It all began in the spring of 1988, in a small house on the mountains of Northern Iraq (Kurdistan). There was a man and women sitting in their living room with both sides of the family gathered around them, having conversations, eating and listening to the radio. It was a very peaceful moment. It all changed in a split second the radio was suddenly loud and a loud voice of a man came through it, “ATTENTION,ATTENTION EVERYBODY LISTEN NOW SOUTHERN KURDISTAN HAS BEEN ATTACKED FLEE THE COUNTRY OR GET TO SAFETY AS FAST AS YOU CAN IF YOU ARE FLEEING ONLY TAKE IMPORTANT BELONGINGS AND MAKE YOUR WAY TO THE TURKISH BORDER NOW”. Suddenly it went completely quiet you could have heard a pin drop. Everything went by so fast, they grabbed all their important belonging, traveled light and took the family members with them that decided to leave as well but most of the family didn’t want to and promised to be safe. So they had to say “Good bye” to somewhere they used to call “Home”. That’s the day where their journey started.
Over the next few days it was horrible for them they had to walk thousands of kilometers with thousands of people all following each other to find a safe destination in somewhere in turkey. Throughout the crowd people were talking and having conversations and the family had overheard that one of the soldiers in the area found out why Kurdistan was getting invaded and people were getting killed and severely injured was because Kurdistan was an oil rich region of Iraq and the monster named Saddam Hussein was trying to get power over that but he knew the Kurds wouldn’t just give it up, he knew they were rebels and fought for anything they believed in. So he knew it was going to be difficult to get especially if he was trying to run the region and possibly the country as well. He decided to just kill any Kurd in his path he didn’t care about how young or old he just killed the Kurds like they were nothing. That’s how the first attack happened on southern Kurdistan. It was one of the most horrible memorable moments in history all over the middle east especially for the Kurds to this day. The Halabja chemical attack (Kurdish: Kîmyabarana Helebce), also known as the Halabja Massacre or Bloody Friday was a genocidal massacre against the Kurdish people that took place on March 16th 1988, during the closing days of the Iran-Iraq War in the Kurdish city of Halabja in Southern Kurdistan. The family had finally found their way to the border illegally crossing it and making their way over to the city of Diyarbakir.
The day they made it to Diyarbakir was on March 19th 1988 it was humid, hot, sticky and made you claustrophobic. “How do you have patience in this kind of situation”. The man said. They made their way to the camps. At the time the Turkish government was very helpful they had set up camps for the Kurds so they could have somewhere to live. It might have not been home but it was safe. About a year in of living in this very small camp the man and women had a little girl born on march 21st 1889 with dark brown hair and light brown eyes, even in the heart of a war they still loved and cared for her. Now a family of 3.
The next 6 months the war was still as bad as it was, news was getting out that people were getting murdered by Saddam and his army but they were getting stopped from the help they got from all around the world.People were trying to stop him especially with the help of the American army. It might have not helped all the Kurds yet but it was a start. The Kurds kept fighting they chanted, fought, and sacrificed but never stopped fighting for their people.
Over the next few days the family decided it was time to leave this wasn’t home for them, they had to keep going. ” My wife it’s time to move on we must leave”. The man said. ” Yes let’s leave tonight then we will travel with anyone else that is leaving as well”. They had gotten word that Greece was taking in Kurd refugees it was a long way there but they knew it would be worth it. They grabbed all their important belonging and made their way to Greece.
It took days of walking to get there they had to illegally cross the border of Greece to get in the country there was no other possible way. It was at midnight not just their family but also thousands of others, the security of Greece was horrible at the time so it was pretty easy for them to get through. On June 7th 1989 they found the refugee camps that the government had set up for the Kurds. Large numbers of Kurds migrated to Greece during that time and other parts of Europe. The city they were in was called Llioupoli they lived in that city for about a year and throughout the year finally got a job and had a little girl with brown hair and dark brown eyes born on June 25th 1990. Now a family of 4. Luckily for the mother that was taking care of the family wasn’t always alone at home while her husband was at work, she had her mother in law and other family members that would help as well. They had finally had enough money to have each family to have their own apartment but not in Llioupoli. They moved to the ancient city of Athens on June 27th 1991. The year went by very quickly.
Year 2 on March 5th 1992 on a sunny day a girl with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes was born. But wasn’t the last. Year 3 on November 24th 1993 a boy with dark brown hair and oddly enough hazel brown eyes that changed to a darker shade over the years was born. Now a family of 6. Even though they were safe they hoped that their family back home were still alive and safe.
About a month after the baby boy was born they had gotten such great news. They had got sponsored by United Nations which meant they were going to be sent to somewhere so they could finally start their new life in.Oddly enough they were supposed to be sent to a place called Australia but funny thing is they got switched up. They went through all the paperwork and finally had got accepted to a place called “Canada”.
On January of 1994 on a winter night they were all sent to Québec they stayed there for about a month to get comfortable but it didn’t feel like home. In the February of 1994 they made it to Ontario, they finally made it to a destination away from the war. On March 28 1994 a girl was born with brown hair and brown eyes. Now a family of 7. The years went by, the war was dying out but was still bad, the family was growing up, the kids were getting the education they needed and for once something was finally peaceful for them. On June 4th 1999 a girl was born with dark brown hair, light brown eyes people said she looked a lot like her oldest sister.Now a family of 8.
About 3 months with the new born. They got amazing news, news they had been wanting to hear for years, they got word that their family back in Kurdistan were safe. The parents wanted to visit them and that’s what they did. The family members were so surprised and happy to see each other they shed so many tears of joy. They stayed there for about a month and returned back to Canada.
On December 30th 2006 Saddam Hussein was captured and sentenced to death for all he did. He was hung to death. Thanks to the help of the world especially America this monster was finally dead and off the face of this earth. “Finally” all the Kurds said. Through all the suffering of losing loved ones and people they had known, it was finished and they were finally at peace. On June 12th 2008 a boy was born with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. He was the last kid they had with finally a family of 9.
The journey had finally come to an end, Ontario Canada was their final destination a place where they could live, take care of each other and love each other but that all happened only because this man and women never gave up. I am proud to say that the man Ahmet Shibli and his wife Khanni Shibli are my parents, because of the journey they went through, they taught me something in life, there story taught me that I should never give up on something I want to achieve, want, or believe in. For all they went through with all the sacrifices they made I am happy that my parents finally got what they always wanted and that was a place to call “Home”.
“No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.”
-L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz