Date: March 1996
Location: Iraq, Turkey, Ukraine, Slovakia, Germany, Holland, Britain
Distributor: BBC1 Inside Story & world-wide – 65 min.
Credits: directed and filmed by Claudio von Planta
Reporter: Karzan Sherabayani / Producer: Alex Moody / Editor: Malcom Daniels
KARZAN’S BROTHERS – ESCAPE FROM THE SAFE HAVEN is a BBC1 investigation into the smuggling of illegal Kurdish immigrants from Iraq to Britain.

The main protagonist is Karzan Sherabayani, a Kurd who lives in exile in the UK. His family asked him to help them escape from the so called ‘Safe Haven’ in Northern Iraq where they lived in unbearable economic circumstances and under constant threat of a new invasion by Saddam Hussein’s Army.
Karzan doesn’t believe that escaping to Europe will improve the fate of the Kurds. But he couldn’t refuse the request of his four brothers. So he decided to publicize their story and raise awareness about the Kurdish plight in general.
I knew Karzan as a friend and jumped at this unique opportunity to capture, as an insider, the murky world of human trafficking. I equipped Karzan with secret cameras and followed his perilous journey over eight months.
The risks were enormous. Temporarily all of us ended up in prison. But Karzan’s brothers never regretted putting their lives on the line. They saw it as a necessity to escape living in hell.
Karzan believes that the exodus of Kurds to Western Europe can only be stopped with the creation of an independent Kurdish state. I tend to agree.
With a population of over 30 million people and a distinct culture it’s understandable that the Kurds aspire to form their own independent state. But after the end of the first World War and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire the Allies divided the Kurdish land between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. It’s one of these typical colonial mistakes that lead to continuous wars with no end in site as long as the Kurds are not allowed to run their own show.


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