HALABJA, Kurdistan Region — A group of 16 couples shared a wedding ceremony in the Kurdish city of Halabja so as not to forget the atrocities of March 16, 1988.
"I participated in the wedding that was arranged for Halabja University students. It’s different because we are with our colleagues. It’s a nice feeling because it’s a new day," one groom, Bawar Adnan, told Rudaw.
All couples dressed in Kurdish clothes.
"We all preferred Kurdish clothes. They were chosen by our sponsors. We thank them. We liked the clothes and they liked them too. It’s a nice feeling to make new friends. I hope a good life for everyone," said bride Shagul Star.
The University of Halabja arranged the ceremony.
"We noticed the number of marriages is fewer than the number of divorces. Our country is going to end up in crisis. We hopefully took the first step to direct our girls and boys to get married. We tried to be a part of the first step of starting a new life," Vice Chancellor Idris Karim said.
Rivan Beauty Centre was the clothing and make-up sponsor.
"I wanted to prove that woman can sponsor great work just like men. Being from Sulaimani province, I wanted to do it," said Heshu Aziz of the beauty centre.
"The reason behind choosing 16 couples is to mark the chemical attack of Halabja which was on March 16, 1988. I want to prepare 16 generations from Halabja with my project," she added.
Thirty-one years ago the Baath regime of Saddam Hussein bombed Halabja with chemical weapons killing 5,000 people instantly.
Survivors continue to suffer lingering health problems such as skin and breathing conditions.
Reporting by Amal Najee