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The 5th of March - the celebration and greatest dream achievement for the Kurds

The 5th of March - the celebration and greatest dream achievement for the Kurds
The Qulla street in Ranya, March 5, 1991


Peregraf- Surkew Mohammed

On the 5th of March 1991, along with the falling rain, a piece of news reaches Chwarqwrna Provice from Ranya that goes: "a man, who is psychologically ill, covered a public picture of Sadam Husain, the president of Iraq at that time, with mud.  At the same time, a group of youth started to applaud as support, and this led to a protest, destabilizing the situation of the area."

After few hours of the arrival of the news about the protest, the revolutionary armed groups took advantage of the situation and expanded it to a point that became the beginning of the rise of Ranya revolution that started two days earlier than planned. This is the account of Nyazi Hama Aziz, who actively participated in the revolution and has documented the incidents of the revolution and its subsequent days in a book.

On the 5th of March, the people of Ranya revolted and took hold on all the establishment of the Ba’ath regime, all the areas of Btwen and Pshdar were liberated the following day. Sulaymaniyah city revolted on the 7th of March, it reached Garmyan area on the 9th of March and on the 11th of March, the people of Hawler revolted too. The last city to revolt was Kirkuk which was on the 21st of March; the Nawroz day.

Nyazi Hama Aziz is from Ranya. He was part of armed cells, thus he participated in the Ranya Revolution actively. He gives his detailed account of the Ranya revolution and its consequences to Peregraf.

The persecution of Ba'ath regime against Kurds and the terrible condition of the people, along with the sanction put on Iraq due to Kuwait war affected Kurdish population and eventually became the reasons that brought about the revolution.

The days before the revolution the Kurds were yearning for freedom, so the leaders of the revolutionary parties created a council for setting up a plan for the revolution on the 7th of March. The secret armed cells in the cities were informed and the preparations were made.

Two days before the planned date, news reached Ranya which caused the revolution to happen two days earlier, "It was a rainy Tuesday on the 5th of March, in the middle of the preparations for the revolution, a group of youth encouraged Hamai Hamal to insult a public picture of Sadam Hussain by covering it with mud. Around 100 people gathered and stared applauding the man. The regime forces were scared by the incident and brought armed forces from Ranya and Hajiawa to frighten away the people and the city was put under curfew."

After a few hours, the news from Chwarqwrna would reach Ranya. "We were the secret armed cells, thus we were prepared for the revolution. We took advantage of the incident and expanded it. We said that protest happened at Chwarqwrna and people got martyred, which was false. Soon afterwards, people closed their shops and activists blocked the streets with barrels and fruit carts. That created an upheaval in the city."

Afterwards, a group of 100 youth started a protest march from the great mosque of the city towards the Ranya police station and they were countered by guns.

"I was there in person, they started shooting and the people ran away but they organized themselves soon afterwards. At that moment, a youngster called Ardallan Adham, still alive in Norway, brought a Kalashnikov and said that this regime cannot be knocked down by clapping, then he stared firing on the police, more people fled to the streets," Said Nyazi

A picture of Ardalan Adman, the first who opened fire in the uprising, in years after the uprising. Nyazi Hama Aziz has sent the photo to Peregraf


According to Nyazi , after the shooting by Ardalan, Ali Nabi, a well-known name of Ranya, would go to the streets with his relatives, all armed. "Ali Nabi (got martyred in 1994 civil war) who was officially allowed to possess a gun, was secretly connected to PUK and was prepared for the revolution with his relatives. The police first thought that Ali Nabi and his relatives would protect them but they tied up the police and killed two of them. There was shooting from everywhere; Ba'ath Office, Sara, Intelligence Department and police station, were all under attack."

"From the mosque speakers, we encouraged people in Kurdish and Arabic, which played a massive role in influencing people. They were participating en masse with whatever gang they could get and even the Kurds in Ba'ath forces participated in the revolution."

Nyazi also states that women played a significant role in the revolution. They fought shoulder to shoulder with men against Ba'ath regime forces. They went out of their houses and made use of whatever guns came in their hands.

According to Nyazi’s data on March 9th, nine people were martyred and throughout the whole process, the number raised up to 60 martyrs. He also mentions that the people treated Ba'ath regime militants kindly, no captives had been tortured.

The return of Peshmerga and the title of ‘Gate of Revolution’

On March 5th, Ranya city was liberated and on the following day the areas of Bary Marga, Pshadar and Btwen to Koya city were liberated too. At night, on the 7th of March, Peshmerga forces arrived at Ranya.

"On the 8th of March, Peshmerga came down from the mountains and joined the people and they received a warm welcome by the people. On the 11th of March, the leaders of Kurdish parties, including Masoud Barzani, Nawshirwan Mustafa, Kosrat Rasul and Ali Bapir, arrived at Ranya. I say this for history, Rasul Mamand (a leader in Communist Party) came back on the 8th of March and he was the first to name Ranya as the ‘Gate of Revolution’."

Even though Nyazi says that he is no longer affiliated with PUK, he confirms that the majority of those who had a significant participation in the Ranya revolution, were from PUK because "PUK was strong and well-organized in the area."

The Ba’ath regime had its own reaction towards the people’s uprising, "on the 6th of March, the 5th brigade of Iraqi army and the consular, Qasim Axay Koya, had come to control Ranya again, between Ranya and Hizop, where I was too close to the fighting. People were badly beaten; they left three tanks although many officials and soldiers were killed."

Ranya on March 6, 1991

Between Ranya and Chwarqwrna, there was an Iraqi military base in which the 24th Division of Iraqi Army had settled in. On the 6th of March, several helicopters came for the safety of the high officials at the base, "They came to take the officials to the city of Kirkuk, but when they arrived, people took over the base and the head of the division was even arrested, without being insulted or harmed."

As Nyazi Hama Aziz narrates, if the head of the division had intended to harm the civil people he could do so, "The base was only three kilometers away from Ranya, he could fire some rockets to the city and kill many people, he had tanks and many other weapons, but he did not use them."

He also states that the head of the division did not return to the Ba’ath regime, "He went to Iran and joined the Shiites opposition parties. Recently, he had been teaching at Military College in Chwarqwrna."

Women made men not afraid of anything

Alongside men, women also played a great role in the uprising and were martyred as well. They encouraged the people to continue the uprising; these events occurred at a time when no one was sure of success.

"On the day, most of the women made use of simple house cleaning equipment to confront the regime. Their enthusiast made the men not afraid of anything. A woman named Gulabakh, was martyred on that day," Nyazi said.

Maryam Qadiry, whose nickname was Gulabakh, belonged to the city of Kermanshah in the western part of Kurdistan. She was from the Peshmerga Organization of Iranian Kurdistan Struggle, whose base was close to Ranya back then.

Nyazi also mentions the role of intellectuals and writers at the uprising, "Ahmad Shewaw, one of the prominent poets of the district, had been influencing the people by reading poems to encourage them."

The poet Ahmed Shewaw at the day of uprising

The people had been overjoyed by the victory of the revolution and the elimination of Ba’ath regime. They consider the victory as a feast day, "we didn't expect the victory to be as great as it was, it is a dream that came true."

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The 5th of March - the celebration and greatest dream achievement for the Kurds

2019-03-06 18:21:23


Peregraf- Surkew Mohammed

On the 5th of March 1991, along with the falling rain, a piece of news reaches Chwarqwrna Provice from Ranya that goes: "a man, who is psychologically ill, covered a public picture of Sadam Husain, the president of Iraq at that time, with mud.  At the same time, a group of youth started to applaud as support, and this led to a protest, destabilizing the situation of the area."

After few hours of the arrival of the news about the protest, the revolutionary armed groups took advantage of the situation and expanded it to a point that became the beginning of the rise of Ranya revolution that started two days earlier than planned. This is the account of Nyazi Hama Aziz, who actively participated in the revolution and has documented the incidents of the revolution and its subsequent days in a book.

On the 5th of March, the people of Ranya revolted and took hold on all the establishment of the Ba’ath regime, all the areas of Btwen and Pshdar were liberated the following day. Sulaymaniyah city revolted on the 7th of March, it reached Garmyan area on the 9th of March and on the 11th of March, the people of Hawler revolted too. The last city to revolt was Kirkuk which was on the 21st of March; the Nawroz day.

Nyazi Hama Aziz is from Ranya. He was part of armed cells, thus he participated in the Ranya Revolution actively. He gives his detailed account of the Ranya revolution and its consequences to Peregraf.

The persecution of Ba'ath regime against Kurds and the terrible condition of the people, along with the sanction put on Iraq due to Kuwait war affected Kurdish population and eventually became the reasons that brought about the revolution.

The days before the revolution the Kurds were yearning for freedom, so the leaders of the revolutionary parties created a council for setting up a plan for the revolution on the 7th of March. The secret armed cells in the cities were informed and the preparations were made.

Two days before the planned date, news reached Ranya which caused the revolution to happen two days earlier, "It was a rainy Tuesday on the 5th of March, in the middle of the preparations for the revolution, a group of youth encouraged Hamai Hamal to insult a public picture of Sadam Hussain by covering it with mud. Around 100 people gathered and stared applauding the man. The regime forces were scared by the incident and brought armed forces from Ranya and Hajiawa to frighten away the people and the city was put under curfew."

After a few hours, the news from Chwarqwrna would reach Ranya. "We were the secret armed cells, thus we were prepared for the revolution. We took advantage of the incident and expanded it. We said that protest happened at Chwarqwrna and people got martyred, which was false. Soon afterwards, people closed their shops and activists blocked the streets with barrels and fruit carts. That created an upheaval in the city."

Afterwards, a group of 100 youth started a protest march from the great mosque of the city towards the Ranya police station and they were countered by guns.

"I was there in person, they started shooting and the people ran away but they organized themselves soon afterwards. At that moment, a youngster called Ardallan Adham, still alive in Norway, brought a Kalashnikov and said that this regime cannot be knocked down by clapping, then he stared firing on the police, more people fled to the streets," Said Nyazi

A picture of Ardalan Adman, the first who opened fire in the uprising, in years after the uprising. Nyazi Hama Aziz has sent the photo to Peregraf


According to Nyazi , after the shooting by Ardalan, Ali Nabi, a well-known name of Ranya, would go to the streets with his relatives, all armed. "Ali Nabi (got martyred in 1994 civil war) who was officially allowed to possess a gun, was secretly connected to PUK and was prepared for the revolution with his relatives. The police first thought that Ali Nabi and his relatives would protect them but they tied up the police and killed two of them. There was shooting from everywhere; Ba'ath Office, Sara, Intelligence Department and police station, were all under attack."

"From the mosque speakers, we encouraged people in Kurdish and Arabic, which played a massive role in influencing people. They were participating en masse with whatever gang they could get and even the Kurds in Ba'ath forces participated in the revolution."

Nyazi also states that women played a significant role in the revolution. They fought shoulder to shoulder with men against Ba'ath regime forces. They went out of their houses and made use of whatever guns came in their hands.

According to Nyazi’s data on March 9th, nine people were martyred and throughout the whole process, the number raised up to 60 martyrs. He also mentions that the people treated Ba'ath regime militants kindly, no captives had been tortured.

The return of Peshmerga and the title of ‘Gate of Revolution’

On March 5th, Ranya city was liberated and on the following day the areas of Bary Marga, Pshadar and Btwen to Koya city were liberated too. At night, on the 7th of March, Peshmerga forces arrived at Ranya.

"On the 8th of March, Peshmerga came down from the mountains and joined the people and they received a warm welcome by the people. On the 11th of March, the leaders of Kurdish parties, including Masoud Barzani, Nawshirwan Mustafa, Kosrat Rasul and Ali Bapir, arrived at Ranya. I say this for history, Rasul Mamand (a leader in Communist Party) came back on the 8th of March and he was the first to name Ranya as the ‘Gate of Revolution’."

Even though Nyazi says that he is no longer affiliated with PUK, he confirms that the majority of those who had a significant participation in the Ranya revolution, were from PUK because "PUK was strong and well-organized in the area."

The Ba’ath regime had its own reaction towards the people’s uprising, "on the 6th of March, the 5th brigade of Iraqi army and the consular, Qasim Axay Koya, had come to control Ranya again, between Ranya and Hizop, where I was too close to the fighting. People were badly beaten; they left three tanks although many officials and soldiers were killed."

Ranya on March 6, 1991

Between Ranya and Chwarqwrna, there was an Iraqi military base in which the 24th Division of Iraqi Army had settled in. On the 6th of March, several helicopters came for the safety of the high officials at the base, "They came to take the officials to the city of Kirkuk, but when they arrived, people took over the base and the head of the division was even arrested, without being insulted or harmed."

As Nyazi Hama Aziz narrates, if the head of the division had intended to harm the civil people he could do so, "The base was only three kilometers away from Ranya, he could fire some rockets to the city and kill many people, he had tanks and many other weapons, but he did not use them."

He also states that the head of the division did not return to the Ba’ath regime, "He went to Iran and joined the Shiites opposition parties. Recently, he had been teaching at Military College in Chwarqwrna."

Women made men not afraid of anything

Alongside men, women also played a great role in the uprising and were martyred as well. They encouraged the people to continue the uprising; these events occurred at a time when no one was sure of success.

"On the day, most of the women made use of simple house cleaning equipment to confront the regime. Their enthusiast made the men not afraid of anything. A woman named Gulabakh, was martyred on that day," Nyazi said.

Maryam Qadiry, whose nickname was Gulabakh, belonged to the city of Kermanshah in the western part of Kurdistan. She was from the Peshmerga Organization of Iranian Kurdistan Struggle, whose base was close to Ranya back then.

Nyazi also mentions the role of intellectuals and writers at the uprising, "Ahmad Shewaw, one of the prominent poets of the district, had been influencing the people by reading poems to encourage them."

The poet Ahmed Shewaw at the day of uprising

The people had been overjoyed by the victory of the revolution and the elimination of Ba’ath regime. They consider the victory as a feast day, "we didn't expect the victory to be as great as it was, it is a dream that came true."