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Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:34 pm

Death of Yazidi prince leaves a community rudderless

Prince Tahseen Said Ali led the Yazidi community for over 75 years

The death of leading Yazidi figure Prince Tahseen Said Ali has left a void in the beleaguered community that no one can fill, members of the religious minority have said following his funeral in the holy town of Lalish in Iraq last week.

After Prince Tahseen died aged 85 in Germany last Monday following a lengthy illness, thousands of mourners descended on the mountain valley in northern Iraq that is home to the religion's most holy site to pay their respects to the man who led their community for over 75 years.

Men dressed in white accompanied the funeral cortege playing flutes and drums as burning incense filled the air. Afterwards mourners approached the grave one by one to lay a flower or kiss a portrait depicting the prince.

His death has left the community leaderless while it is still reeling from the sufferings inflicted on it by ISIS, Faris Keti told The National.

Mr Keti served as an adviser to Prince Tahseen and the Highest Yazidi Spiritual Council and said the prince left behind an indelible legacy, including ensuring the religion was enshrined in Iraq's 2005 constitution. “He gained respect by influencing and forcing the Iraqi government to build schools and support the education process in Yazidi areas," Mr Keti said.

A religious community of perhaps 850,000 adherents, many of whom historically lived around Sinjar mountain in northern Iraq, the Yazidi faith combines elements of various ancient Middle Eastern religions. Its followers pray facing the sun and worship seven angels – first among them Melek Taus, or Peacock Angel. They do not have a holy book.

Extremist group ISIS viewed the religion as heretical and when it overran large parts of Iraq in 2014 singled out Yazidis as apostates. Thousands of Yazidis were killed in what the UN commission described as a genocide against the group. According to authorities, more than 6,400 Yazidis were abducted by ISIS, only half of whom have subsequently escaped and returned home. The fate of the others remains unknown.

Prince Tahseen was born in 1933 in Iraq’s northwest Sheikhan district and was appointed head of the Yazidi community at age 11 after the death of his father.

Prince Tahseen, who lived for many years in Germany, home to a large Yazidi expatriate community, campaigned tirelessly for the persecution of his people by ISIS to be declared a genocide.

The community was centred in territories sandwiched between Arab and Kurdish areas, leading to frequent tensions. “The prince played a vital role in balancing the situation between the two sides of conflict,” Mr Keti said.

A significant step taken by Prince Tahseen was to declare that Yazidi women who were abducted and raped by ISIS fighters would not be excommunicated and any children born would be recognised as Yazidi.

“His response was magnificent, showing as it did the grandeur of his thinking and the practical nature of his life,” said Baroness Emma Nicholson, who chairs the AMAR International Charitable Association which has provided health and education support to the Yazidis.

“The great generosity of spirit was a golden thread throughout his lifetime of service to his beloved people,” Baroness Nicholson said.

He is survived by his son, Prince Hasim and grandson Prince Diar.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/d ... s-1.824107
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:10 pm

Nobel Winner Murad Sheds Light on Yazidi Genocide
By CAROLINE KAPP

Click on image to enlarge:
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Nadia Murad with fiancé Abid Shamdeen

When Nadia Murad was taken captive as a sex slave by ISIS in August 2014, she was 19 years old — the same age as many of the students who packed Wilson Hall to hear her speak on Tuesday night

Today, at age 26, Murad is using the atrocities she and her community faced to fuel a life of activism. Her talk, “Pursuing Peace and Justice: A Conversation with Nadia Murad,” explored her story as an activist and captive of ISIS and her recognition as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, which she was awarded last fall. Murad became both the first Iraqi and Yazidi to receive the prize.

The talk Murad gave on Tuesday was originally scheduled for Oct. 5, but Murad had to cancel her visit last minute because she was awarded the Nobel Prize on that day. Murad and her co-winner Denis Mukwege received the prize “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”

Murad’s apology for the cancelation at the beginning of her talk on Tuesday was met with laughs from the audience.

The talk was introduced by Vice President for Academic Development and Professor of American Studies Tim Spears and facilitated by Associate Professor of History Febe Armanios. Murad was joined on stage by her fiancé and translator Abid Shamdeen.

Murad opened her talk by describing her background as a member of the Yazidi, a little-known ethno-religious minority group. The Yazidi only number around 500,000 to 700,000, and most of them live in Iraq. The region of Sinjar in northwestern Iraq is the Yazidis’ home, and Murad’s home village of Kocho is located in this region.

Kocho was home to around 1,700 people, and most families were dependent on farming and cattle. The youngest of 11 children, Murad was the only one of her siblings to attend school, as they could only afford for one child to go. “Our life was simple,” she said.

But by June of 2014, ISIS had begun to attack many villages around Sinjar. Members of other religious minorities, such as Christians, were given the option to stay in their homes and pay a fee or flee the territory. When ISIS entered Sinjar on Aug. 3, the Yazidi were not given such options.

“They had a specific plan of eradicating Yazidis from that region,” Murad said. “A specific plan of executing men mostly and enslaving women and children.”

The United Nations has classified ISIS atrocities against the Yazidis as acts of genocide. Six of Murad’s eight brothers were killed in the attack along with her mother and many nieces and nephews.

While much of the Sinjar region has been liberated from ISIS, political competition, reflecting regional conflicts, along with a lack of resources and reconstruction has made the Yazidi homeland difficult to return to, Murad said. Rather than return home, many Yazidi remain in refugee camps around the Middle East.

“It’s not a stable environment for Yazidis to go back to,” Murad said.

Today, over 3,000 Yazidi women and children remain in captivity in ISIS territory in Syria. Many are missing including Murad’s sister-in-law, who disappeared two years ago.

Many Yazidis are displaced, including about 350,000 who are living in camps in Northern Iraq along with more living in refugee camps in Greece and Turkey. About 65,000 Yazidi have returned home, Murad said, but those who did face daunting challenges, including poor health and lack of electricity.

While Yazidis have received some support from governments in Canada, Australia, France and Germany, Murad has called on regional governments, such as Turkey, for help.

Last year, Murad returned to Iraq and met with many local leaders. They discussed why the Yazidi people remained unprotected by the government even after the genocide and talked about ways in which the government could help support the Yazidis so they can start rebuilding Sinjar. Murad also helped obtain approval from the Iraqi government to build a genocide museum in Sinjar.

During her visit, Murad returned to Kocho, where she attended a religious celebration meant to honor the dead. This was the first time they celebrated the holiday since the genocide.

“I wanted to do this as a restart of our culture and traditions and to help people start doing the same thing we used to do,” she said.

In 2016, Murad founded Nadia’s Initiative, a nonprofit organization working to address issues of sexual violence, advocate for victims and aid communities affected by crisis. In the talk, Murad discussed the difficulties of using her personal tragedies to construct a life of activism.

“For me as a woman, as a survivor, someone who has lost family members and been through this trauma it was especially difficult for a woman from the Middle East, from that region, to break taboos and speak about these stories,” she said. “But I had no other choice but to do it.”

Murad explained how she hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will help further her goals.

“We are hoping to use this recognition to put more light on these communities that are facing persecution and genocide and prevent these acts to take place in the future,” she said, stressing the importance of recognizing the genocide in real terms to ensure against the extinction of the Yazidi community.

Murad recognized the possibility that the Yazidis will leave their ancestral homeland in order to seek better and safer lives somewhere else. But, even when Yazidis have made it to different places in Europe, she said, many still face discrimination. Their homes are raided by police looking to deport them, and many have been denied asylum.

She described what is has been like to live away from her home for the past few years. In addition to drastic cultural and day to day differences, she discussed the sad truth that her perpetrators were able to stay in her homeland while she had to flee.

Murad finished her talk with a message for young people, and Middlebury students in particular.

“You as students here are lucky to have the chance to come here and study and choose your own path,” she said, emphasizing that not all young people have these opportunities.

Murad also highlighted that governments and weapons can’t solve all these problems and that she counts on young people to accomplish her goals.

Following the talk Nora Peachin ’21 reflected on the importance of having Murad speak at Middlebury.

“The takeaway for me is there really is no excuse not to be doing activism work and speaking out and fighting for justice and peace,” Peachin said.

https://middleburycampus.com/43069/news ... e-in-talk/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:36 am

Joy of Yazidi women after liberation from ISIS

As soon as they reach the areas of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the People’s/Women’s Defense Units (YPG/YPJ), the Yazidis breathe freedom as if they have returned to life again; forming a circle of joy and pleasure filled with feelings

Click photo to enlarge:
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The Middle East is the center of civilization in the world, and Kurdistan is the richest region in this vast geography. And so it has been constantly targeted throughout its history. The last of these brutal attacks was on August 3, 2014, when the ISIS terrorists attacked the Yazidis in Shengal.

Without a distinction between children or adults, men or women, the ISIS militants carried out a massacre against the Yazidis and exterminated them to a deep wound in the heart that would not heal.

In addition to these massacres, thousands of Yazidis women and children were kidnapped and, to this day, many have been liberated in all areas reclaimed from the control of ISIS. For months, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the YPG and YPJ units have been conducting their campaign against the last terrorist-controlled terrain, as part of the Jazeera Strom campaign and its final stage, the Battle to Defeat Terrorism.

The operation continues with the liberation of hundreds of civilians from the terrorist organization on a daily basis.

As we move through the corridor where civilians fled from ISIS towards the SDF territory, we have seen touching moments that are impossible to forget.

Among the civilians who were liberated recently in the last ISIS pockets, are Yazidi women and children abducted from Shengal in 2014. These women and children, upon their arrival to the areas where the Syrian Democratic Forces and the People's and Women's Defense Units are present, were happy to be rescued from terror, to return to life.

The happiness on their faces expressed everything. Like the joy and pleasure that draws on the face of a child when seeing his/her mother after many years of separation. Their sense of closeness to their homeland showed their enthusiasm and pleasure beyond description.

“How happy we are, for our salvation from ISIS and reaching the freedom fighters,” the Yazidi women repeatedly said. “We will never forget those who have sacrificed their lives to liberate us from the clutches of ISIS,” the women added.

On the other hand, the SDF fighters evacuated the liberated civilians into safe areas so they can be safely brought home. “We will fight terrorism everywhere to free the last child and woman from the hands of ISIS,” the combatants reassured the Yazidi women.
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