News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
Kurds in Rojava area remembering the young victims of one of the worst moments in their history – the Amûdê Cinema Disaster says a report in ANF. This November 13th marked the 53rd anniversary of the 1960 fire that took the lives of 283 primary students.
The memorial was organized by the Nuri Dêrsimi Thought Society and the Girkê Legê and Rêmêlan Cultural Organization and took place in the Aram Dikran Cultural Center. After a moment of silence the writer Ebdilkerim Emed, who was a witness to the event, explained how events unfolded and offered some reflection. A short film on the fire was screened and a brief play was performed for the children who perished in the fire. Finally the wife of Here Dirêi, who was rescued from the fire and recently passed away, donated an oil-painting.
How Events Unfolded
On November 13 1960 the Syrian regime ordered all the children in the city’s primary schools to be brought to the cinema. The order was given in order to collect support for Algeria, which at the time was fighting for independence from France.
The teachers were made to bring the students to the cinema and admission was forcibly collected from the children’s parents. Around 500 students between the ages of 8 and 14 were crammed in a space normally meant to accommodate 150.
The children got their first surprise when the film began. Without any advanced warning an Egyptian horror film named “The Blame of Midnight” started playing. As screaming and shouting began to be heard, flames began to emerge from the cinema’s projection booth.
Hundreds of frightened children began to head for the exists at once. However in the 130 square meter theater there were only two narrow doors. The cinema, which was constructed of wood, burned down in a very short time. Despite all the efforts of local people 284 people died in this terrible manner. The Amûdê Cinema Disaster continues to be accepted as one of the worst moments in the history of the Rojava Kurds.