2.18.2003

In the northern-most section of Iraq are where the Kurds live. My son-in-law Meran and his family came from from this area. They lived in a small village named Bigdowdi. Several of Meran's uncles were Peshmergas, or guerilla resistance soldiers against Saddam's regime.

In March 1988 Saddam began campaigns against Iraqi citizens specifically the Anfal campain targeting the Kurds; it began with Halabja...later in August, they gassed Bigdowi.

Meran's mother and father were with his family when they first left for the mountains for safety. However, they realized that in the rush to escape, they had left important papers. Despite the risk, they felt they needed to go back and retrieve them. A relative went with them to assist. They never made it back.

Later, after the family felt it would be safe, they went back to try and find them. They eventually did, but it was sad news. The gas had overcome them; they had safely retrieved the documents, and were on their way back, but couldn't quite make it. The family had to bury them there, and continue on their way.

During the next 4 years, they lived as refugees in Turkey. My daughter told me their camp was near Mardin, Turkey. They were fortunate enough to be sponsored by Lutheran Social Services to come to the United States in 1992. It was here in Fargo, ND that my daughter met Meran...