Kurdish Genocide Memorial badge

16th March 2013

16 March 2013 was the 25th anniversary of the Halabja poison gas attack when the regime of Saddam Hussein massacred about 5000 Kurdish civilians and injured many more in an assault that has been officially defined as an act of genocide. This remains the largest ever single chemical weapons attack directed by a government against a civilian population.

Many thousands of Kurdish people and foreign guests gathered in Halabja to commemorate the attack and to remember the victims. Many of those speaking at and attending the event wore a lapel badge representing a white tulip. This memorial badge was conceived and designed by Della Murad, Gulan’s Artistic Director with Richard Wilding, Gulan’s Creative Director. Della was born in Halabja and was a teacher there before fleeing with her husband and children in 1986 – her students died in the attack on Halabja two years later. The memorial badge was commissioned by the Minister for Martyrs and Anfal Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government, Sabah Ahmed (Mamosta Aram).

The choice of a tulip to represent the victims of the genocide reflects the use of the red poppy in Britain as a symbol of remembrance. Each spring, tulips are harvested in Kurdistan as part of the Nowruz (New Year) celebrations. The leaves and petals of the flower on the badge lift up in hope, while the white colour was chosen to commemorate all Kurdish victims and as a universal symbol of peace.

Gulan is proud to be associated with the creation of the memorial badge and to have seen how widely used and appreciated it was at the commemoration ceremony this weekend.