during a probable war, “I would kill him instantly.” But by midday, after he and about 70 other leaders from 21 villages listened to a seminar on human rights and refugee assistance, he changed his mind. “Now I see that it is better to be merciful,” says Kader, the creased lines of his face attesting to the burden of his years. “I will return to Mansoor Al Khan and do my best to convince my people. I will tell them that we have gained nothing from the war, and that we can benefit from leaving the fighting behind.” A coalition of Kurdish nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) made their first attempt Saturday to convince the villagers bordering Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to respect human rights and avert a blood bath of revenge. Full Story

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