Kakah Omar did not forget June 9th, 1963 as he constantly stands in front of an engraved mural with the names of the victims of that day. This place was a military camp known as Sulaymaniyah garrison patrolled by the army that was sent to fight Kurdish people and that was affiliated to Baghdad. I was established after the first coup of the Baath Party that arrested, tortured and buried alive hundreds of Sulaymaniyah children and men in a pit. Kakah’s siblings were amongst the buried people.
The camp or the garrison was transformed into the largest amusement park in Sulaymaniyah and it is called today Parki Azadi, which means Freedom Park. As for Kakah Omar, he insisted on working as a security guard in this place that regional authorities succeeded in turning it from a death place into a place of life.
“Parki Azadi means Freedom Park. It is a beautiful thing to convert it from a prison camp into a kids’ park. The people of Kurdistan were deprived of tourism activities during Saddam Hussein reign; they used to think about how to survive not how to enjoy life. It is the first amusement city in Kurdistan and the whole Iraq after the fall of Saddam’s regime,” Director of Parki Azadi, Sirwan Saleh said.
This woman said it was a terrifying place for her when she was young, but she now says it has become a beautuiful place where she brings her grandchildren to play.
The Freedom Park is located in the heart of the Sulaymaniyah city, it is an escape place to the residents of the city and those who are coming from all over Iraq.