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As Canadian writer: It is our moral responsibility to stop this ongoing annihilation of the Yazidi Middle East

By National Post


ISIS are waging a war of terror against the people they formerly slaughtered and enslaved, namely the Yazidi people of northern Iraq, an indigenous monotheistic group who have been the near-exclusive target of the ISIS jihad since their invasion of northern Iraq (Mesopotamia) in the summer of 2014.

In early June, “defeated” fighters of ISIS, so many of whom have found safe haven in UNHCR refugee camps and across the countryside of Iraq and Syria, began a campaign to burn Yazidi farms so that the few remaining Yazidi still living in their homeland in northern Iraq will have nothing to eat.

Yezidi refugee family from Seeba village, Newroz refugee camp, Syria, August, 2014.
Jonathan Spyer / Araminta Wordsworth

Yazidi report that Arab terrorists have singled out Yezidi farms for destruction by fire. Today 90 per cent of the wheat and barley farms still under Yazidi cultivation in northern Iraq have been destroyed. The forces of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) have been unable to stop these terrorist attacks, nor have they pursued and arrested their perpetrators.Reported by National Post,Geoffrey Clarfield

When ISIS invaded the Yazidi homeland of northern Iraq in 2014, the KRG also did nothing. Its Peshmerga deserted en masse, in what in retrospect looks like a tactical withdrawal from the Sinjar according to some peshmerga officials.

Supporting Yazidi refugees in northern Iraq was not going on sufficiently by local governments which was provided by international aid that was earmarked to support Yazidi refugees. The coalition forces, Canadian forces, will have to act independently to help the Yazidi when they find the political will to do so.

The rape and enslavement of Yazidi women by the “former” forces of ISIS continues privately. There are still more than 2900 Yazidi women missing and many are held in captivity by ISIS families in Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Celebrity lawyers like Amal Clooney are doing their best to keep this in the news.

Yazidi girls and boys have been trafficked and sold to slave traders in Turkey, who then harvest their organs for illegal transplants to sick patients. The children do not usually survive the operations. The perpetrators include “former” members of ISIL in hoc with criminal gangs in Turkey, whom the state does little or nothing to apprehend. Reported by National Post,Geoffrey Clarfield

Kheiro Khalfi (left) expresses his anguish at delays in recapturing Yezidi areas from ISIL on 2 November. Ã’We want to free our kidnapped relatives, but no one is helping us, he said from his tent on Sinjar Mountain.
Romina Penate / NPOth

Recently, three young Yazidi women escaped from a UNHCR camp in Syria. They managed to get back to northern Iraq and told their Yazidi relatives there that in the camps they were threatened by their Muslim neighbours and feared that they would be kidnapped and their organs sold to criminals in Turkey, where they would die from the operations.

The Yazidi in the newly created UN refugee camps in Syria are terrified to identify themselves as Yazidi to the UN authorities for two reasons. The first is that most of their neighbours are former ISIL supporters and fighters. The second is that the local staff of most of these UN camps are drawn from the wider population of Syria and Iraq’s Muslim majorities, either Kurdish or Arabic speakers, who have a disdain for the Yazidi that is similar to the Confederate hatred of African-Americans. Reported by National Post,Geoffrey Clarfield

Last March, Yazidi community leaders met with senior representatives of the State Department in Washington, urging them to go with them to the refugee camps of Syria and the IDP camps of Iraq as Yazidi are able to successfully identify other Yazidi who must hide behind a faux Islamic identity that they have adopted to protect themselves from persecution. Yazidi desperately need their own refugee camps for their own protection, but the coalition forces do not advocate this simple and obvious humanitarian intervention. The State Department has not responded.

    • A group of displaced Yezidi look down at ISIL-occupied Sinjar city from Mount Sinjar on 2 November.
    Romina Penate / Postmedia Wire

Canada is at war in Syria and Iraq. Canada have boots on the ground there and earmarked just under $400 million for our military to fight there during the past two years. The Canadian government, our government, continues to give the state of Iraq millions of dollars of devel

opment assistance each year. In light of their systematic mistreatment of the Yazidi, we must ask why? Reported by National Post,Geoffrey Clarfield

The Yazidi are the indigenous people of northern Iraq who were there centuries before the rise of Islam in Mesopotamia, what the modern Arabs call Iraq. Why should we not demand of the Iraqi Kurds and Arabs that they make amends to the Yazidi in the same way that Canadians are trying to make amends to this land’s Indigenous people? As Canadians it is our moral responsibility to do so, while determining what more we can do to stop this ongoing annihilation of the Yazidi. There is an election coming up soon in this country and we must ask our leaders this question, in public and loudly.

Geoffrey Clarfield. Geoffrey Clarfield, a Canadian anthropologist and political analyst, spent twenty years living and working in Africa, the Middle East and Asia as a development anthropologist, project manager and policy advisor.

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