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Road to Hell: Kanan Makiya

(52 mins) In November 1991, shortly after the establishment of a safe-haven zone in northern Iraq, Kanan Makiya traveled to northern Iraq to see the archive of documents seized by Iraqi rebels. Makiya was accompanied by a BBC filmmaker who filmed his investigation of the Iraqi government's campaign of "ethnic cleansing" (Anfal) of Iraqi Kurds, an investigation made possible by the information in the documents. The film, "The Road to Hell", was aired in January 1992 on BBC and then on PBS as a Frontline documentary under the title "Saddam's Killing Fields." On April 27, 1993, it received the Edward R. Murrow Award For Best Television Documentary On Foreign Affairs in 1992. The film stressed the importance of the documents as an information resource on the legacy of abuse in Iraq and argued the case for their collection and removal from the country for safekeeping. It shows the archive in its original state: mounds of files and records randomly stacked on the floors of buildings that were previously occupied by the Iraqi government, covered with dust and vulnerable to deterioration. The importance, volume and condition of these documents drew attention to the urgency of preserving and studying them as an invaluable hisorical record.