PAPER PUPPET TESTIMONY
The Kurdish uprising of 1991 against venomous dictator Saddam Hussein continues to be an important historical event for all Kurdish people. It was the day that marked the defeat of the Ba’ath regime in Kurdistan’s cities. Each year, video footage from that particular moment when people broke into the notorious prison in Sulaymaniyah is shown in commemoration programmes on Kurdish TV channels. The Red Prison (or Security Prison) was a dreadful building in the middle of the city. It stood out as a symbol of terror and oppression, for many years; hundreds of Kurdish men and women were tortured and killed there by the dictator.
The video footage is part of an old archive taken by a former Peshmerga fighter and filmmaker Abbas Abdulrazaq. He was in the ranks of the Peshmerga forces from the 1980s onwards. He was one of the five photographers who took photos of the Halabja chemical bombardment by Saddam’ regime.
They erased the entire history of female prisoners. The plight of those women and the mystery of the caravan were ignored and were neither included in the memory of the building nor on TV programmes because these women might have been raped, and the political establishment does not seem to be willing to confront that history.