Leyla Qasim, a female Kurdish activist from Khanaqien, was executed by hanging by the former Iraqi Ba’athist regime for her political activism in the struggle for Kurdish freedom.
Along with her four male colleagues, Ms. Qasim, 22, was executed in one of Baghdad’s notorious prisons on May 12, 1974, after she had been arrested by the former regime’s security forces.
A student of sociology at the University of Baghdad, the political activist is highly regarded as one of the most courageous Kurdish female fighters and member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Student Union of Kurdistan.
KDP President Massoud Barzani in his speech at the opening of the Barzani National Memorial explained that while she was in prison, she refused an offer of pardon by writing a letter to then Iraqi President, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr.
Barzan recounted that she stated, “I would prefer execution over requesting a pardon from Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. I would only ask for forgiveness from [General Mustafa] Barzani and my nation for not fulfilling my duties.”
Leyla Qasim was sixteen years old as Abdul Rahman Arif was overthrown by Ba'ath party leader, General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr in 1968. Leyla was disturbed by the violent takeover in the capital. During the late 1960s, Leyla and Çiyako wrote pamphlets on the horrors of the Ba'ath party including the new leader, Saddam Hussein, whom they described as being against Kurdish independence.
On 28 April 1974 she was detained together with four others and accused of attempting to hijack a plane. She was arrested, tortured and, in Baghdad on 12 May 1974, ultimately hanged after a show trial, broadcast throughout Iraq. She was accused of having planned to kill Saddam Hussein. She was the first woman to be hanged by the Iraqi Ba'ath party. Executed along with Qasim were also Jawad Hamawandi, Nariman Fuad Masti, Hassan Hama Rashid and Azad Sleman Miran.
She was remembered on Twitter.
📌Leyla Qasim was remembered on the 49th anniversary of her execution on Friday. She was the first woman executed by the Iraqi state and is an icon of the Kurdish liberation struggle.#LeylaQasim | #jinjiyanazadi https://t.co/ofPrwZxmko— MedyaNews (@medyanews_) May 13, 2023
22 years old #LeylaQasim, a Kurdish Fayli from Khanaqin, executed by Ba’athist regime in 12th May 1974 along with 4 other Kurdish men, Layla was a member of Kurdistan Students Union #KDP fighting for Kurdish rights. pic.twitter.com/lt94xOFnqY— Hiwa Jwanroyi (@HiwaJwanroyi) May 13, 2023
Leyla and her friends were arrested and tortured by Iraqi authorities and held in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. Before her execution she made one final request: a traditional Kurdish dress. 🌹 #LeylaQasim #Kurdistan #Kurdishwomen #JinJiyanAzadi— Iskra ☀️ (@innana__) May 13, 2023
Leyla Qasim, lehenga min, evîna min e pic.twitter.com/2rgcik77qe— Ronî Stêrk (@roni_strerk) May 12, 2023
Today marks the 49th anniversary of the execution of one of the Kurdish women symbols, #LeylaQasim, who was executed by the Ba'athist regime.— Sarwan Wllatzheri (@SarwanBarzani_) May 12, 2023
Layla in the last words says: ‘Kill me, but you should know that through my death thousands of Kurds will awake from a deep sleep. pic.twitter.com/9NqVbx0Zhz
Between 25 and 35 million Kurds inhabit a mountainous region straddling the borders of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. They make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, but they have never obtained a permanent nation state.
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In the early 20th Century, many Kurds began to consider the creation of a homeland - generally referred to as "Kurdistan". After World War One and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the victorious Western allies made provision for a Kurdish state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres.
Such hopes were dashed three years later, however, when the Treaty of Lausanne, which set the boundaries of modern Turkey, made no provision for a Kurdish state and left Kurds with minority status in their respective countries. Over the next 80 years, any move by Kurds to set up an independent state was brutally quashed.
Meanwhile in the reality-free world that hate merchants like Tulsi Gabbard attempt to create, history is ignored. Kimberly Kaye (LGBTQ NATION) notes "Mrs. Nash":
She was an esteemed laundress, baker, bruja, and midwife with a penchant for wearing low necklines on her hand-stitched gowns. So the shock hit harder than a 19th-century cannonball when, upon her death, Fort Lincoln’s residents discovered “Mrs. Nash’ — valued friend of famed Colonel George Custer and his wife and a thrice-married military bride herself — had been assigned male at birth.
So much for “we can always tell.”
“Mrs. Nash,” whose birth name has been lost to time, was a Mexican immigrant first mentioned by historical records in the late 1880s. Reconstruction was underway, the Plains Wars raging, and Nash had reportedly landed a paying gig helping drive oxen across the Santa Fe Trail.
The following sites updated: