New film to be made about al-Anfal

photo: AKNews

Iranian-born filmmaker, Soheil Sokhanpazhuh, has announced that he will produce a film about the Anfal atrocities. Sokhanpazhuh hopes to start shooting the film in the coming weeks on locations in Kurdistan where the atrocities took place.

The Anfal campaigns, a systematic programme of ethnic cleansing, were carried out in 1988; the centrepiece of several years of genocidal warfare against the Kurds in Iraq. 180,000 Kurds perished in this genocide. Thousands of villages were destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds were forced to flee.

Kurdish soldiers carrying coffins of Anfal victims. Memorial ceremony, 2008. photo:

The filmmaker says that he wants to show the film at international festivals, raise awareness about the Kurdish nation and about the tragedies of al-Anfal.

Sokhanpazhuh, born in 1968, is a graduate of the Film Department at Tehran’s Academy of Fine Arts. He has participated in numerous Iranian and international film festivals. He produced and directed a film called ‘88’ about Halabja, where 5,000 Kurds were massacred in a chemical gas attack in 1988 by the Saddam regime.

In 2005 Kurdish director Mano Khalil co-produced a 52-minute TV documentary for Swiss TV called ‘Al-Anfal, In the name of Allah, Ba’ath and Saddam.’


مخرج ايراني ينتج فيلماً سينمائياً يتناول فاجعة الانفال .  AKNews, 15 July 2010.

Fîlma Al Anfal di televîzyona Swîserî de. Avesta

Genocide in Iraq. HRW report, 1993.


4 thoughts on “New film to be made about al-Anfal

  1. I visited Sulimeiniya two years ago. There is an exhibition of photographs of gas victims In the basement of the former Secret Police Headquarters. I had seen the pictures on the Internet before. It was still terrible to see them on walls. I cried.

    I cried because I had heard that the poison gas was made in German-equipped factories, and I grew up in Germany. I was thinking of my own share in this, not of the victims. The victims seemed too remote.

    Here in the west few people know of the Kurdisn nation and even fewer know about what they went through.


    And I don’t even know any of their names.

  2. Andrew,
    Thanks for sharing that personal story. You’re right about how few people in the west really understand the suffering. I hope that Sokhanpazhuh’s film is a worthy of his efforts and that it’s widely distributed.

    As for not knowing any names, I’ll give you one. His name is Omar Khawar. The photograph of this father and his dead child has become an iconic image of the Halabja massacre. You probably know the photo:


  3. KB,

    Yes, I know the picture. And I was told the stories of some of the victims by the officials in the compound. They led me through the prison and torture cells and and explained what they could. They remembered it.

    I took picture of the cells and the gallery. I never uploaded the pictures of the gallery because I found them too scary. Empty children lying dead on the ground was too much for me. If they had at least been wounded it would have been easier to stomach. By “empty” I mean “devoid of life”. That is what the poison gas did.

    Here are the pictures I took of the compound, sans the Halabja gallery:

    I am so sorry. When I went there I expected to see the worst. But I wasn’t prepared for the totality of it.

  4. My husband’s Father, Mother, and Brother died from chemical attacks on their village of Ekmole on Aug 25, 1988. This was part of the last Anfal Campaigns.
    My kids have no grandparents and my husband and his siblings grew up as orphans.

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