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Yazidi Genocide: New Phase of Old Tragedy

Yazidi Genocide: New Phase of Old Tragedy

Photo: ERIC LAFFORGUE

The advent of the new terrorist organization called Islamic State on the political arena has forced the entire global society to stir up. The fighters of the Islamic State (hereinafter IS) are Sunni Muslims, noted for cruelty towards the adherents of a different faith and extremely radical views. In 2014 they lunched full-scale attack towards the north-west of Iraq, which is historically inhabited compacted by the Yazidi population. The main target of the IS fighters was to seize territories and convert the population to Islam, but there are known cases, when they allowed Shia and Christian population to flee, leaving their homes and property. But Yazidis could not even dream of such mercy: the IS fighters consider them not only adherents of a different faith, but also worshippers of evil spirits, in one word: they do not consider them as human beings, that is why when attacking the residential areas of Yazidis, they had one goal; physical destruction of Yazidi ethnic group. 

Thus, in August 2014 the radical Islamic groups committed the Yazidi genocide. Those are not the first bashings committed against the Yazidis: being an ethnic confessional minority in different countries, nevertheless, this people managed to survive and live to our days preserving their special religion, that combines the elements of Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. But now, in the 21st century they are again being wiped off from the face of the earth. 

The terrorists shot men, but they did not kill women: women together with children were taken for sexual slavery by making them their own personal prostitutes. From the age of nine the girls were going through this awful fate: every day they were tortured, raped by several men, and forced to learn texts from the Koran. It was common to resell the sexual slaves: so, the unfortunates were sent from one torturer to another one. The prices depended on the age and physical condition of the captives. The Islamists took the small boys and taught Koran, bringing them up as religious fanatics: the future fighters of their army: children witnessed trials, dreadful executions and murders. 

The girls who managed to escape IS fighters’ slavery, told what they went through: Here is the story of one of them:

"After all that has happened to me, my life holds no meaning for me. I have nothing to lose anymore, I had a family, but I lost my family. I lived a normal life, but I lost it too. I lived in a society, but it was torn apart and disunited. Up to this day 3400 Yazidi women and children are being sold and are object of exchange in Iraq and Syria. No one helps Yazidis. I am no longer afraid for myself. I have got nothing to lose. I have lost everything: honor, dignity, family and the society where I lived". 

At the hands of the IS not only a huge amount of people suffered but also the ancient cultural monuments on the territory of Middle East. However, their active attempts to destroy the main holy shrine of Yazidis the temple of Lalesh were not crowned with success. A live program shows how peaceful and calm feel themselves Yazidis on the territory of the temple. What a wonder, but they are only 40km away from Mosul: a large city that was then under the control of IS. It is because thousands of armed Yazidis are defending the temple along its entire perimeter. Here is what one of the defenders said:

"All the confessions in our country (in Iraq-editor’s note) have a powerful support: strong Iran is behind the back of Iraqi Shia, behind the Sunnis is the richest Saudi Arabia, Iraqi Christians are protected by Europe, there is no one to protect us: Yazidis". 

It is hard to believe that all this happened only a few years ago. It is even harder to accept the sheer fact that neither a country, a state, nor any international organization have responded to the desperate pleas of Yazidis for help. All the help granted to these desperate victims were from private individuals: most of the time venturing their own lives and safety, individuals deported (or bought out) the girls, women and children from slavery and hid in their homes. Thus, the modern world was the silent witness of how one of the ancient unique nation was being annihilated. 

At one time the global society did not make any efforts to prevent the consequences of the Armenian Genocide and did not force Turkey to recognize its crime, and in 21st century it easily unleashes the hands of radical groups to commit a crime towards the other nation, who was abandoned by everyone at a fatal time. History is cyclical, and it can be clearly seen in the context of Middle East region, where everything is repeated exactly after a century. In the mountains where Armenians were hiding hundred years ago from the Turkish bashings, now these mountains have become shelters for thousands of Yazidis, and the Syrian desert Der-Zor became the witness of human sufferings. 

To date the Yazidi genocide was recognized by a number of European countries and the USA. The only country in the region, that has officially recognized and condemned the Yazidi genocide is Armenia, where since olden times lives one of the largest Yazidi communities. The recognition of Yazidi genocide by Armenia was of fundamental importance, as the people of this country are themselves the victims of the crime in their own homeland and are still fighting for its recognition. 

The issue of existence of Yazidi nation in their historical land is still open. What is the future of the Yazidis of Iraq? Will Yazidi people be able to endure the hardships, or will they have to repeat the fate of millions of refugees around the world?  

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