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In Court, Saddam Criticizes Kurdish Treatment of Assyrians
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On Wednesday, November 8, 2006, at the trial proceedings of Saddam Hussein, one Kurdish witness, answering a question from his lawyer, testified that the villages destroyed during the Anfal operation of 1988 were not necessarily all Kurdish. Speaking in Kurdish, the witness admitted that one particular village (that he personally is familiar with and mentioned by name) was predominantly inhabited by "fala" (Christians) while others were inhabited by "fala and musilman" (Christians and Muslims). The official certified translator, who was under oath, and who happened to be a Kurd too, translated the statement of the witness as "one particular destroyed village was predominantly inhabited by Christians while others were inhabited by Christians and Kurds."

Additionally, the witness's personal attorney, who was also a Kurd, insisted on portraying all the Christians who were affected by the Anfal as Kurds.

Ironically, Saddam Hussein in his statement stressed that the Christian Assyrians are the descendents of those who built Iraq thousands of years earlier. He stated that they are the real history of Iraq. Saddam asked, why are the Kurds Kurdifying them forcefully? He then asked, why not give them the freedom and opportunity to express and be who they really are.

Saddam's statement in this regard is important to Assyrians. As a previous president of Iraq, his statement seems a gesture of reparation. Was Saddam apologizing for all the damage he had inflicted on the Assyrians?

The other important question is: Why did the certified and official translator translate the word "musilman" (meaning "Muslims" in Kurdish language) into Kurds but did not translate the word "fala" (meaning "Christians" in Kurdish language) into Assyrians?

Why is the supposedly independent court so careless and where was the judge as he was listening to this attempt by the translator and attorney to undermine and marginalize the Assyrians in the court? Is the court only about defending Kurdish rights and making Anfal a solely Kurdish tragedy when other Iraqis, including Assyrians, suffered by it as well?

The original Arabic article is here.

Translated from Arabic by Fred Aprim.

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