We are chemical weapons attack survivors. Now, we are trying to hold corporations accountable for their role in the attack. Ask us anything.
On March 16, 1988, a yellow cloud of mustard and sarin gas swirled throughout the city of Halabja in the Kurdish Region of Iraq. As the deadly gas seeped its way through the doors and windows of homes, over 5,000 Kurds were killed and more than 10,000 were injured in the most brutal chemical weapons attack since World War II.
It is clear that Saddam Hussein ordered this genocide, but he did not do it alone. A lawsuit based on new evidence and testimony from experts hired by the German Export Authority alleges that some of Europe’s largest corporations entered into a conspiracy to build and try to hide the purpose of the chemical weapons facilities Saddam Hussein used to carry out this genocide.
Two people who survived the attack –a man who was 19 at the time, who still suffers from respiratory disability, and a young girl who was orphaned and blinded – are plaintiffs in this case, members of the Halabja Chemical Victims Society, and will be joining Reddit for an AMA about the lawsuit, 30th anniversary of the attack, and the need to hold corporations like those that built Saddam’s chemical weapons accountable.
Answering the AMA today are two survivors. Because of language and disability, their answers may come a little more slowly than other AMAs:
Aras Abid Akram was 19 years old during the attack. Prior to the attack, he worked as a retailer selling drinks imported from Baghdad. He lost ten members of his family in the attack, including his parents and eight siblings. He was transferred to Iran for treatment and stayed there for 6 months. Upon returning to Iraq, he had to stay in a complex prepared by the Saddam Regime for people who survived in the attack in Halabja. He still suffers from lung disabilities and eye disease.
Mardin Mahmood Fatah was 4 years old on the day of the attack. She was severely burned and lost her vision because of the poisonous gases. She was hospitalized in Tehran, Iran for more than 3 months and lost her consciousness for a period of time. She was taken in by a family in Iran and lived with them for 10 years. After the father of that family died, she was informed that she was not his daughter, and not part of the family. She returned to Iraq to search for her true family and later found out that her true mother and brother were killed by the chemical weapons in the attack. Her father, who had married another woman and had a new family, refused to bring her into his household. As the education she received in Iran was fundamentally different than the studies taught in the Kurdish Region, she was required to start high school again. She is currently pursuing her college education but is suffering from extreme post-traumatic stress.
The Halabja Chemical Victims Society site to learn more about the attack and the lawsuit.
Aras Abid Akram is featured in this video about the attack.
Read a long history of the events from the HCVS site.
Lastly, here is an actual link to the Wikipedia page on the attack: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halabja_chemical_attack
Questions will begin to be answered at 12:00 ET.
Update/Closing Hey everyone! Thank you for being such gracious hosts to our AMA participants. They tried to answer as many questions as possible. We know you have lots more questions, so if you will, please visit the site https://www.halabjavictimssociety.org/ to learn more about the attacks and the lawsuit. Many of your questions can be answered there. Don't forget about this attack and some of the victims experiences you've heard here today. Their stories deserve to be heard.
Have a good day, Reddit!