Sultan Haji Hasan
Yazidis are a religious minority, whose origins are in Northern Iraq, Southwestern Turkey and Northern Syria.
Yazidis have endured over seventy genocides throughout their history. They are peaceful people; they wish no harm to anyone nor have they initiated any wars during their six-thousand-year history. What they do wish for is to live in peaceful coexistence with their neighbours while remaining true to their belief system.
One of the main reasons that Yazidis have faced genocides and holocausts is that they have been unprotected in the countries they live in, mainly in Iraq. As a Yezidi, I strive to shed some light on the last genocide, which happened to my people and was carried out by ISIS (Daesh) on 3rd August 2014 in the Shingal region of Iraq.
When ISIS first attacked on that fatal day, many Yazidis were separated from their families, relatives and villagers in many ways. The barbaric acts of beheading, slaughtering, kidnapping, raping and trading of women as slaves perpetrated by ISIS against other human beings are very hard to comprehend and accept. Thousands upon thousands of Yazidis suffered this fate. Children were forcibly pulled out from their mothers’ clutches and trained as soldiers and suicide bombers. Young girls (as young as eight years old) and women suffered multiple rapes by gangs of ISIS members and traded as slaves for others. The Yazidi men were forced to convert their own religion to Islam. Religious conversion is not acceptable in Yezidism, so all those, who refused to become Muslims, were slaughtered and buried in mass graves.
The Yazidis wished to escape from this certain death to the mountains of Shingal, which they believed would be their only protector against evil. They fled up to the mountain, but the mountain provided no water, no food or milk, and no shelter from the scorching sun. Some Yazidis starved to death on Shingal mountains and in the surrounding suburbs. Many of those Yazidis, who survived during that August 2014, were lucky enough to emigrate to different parts of the world. However, most of the Yazidis stayed in Kurdistan in their IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps. Some stayed in Shingal mountains, too.
The Yazidis have been pleading for their rights since 2014, but unfortunately up to today, their voices have not been listened to. No one seems to be concerned about their harsh circumstances.
Thousands of Yazidis remain as prisoners of ISIS in their jails or as their slaves. All their areas in Shingal lack basic services, like electricity and water. Their mass graves are neglected. Thousands upon thousands are enduring a cruel existence under their six year old canvas tents, in which they either freeze during the winters or swelter under the blistering sun in the summer.
There are a huge number of other issues, such as mental health, malnutrition, lack of education, prejudice to name just a few, but the Yazidi Genocide is the crucial one requiring recognition. The Yazidis have been appealing their blight to the world, the Iraqi and Kurdistan governments and humanitarian NGOs to no avail. They need help to get their kin away from dark jails and torture, away from sex slavery and back to the safety of their own folk. Although the world has heard about the Yazidi genocide (and it’s still continuing), unfortunately there has been no real action to find a solution for their case.
We, the Yazidis, appeal to each country, each organisation and each person possessing a sense of humanity to give us a helping hand, please. We need actions, not only speeches.