Historical Kurdish Biographies: Layla Qasim and the Start of a Revolution

Born in Khanaqin to a Faylee Kurdish family, Leyla Qasim (1952 – 1974) studied at the University of Baghdad, joined the KDP in 1970, and was executed by the Baath regime on May 12, 1974.

Her famous last words were, “Kill me! But you must also know that after my death thousands of Kurds will wake up. I feel proud to sacrifice my life for the freedom” (Game Changers: Kurdish Women in Peace and War, https://muse.jhu.edu/article/607725).

After this, she became a symbol of Kurdish bravery for the women and men alike of the Kurdish nationalist movement. Many people joined the peshmerga and her fellow students felt even more strongly for their cause of Kurdish freedom and unity.

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