Date of Award

Winter 4-30-2023

Thesis Access

Open Access Honors Thesis

Thesis Location

Departmental Honors Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science

Faculty Advisor

Nadejda Marinova


This thesis delves into the often-overlooked 1991 uprising in Iraq, a significant early instance of resistance against Middle Eastern dictatorship. Rooted in the experiences shared within Michigan's Iraqi community. Focusing on southern Iraq, the thesis investigates the catalysts and mechanisms that enabled oppressed individuals under Saddam Hussein's Ba’athist regime to unite and rebel. Through extensive oral history methodologies, this research engages with diverse survivors—mothers, youth, and children—across various southern Iraqi cities. Their narratives unveil the hardships endured before, during, and after the rebellion.

Remarkably, despite oppressive conditions and violent impediments, the southern Iraqi populace achieved a formidable mass uprising. This accomplishment, however, was overshadowed by the conspicuous absence of support from the United States. This lack of intervention facilitated the dictatorship's prolonged grasp for twelve more years, leading to grievous loss of innocent lives, human rights violations, and civilians confronting Saddam's brutal rule unaided. The aftermath of Saddam's retaliatory assault resulted in an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 civilian casualties in the South. The survivors of this tumultuous event carry lasting scars—PTSD, depression, and anxiety—echoing the trauma they endured.

This thesis endeavors to illuminate this uprising's significance by amplifying the voices of its survivors. By listening to these accounts, it seeks to provide a comprehensive perspective on the events, shedding light on a pivotal historical moment that profoundly impacted the lives of those involved.