Background Information About Amna Suraka

Filed under : Destinations

For most of us in this age Iraq has had a dark and horrible past. Many of us may not have even heard of the Amna Suraka museum and what it represents. However, it still stands as one of the foremost museums in Iraq.

Being a former prison, the museum houses not only memories but painful incidences in Iraqi history as well. It has been the location wherein thousands of Kurdish prisoners were punished and tortured just because they were Kurdish or for some form of political crime or another. Its name basically means Red Security House when translated from Kurdish to English.

The museum itself is located in Sulaymaniyeh within the old security compound for the security forces at the time. Colored red, it has extra decorations in the form of retained bullet holes from the 1991 uprising that was part of a wave that made Iraq free. The courtyard still has old tanks, artillery and other weapons of war as a grim reminder.

The first area that will greet one when entering the building will be the Hall of Mirrors. This hall contains 182,000 shards of glass comprising one enormous sort of installation art. Each shard represents one life taken from the Kurds under the rule of Saddam. On the ceiling of the same room are twinkling lights numbering 4,500, each light representing one village destroyed during the Anfal campaign.

The room next to the Hall of Mirrors is a room that shows a replica of a typical Kurdish village and is passed when one enters the main building. Here in the main building visitors will feel a bit uneasy as this is where the torture chambers and prison cells are contained. One part in the area is recreated with gruesome statues and sculptures of Kurdish prisoners. Probably the most heart wrenching is a lifelike diorama of two children being tortured to extract information from them.

As one goes down to the basement, a photo gallery depicting a chemical attack on the town of Halabja is shown. This basement presentation is somewhat reminiscent of the Holocaust museum in Israel that not only has a historical effect, but a humanizing one as well. One will really feel the plight felt by the Kurdish nation under the rule of a former dictator that hated them.

Definitely this is one of those places wherein one can visit while trudging onwards or backpacking through Kurdistan. It will not only be educational but instrumental as well in keeping one in touch with humanity.

Read my intriguing story about the experience at Amna Suraka Iraq where I faced many challenges along the way. I have written about my backpacking Iraq to Saddam Hussein’s house of horrors. Check out my blog right away by reviewing the homepage.

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