Halabja: In the Golden Days

Part of the Journeys Festival International

Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan is known mainly because of the terrible chemical weapons attack in 1988. This formed part of the ‘Anfal’ campaign of persecution in which up to 182,000 Kurds were killed by Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime. Before Anfal, Halabja was famous for its gardens and the beauty of its landscapes, its poets and historical figures such as ‘Lady’ Adela Jaff.

Gulan and our associates have conducted interviews with people from Halabja to create a series of articles on the city’s art, theatre, music and sports. Together with essays written by experts on Halabja’s history, poetry and costumes, these articles are being published in this magazine as part of the Journeys Festival International 2020.

In addition to the many people from Halabja involved in this project, Gulan has also worked with Portsmouth’s Kurdish community, Portsmouth Cathedral and the organisation Mali Kurd. The large Kurdish community in Portsmouth, many of whom were originally from Halabja, have for many years held an annual commemoration ceremony for the Halabja attack.

Halabja: In the Golden Days was published online as part of the Journeys Festival International from 12th – 18th October 2020. The magazine can now be viewed / downloaded in .pdf format via the link below.

Press Coverage

Della Murad speaks about Halabja: In the Golden Days on Rudaw TV, 22 October 2020

Mariwan Jalal speaks about Halabja: In the Golden Days on Kurdsat Magazine, 14 October 2020

Responses

Thanks to Karwan Jamal Tahir, KRG High Representative to the UK @karwanTahir for your appreciation of our publication on the rich history and culture of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan.

I am absolutely gobsmacked by what the Gulan team have produced.   …my sincerest congratulations to you, Richard, Della ,Tan, the artists and all contributors who have made such a significant document; a document which I am sure will have a significant impact on not only the people of Halabja but on everyone who has the privilege of reading it. 

Judith Kerby

I think your magazine on Halabja is a brilliant idea and well executed. For too long Halabja has been synonymous with horrendous suffering. So it’s wonderful to have Gulan focus on the city’s history and impressive cultural past. There’s a real sense that this is helping Halabja ‘move on.’ So congratulations to all of you. 

Gwynne Roberts

The Halabja booklet is wonderful, a model for others to produce similar publications on so many other places in Kurdistan with interesting stories to tell.  The quality of writing and editing is superb, a key to be stringently promoted.

Stafford Clarry

… so beautiful and moving.  I’ve found it a fascinating read.

Kathryn Percival, Portsmouth Cathedral

This book was so amazing to read, with so many stories and stunning pictures captivating the natural beauty of the city and its people’s. It did more than just give me a better insight and understanding of this city where my parent and family once called home

Miran Kader

I’ve been enlightened to the immense artistic influence that Halabja had on the region, and its position of cultural wealth. As a young kurdish man born in the UK, it has been wonderful to read a piece which doesn’t solely focus on the tragedy that ensued; but instead on the riches of a city which defined a generation”. 

Basho Anvari

Well done on producing such a wonderful and insightful magazine . The combination of beautiful pictures and nostalgic testimonials really transported me to a different time and place, one which I sincerely hope returns. It is so important for the people of Halabja to know that their accomplishments and culture didn’t die on that fateful day and all the horror that came after it. Thank you for reminding us all of the eternal soul of Halabja.

Bano K

I took some time to look through it and I find it very well presented, rich with information and beautiful illustrations. A good effort to add another rich document to the Halabja and Kurdistan culture & history. Well done.

Kae Bahar

The magazine is very interesting in its contents and theme; it describes well the history, music, poetry, theatre and women of Halabja; many complements for the works that you have done. 

Baldin Ahmed

It really is the most wonderful book, with its combination of illustrations
(sketches, paintings, photographs) and words (poetry and prose) and the
thread which runs through it all of a unique place wantonly and
heartbreakingly destroyed.    I’m so moved by the resilience of Kurdish
people, and by the artistry which despite everything remains in their DNA.

Linda Laurence