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Growing Up Under the Iraqi Regime

Asad Gozeh, Kurdish Survivor

I grew up in a family that regarded patriotic, that loved the nation that loved the Kurds. That’s for the Iraqi—I’m living the Iraqi part. For the Iraqi part, this was too much. When the Kurdish revolution in 1961, the Kurdish rebel in 1961 happened against the Iraqi regime, my dad had to join the mountains. We were pretty young: I was only six years old; my brother was only one year older than me. During that time, it was too hard. I didn’t see my dad for several years. We saw all the brutalities of the Iraqi regime can do against the Kurds. I have seen tanks and houses burning. Our house got looted. My grandfather—in 1963 when Saddam’s party came to power, they went to my grandfather’s house and they beat my grandfather. He was over seventy years old, and they took him to prison. They put water under him in a concrete room, in the winter. The winter in my country is very harsh. They put cold water under him, and few months later, after he came out of the prison, he died.

Of course that affected opposite of what the government wanted, opposite of what the regime wanted. We came out patriotic. We loved our nation; we wanted to struggle for our nation. We refused the brutality of the regime. We refused the policies against the Kurds. So few years later, when I grew up, I became in the late twenties I had to join the mountains, because Saddam Hussein’s policies were more brutal against the Kurds. I had to join the mountains and fight for the right of the Kurds to live.