"Away with them I say and show them death."
Tamburlaine the Great, Part One
"For the young, the final stage was Topzawa."
-- Rahman, an elderly man from Darbarou village, Taqtaq.
The Popular Army Camp at Topzawa
TOPZAWA is one of the commonest place names in northern Iraq;the map of Kurdistan is dotted with Topzawas. Most of them weretiny anonymous hamlets, of the sort that perished by the hundredsduring Anfal. Like many place names, it is incongruous. Goktapa,site of the May 3 chemical attack, meant "green hill." Buchenwald,the Nazi concentration camp, was a "beech forest."
, inKurdish, means "artillery";
is betrothed. Combined, the twowords evoke sniggers among schoolchildren, for they refer,somewhat brutally, to the act that is performed by the male on hiswedding night.
But just as no Kurd will ever again think of "Anfal" as a
of the Koran, so no one will ever again hear the secondary meaningof "Topzawa" as a smutty joke. For the Topzawa they willremember is a sprawling army base on a highway leadingsouthwest out of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Covering about twosquare miles, Topzawa is bounded by two underground oilpipelines, a railroad repair yard and a military airfield. For thevillagers who were trucked away from their burning villages by thearmy during Anfal, all roads seemed to lead to Kirkuk, and toTopzawa. At Topzawa, any notion that Anfal was simply acounterinsurgency campaign evaporates.
No official documents have so far come to light from the Kirkuk headquarters of the various agencies that were involved in Anfal.But a letter from
Suleimaniyeh to the unnamed director of