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Surviving a Chemical Attack in the Kurdish Conflict

Asad Gozeh, Kurdish Survivor

The goats that I saw was during the first gas usage on the village of Shaikh Wassan. I survived, as I say, the first chemical attack. I had—my brother was affected very badly. About 200 people, we were at the top of the mountain hiding. I had to take care of six people. I went down to where I was living and got some bread and some food that I had and packed it in my bag, and carried it and went back to where they were living. After the third day, there was at the same time a campaign, a military campaign, coming through the valley. They killed the survivors. They burned the villages that were there; there was forty-two villages in that valley. They destroyed every single village by bulldozers, razed them to the ground, and then killed the survivors, arrested them, and they were buried in a mass grave. We found it out in September of ’91, the mass grave for them. I went down to the village. I saw couple goats in the village. The goat had a baby. And because the mustard gas makes affect the weak parts of the body—the eyes, the armpits, and for the goat the eye was the first thing that got affected. So both the mother and the baby goat were blind. They were calling each other, but they could not reach each other. I can’t forget that scene. What’s the fault of the animals? The problem with mass destruction weapons is that they don’t distinguish between birds, human being, and civilians and fighters and animals. They kill everything. They kill anything breathing.