Washington, DC, USA (us.gov.krd) - Over 100 people joined a screening of the film The Deminer at George Washington University on January 31. The film follows Peshmerga demining engineer Fakir Berwari as he fearlessly clears unexploded landmines and bombs, despite suffering numerous injuries including the loss of his leg. The film is cut with archival footage, much of which he recorded himself.
The event was co-hosted by the Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States, Embassy of the Czech Republic, and the George Washington University Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies.
Directed by Hogi Hirori and Shinwar Kamal, The Deminer received the Award for Best Film at the prestigious One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in the Czech Republic.
After a short reception, KRG Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman and Czech Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček delivered opening remarks. Following the film, Executive Director of the Mines Advisory Group America Jamie Franklin gave some remarks and answered questions about the threat of landmines in Kurdistan and Iraq.
Iraq remains one of the most heavily landmined countries in the world. With heavy mine contamination stemming from the Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War, the Anfal Genocide, and most recently the war against ISIS, landmines and unexploded remnants of war continue to inflict pain and death on the people of Kurdistan and Iraq. In 2016 the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency (IKMAA) registered 2,711 confirmed hazardous areas and 491 suspected hazardous areas in Kurdistan, covering 154 square miles. Mines Advisory Group (MAG) has estimated that there are 7,000,000 landmines in Kurdistan.
Despite the enormous challenges, much progress has been made in clearing landmines from Kurdistan through the efforts of organizations like MAG and IKMAA.