Gendered Experiences of Genocide: Anfal Survivors in Kurdistan-Iraq

Between February and September 1988, the Iraqi government destroyed over 2000 Kurdish villages, killing somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 civilians and displacing many more. The operation was codenamed Anfal which literally means 'the spoils of war'. For the survivors of this campaign, Anfal did not end in September 1988: the aftermath of this catastrophe is as much a part of the Anfal story as the gas attacks, disappearances and life in the camps. This book examines Kurdish women's experience of violence, destruction, the disappearance of loved ones, and incarceration during the Anfal campaign. It explores the survival strategies of these women in the aftermath of genocide. By bringing together and highlighting women's own testimonies, Choman Hardi reconstructs the Anfal narrative in contrast to the current prevailng one which is highly politicised, simplified, and nationalistic. It also addresses women's silences about sexual abuse and rape in a patriarchal society which holds them responsible for having been a victim of sexual violence.

Buy This Book
Routledge Amazon
Buy this Book
Product Details

Series: Voices in Development Management
Hardcover: 232 pages
Publisher: Routledge; New edition (May 4, 2011)
Language: Englsh
ISBN-10: 0754677154
ISBN-13: 978-0754677154
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds

Diana Okcuoglu, Queen's Univerity
International Feminist Journal of Politics, 15 (1), 2013
Diana Okcuoglu
Department of Political Studies, Queen's University

"Hardi’s book is the first published feminist ethnography of mass violence in Iraqi Kurdistan. Recognizing the decades of systematic avoidance of Kurdish issues in academia, this book makes important contributions to the history of Kurds. The central aim of the book is to give voice to the women survivors of Anfal, the 1988 genocidal attacks on Kurdish villagers by Saddam Hussein’s Baathist party, which included the use of chemical weapons."

Laura Sjoberg, University of Florida
Gender and Development, 20, 2012
Laura Sjoberg
Associate Professor, University of Florida

"Perhaps the most compelling thing about Gendered Experiences of Genocide is the power and conviction with which these twin narratives of suffering and survival are told. The author’s career up to this point has been in poetry, and the book is written in a way that only a writer can write - on top of being engaging and accessible even to people unfamiliar with the conflict, it involves the reader emotionally in the victims’ narratives, in the complicated politics, and in the writing of history. The author makes a convincing case that, if they are not told now, these stories and the genocide that they are about may disappear from not only history books, but collective memory."

Eirini Avramopoulou
University of Cambridge, Historein, 2013
Eirini Avramopoulou
Social Anthropology/ Gender and Queer Studies

"The author’s commitment to searching for the “truth” matches her intention to represent and narrate the stories of women who, in the aftermath of genocide, are injured and traumatised, and, most of all, whose opaque words and worlds have since remained silenced. This silence deserves to find a voice, Hardi notes throughout the book. But how? How can women talk about their experiences especially if they are being advised to keep quiet?"

Diane E. King, University of Kentucky
Jurdish Studies, 2014
Diane E. King
Associate Professor

"This is a very, very important book. It is important for Kurds and Kurdistan, but not merely. In Choman Hardi’s book on the Anfal genocidal attacks and their survivors, we have the most systematic and sympathetic social science study of one of the most brutal and depraved acts of humanity in the late 20th century. "