The Anfal Campaign happened twenty three years ago. No time should be wasted in documenting it: now people still remember details of Anfal but they forget more and more as the time is passing.
Collection of the memories must be done in a systematic way. My experience is that members of the Anfal families have a big need to talk about their experiences. And of course it is important that someone listens them. But research interviews must be done according a systematic plan and the target of the research must be clear.
With all the respect to Kurdish activists who document Anfal: my experience of their work is that often the main focus is to express how horrible thing Anfal was. We all agree about this. Academic research has other targets, it goes deeper. Art expresses feelings and emotions, scientific research facts. There is need for both of them. If the KRG wants Anfal to be accepted internationally as a genocide, the artistic methods are not enough despite they help the Kurds to go further in the healing process. There is need to present hard facts by academic research which is done according to international standards.
In 1918 there was a few months long civil war in my native country Finland after it had got her independence. The civil war still affects the country. New research, books, and movies are being made all the time.
The Kurdish genocide is much bigger issue than the Finnish civil war. The Kurds will document, survey and express their feelings about it for generations by methods of art, research, and civil society activities. Many different methods are necessary. Some of them are spontanous. But academic research, to be internationally respected, should not be spontanous or local. There must be a good plan to decide the priorities of the research.
And when the plan is ready, there must be enough of economical resources to make it true.
This text was published is Asos newspaper in Sulaymaniyah in Sebtember 2011.