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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 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:36 am

UN envoy highlights need to
end Yazidi minority's suffering


UN Special Representative in Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert on Thursday underlined the need to end the suffering of Yazidi minority caused by the Islamic State (ISIS) occupation of the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh

"We condemn what the Yazidis have experienced in Sinjar and other areas and we stand by their families in the ordeal that they have suffered," Hennis-Plasschaert, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, said at a press conference held by the Yazidi International Organization (Yazida) to mark the 5th anniversary of IS sweeping to Yazidi areas in 2014.

"We must work together with local and international parties to end the suffering of the Yazidis," Hennis-Plasschaert said.

She said that she was shocked during her recent visit to the town of Sinjar, some 100 km west of Nineveh's provincial capital Mosul, "because of what I saw of destruction in houses and roads."

Many Yazidi families are still in the camps and many children and women still do not get enough support, she noted.

Hala Sfail, one of the Yazidi females who survived the abduction of Yazidi women and children by IS militants, told the reporters that about 7,000 Yazidis, mostly women and children, have been killed by IS, while many villages were destroyed and entire families were killed.

"Although five years have passed since the invasion of Sinjar and other Yazidi villages by IS militants, the tragedy and suffering of the Yazidis continue, as the fate of more than 2,000 Yazidi women and children is still unknown, and many of their homes are still destroyed and many Yazidi families still live in the camps," Sfail said.

She called for making greater efforts for the reconstruction of Yazidi areas, and helping the Yazidis who are still living in camps in Iraq and Syria to return their homes.

Sfail also called for continuation of opening more mass graves so the Yazidi families can identify the missing members of their families.

It is estimated that there are around 500,000 Yazidis living in Iraq, about 80 percent of whom living in the towns of Sinjar and Bashiqa in Nineveh.

In 2014, when IS militants took control of vast areas in northern and central Iraq, they killed thousands of Yazidis and kidnapped thousands of Yazidi women and children.

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-0 ... 276298.htm

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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 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:00 am

5 years of fear, pain and suffering

Was there a worldwide outpouring of sympathy NO

Did any large media sites even mention Yazidis NO

More than 3,000 people still missing does anyone care NO

It has shocked and saddened me that the world in it's entirety has forgotten the ongoing plight of these gentle people

    5 years

    946 posts

    546,000 views

    Many tears

Thank you for taking time to read our posts over the years

There is no need for me to repeat the ongoing horrors yet again

I ask of EVERYONE reading this look into YOUR hearts and minds and HELP us find ways publicise the plight of the Yazidis and gain them the much needed support they deserve

NEVER forget the MISSING 3,000
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:41 am

Nadia Murad:
The genocide against Yazidi continues


Five years ago, Islamic State fighters invaded my ancestral homeland of Sinjar, Iraq, and waged a systematic ethnic-cleansing campaign against the Yazidi community

Their campaign included mass executions, forced religious conversions and widespread sexual violence. These attacks resulted in the massacre of Yazidi men, women and children; the enslavement of nearly 7,000 Yazidis; and displacement of more than 400,000 Yazidis to camps in northern Iraq.

But that was not the end of our suffering. As Sheri Rosenberg observed in a 2012 article, genocide is a process, not an event

The continued suffering, fear and uncertainty in the Yazidi community show that the genocide process is ongoing. About 350,000 Yazidis remain trapped in camps in northern Iraq. Yazidis in these camps live in weather-worn tents without adequate access to food, water, electricity, education or opportunities to work. They also lack basic healthcare, including psychological support to aid in trauma recovery.

An estimated 3,000 abducted Yazidi women and children are still missing, with fears that some might have been sold to al-Qaida affiliates — women and girls to be sex slaves, boys to be trained as fighters. Others may have been forcibly relocated to cities in other countries or have become collateral damage in military offensives in the region.

Though thousands of Yazidis have sought asylum in Europe and elsewhere, foreign governments are approving fewer and fewer asylum claims, making it more difficult for Yazidis to seek safety.

But the Yazidi people are not without hope. We want justice, we want to rebuild, and we want to go home — but we cannot do so without support. As we mark the fifth anniversary of the Yazidi genocide, I call on the international community to undertake concrete actions to support the repatriation of Yazidis

    In my recent speech at the State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, I outlined the necessary steps for the successful return and rehabilitation of the Yazidi community.

    These include resolving Sinjar’s local governance issues, investing in long-term sustainable development initiatives, recruiting Yazidis into Iraq’s official security forces and prosecuting the Islamic State for war crimes.

    These steps are not only crucial to helping the Yazidis recover from the genocide but can also promote the rebuilding of trust among the different communities in Iraq, ultimately supporting the process of peace and reconciliation in the region.
While we estimate that 80,000 Yazidis have returned to Sinjar, local conflicts complicate survival. The Islamic State’s collapse created a power vacuum, opening the door for competing groups that occupy some portion of Sinjar but do not have complete control.

The situation is further complicated because of disagreements between Baghdad and Irbil over governance and security in Sinjar. The Yazidi people cannot return to their homeland when security risks remain high. They must be given a voice, both in governance and over security decisions.

As factions vie for strategic dominance, our community also suffers from a lack of infrastructure. Investment in sustainable development initiatives in the Yazidi homeland is vital. Funds are needed for rebuilding homes and public facilities, such as hospitals and schools.

Finally, the Yazidi people deserve justice for the atrocities committed against them. This year, Sweden called for support from European allies to establish an international Iraq-based war crimes tribunal, modeled after the International Criminal Tribunals in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, to prosecute Islamic State fighters.

The Syrian Accountability Project’s Report on the Yazidi Genocide recommends an international effort to preserve the physical evidence of Islamic State crimes, including archival documentation of Yazidi survivors and their stories, and protection of forensic evidence such as mass graves. Moreover, the international community can help the Iraqi government locate the still missing Yazidis or record their fate.

Until the full scope of Islamic State crimes are unearthed and justice is delivered, our people will continue to suffer.

The international community fought to defeat the Islamic State — but the job is not done.

Abandoning the Yazidis to a war-torn land and uncertain future allows the seeds of further violence to take root. If the international community refuses to exchange platitudes for swift action, the Islamic State’s genocidal campaign against Yazidis will prevail.

Nadia Murad is a Yazidi activist and president of Nadia’s Initiative, an organization advocating for survivors of genocide and sexual violence. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. She wrote this column for the Washington Post.

https://www.twincities.com/2019/08/04/n ... continues/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:13 pm

Yezidis divided on spiritual
leader’s successor elect rival Mir


When Mir Tahsin Beg, spiritual leader of the Yezidi ethno-religious minority, died in January this year, the community was undecided on who should be his successor

Now, just days after the supreme spiritual council had settled on his son Mir Hazim Tahsin Beg taking the mantle, a rival group affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has elected a candidate of its own choosing.

The Shingal Protection Units (YBS) said on Sunday it does not recognize Mir Hazim as the legitimate spiritual leader, instead anointing Mir Naif Dawud Sulaiman Beg at the Yezidi shrine of Shibel Qasim.

He was nominated by Khudeda Choki, former YBS commander and current mayor of Snune in Shingal.

Mir Hazim was inaugurated as the new Yezidi spiritual leader in a ceremony at the Temple of Lalish in Sheikhan, Duhok province on July 27.

He was one of the six candidates drawn from the same family to replace Tahsin Saeed Beg Ali Beg Hussein Beg, who died on January 28 at the age of 85. After months of wrangling, Mir Hazim was finally selected.

“Choosing Mir Hazim sparked massive outrage among many Yezidis because his parents are not from the family of Mir,” Choki alleged, speaking to Rudaw.

Although Mir Tahsin Beg is from the Mir bloodline, he married a Yezidi woman from outside the family. Critics argue this makes his son Hazim unfit to become Mir.

“According to the Yezidi religion, the leader must come from the Mir family,” Choki said.

“Additionally, Mir Hazim has been assigned for the position by a certain political party of Kurdistan, not by the Yezidis themselves,” he added, likely in reference to the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

“Therefore we chose Mir Naif as the Mir of Yezidis,” he added.

Mir Naif is currently based in Germany. He often visited the Kurdistan Region during the war with the Islamic State (ISIS) and in the aftermath of the 2014 Yezidi genocide.

“Mir Naif will permanently return and will create a residence of his own on top of the Mount Shingal,” Choki said.

He dismissed claims that Naif was selected by the PKK.

“They have no connections to this subject and we are grateful if they help us,” he said. “Mir Naif is neutral.” (inanmıyorum)

However, Qasim Shasho, a Peshmerga commander and a prominent figure among Yezidis, insists Mir Naif was appointed by the PKK. He also believes another two other Yezidi factions are planning to appoint their own Mirs. He did not identify which factions.

Sheikh Shamo, who advises the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) prime minister on Yezidi affairs, downplayed the rivalries.

“Nothing impacts Mir Hazim as he is the only Mir of all Yezidis of Kurdistan and the world,” Shamo told Rudaw.

Mir Tahsin Beg’s legacy is keenly felt in the deeply traumatized community, just five years on from the ISIS genocide.

Born on August 15, 1933, in Ba’adra, near Shekhan, Mir Tahsin Beg succeeded his father as chief of the Yezidi community at age 11.

Having presided over the community through several turbulent decades, Mir Tahsin Beg died in a hospital in Hanover, Germany on January 28, 2019, aged 85, after being hospitalized for an illness.

Long an outspoken figure, he joined the Kurdish Aylul (September) Revolution against the Iraqi government in 1970. He fled to Iran, where he became the target of an attack.

He migrated to the UK in 1975 and returned to Iraq in 1981, surviving two attempts on his life in 1992 and 2003.

Notable Yezidi figures mourned the death of the last Mir as a figure who provided strength and unity during the ISIS genocide.

From exile in Germany, he called for international military assistance in defense of his people. He also broke with religious custom and ruled that women raped by ISIS fighters must not be excluded from the faith.

When ISIS attacked the Yezidi homeland of Shingal in the summer of 2014, thousands of Yezidis fled to the Kurdistan Region, Mount Shingal, and to Kurdish areas in northern Syria, also known as Rojava.

Those who were unable to escape were murdered by the jihadists. Thousands of women and children were taken captive for use a slaves and as child soldiers.

There were an estimated 500,000 Yezidis in Iraq before the genocide. Around 100,000 have left Iraq and 360,000 remain internally displaced.

Of the 6,417 Yezidis believed to have been abducted from Shingal, 2,992 remain missing, according to KRG figures.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/050820191
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:07 pm

Poor Yazidis :((

After all the horrors they have gone through, now they are being further divided from within by PKK affiliated groups X(

I, personally, strongly believe that ALL non-Yazidis should be removed from Yazidi land

All PKK affiliated groups should be disbanded

A UN peace keeping force should protect the Yazidis and their land from ALL non Yazidis peoples and non Yazidi intervention

How much longer do these innocent people have to live in fear !?!
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:13 pm

Yezidi IDP tents, shelters and
possessions burn in camp blaze


A fire at Jamishko camp for internally displaced Yezidis in Duhok, Zakho province, believed to have been caused by an electrical fault, engulfed 20 tents and shelters on Tuesday, as well as resident possessions. No casualties were reported in the blaze

Maamoun Abdi, manager of Jamishko, told Rudaw that the fire started at 6:30AM on Tuesday, while Hoshang Mohammed, director general of the Kurdistan Region’s Joint Crisis Coordination Center at the Ministry of Interior, confirmed that the fire was due to an electric fault.

The owner of a women’s tailor at the camp claimed the fire started at a circuit board close to her shop.

"A fire has happened here before, but we were able to put it out with a car fire extinguisher. This time, we didn't have one [available]," she said.

Camp residents criticized the amount of time it took for emergency services to reach the scene of Tuesday’s fire. Firefighters reportedly took 20 minutes to arrive at the camp.

"With great difficulty we were able to save our children from the fire," a camp resident who lost her home in the fire told Rudaw, adding that firefighters had arrived late.

When asked by Rudaw what the reason for the delay in their arrival was, Zakho's Civil Department claimed that they had been held up by a traffic jam.

Camp residents claim that many tents, shelters and possessions could have been saved had the emergency services responded earlier.

"I call on President Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, President [sic] Qubad Talabani to allocate one fire engine specifically to our camp," said a resident.

Heavy material losses were incurred in the fire, with families losing furniture, livestock, savings, and state documents critical to accessing health care, schooling, and all other state services.

"Those who have incurred damages will be compensated without a question. Burnt tents will quickly be replaced," mayor of Zakho Botan Mushin Salih told Rudaw on the scene. He added that material possessions lost would also be compensated.

Jamishko is home to 25,000 Yezidi IDPs, who fled the Islamic State (ISIS) onslaught on the ethnoreligious community's heartland of nearby Shingal in August 2014.

Five years later, the vast majority of Yezidis continue to live in a protracted state of displacement. Of the 400,000 Yezidis displaced by ISIS violence five years ago, 360,000 continue to live in IDP camps, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Yezidi Rescue Office statistics.

Shingal is currently under the control of a host of forces, including the Iraqi Army, Hashd al-Shaabi affiliated militias, PKK-affiliated Shingal Protection Units and Yezidi Peshmerga Units. Yezidis have expressed fear and uncertainty in returning home to this security context.

An electrical fault-induced fire at the same camp on June 1, 2018 injured one resident and burned four tents.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/060820191
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:47 pm

Yezidis submit thousands
of genocide testimonies


Yezidi survivors of the 2014 Islamic State (ISIS) genocide have submitted 4,608 testimonies to a special committee in Duhok established to compile evidence, officials said Wednesday. However, an international court has still not been established to hear their case

Members of the Collection and Documentation of Shingal Case Board say Baghdad has made little progress in bringing evidence before an international court with the authority to prosecute ISIS perpetrators.

Many in the international community have acknowledged the need for an international court to address the crimes of ISIS, including the murder and kidnap of thousands of Yezidis, the destruction of world cultural heritage sites, and other war crimes committed across both Iraq and Syria.

Yezidi survivor and Noble laureate Nadia Murad and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney are leading efforts to build an international case against the group.

Murad has also called on the Iraqi government and the international community to help Yezidis return to their homeland of Shingal, to provide basic services, and to treat Yezidi women and girls psychologically damaged by their time in captivity.

In the wake of the brutal ISIS takeover of Shingal in August 2014, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) launched the evidence gathering committee in Duhok in order to pressure the international community to recognize the massacre as genocide.

“The aim of the establishment of this board was to help recognize the genocide Yezidis experienced,” Judge Aiman Mustafa, head of the board, told Rudaw on Wednesday.

“To meet that end, we needed to collect documents [testimonies]. We have so far collected 4,608 documents.”

However, Mustafa says the federal government in Baghdad has not submitted the evidence to an international court.

“Unfortunately, since Kurdistan is not a state, we cannot directly submit the documents to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and this work can be done only through Baghdad,” Mustafa said. “They are not helping.”

“The registered documents include kidnapping, capture, separation, enslaving, rape, and forcible religious conversion,” Mustafa said. He has personally sat down with many of the survivors to document their experiences.

One of the testimonies which impacted him most was that of a nine-year old girl who was raped by ISIS militants.

Such a case cannot be brought before the ICJ because Iraq is not a signatory to the global court, Dr. Kirmanj Osman, a member of the KRG’s High Committee for the Recognition and Documentation of Islamic State Atrocities against Yezidis and Other Components, told Rudaw.

Instead, Osman says Baghdad “could call on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to make some international decisions including the establishment of an international court to work on the genocide of the Yezidis, just like the one formed for Rafic Hariri”.

Hariri, the former prime minister of Lebanon, was assassinated in a truck bombing in 2005. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was established to carry out the investigation and prosecution of those responsible.

The STL is an international court based in Leidschendam, on the outskirts of The Hague, but applies Lebanese criminal law. It is unique among international criminal tribunals as it may hold trials in absentia and it is the first to deal with terrorism as a distinct crime.

Osman is pessimistic about Baghdad taking the lead.

“Iraq is not willing to work on this as it does not want Kurds take advantage of it,” he said. “If an international court is established it will commit Iraq to compensating the Yezidis, something Iraq does not want.”

“Iraq is afraid that if such an international court is established, Kurds will rally for independence,” he added.

Putting the Yezidi case before an Iraqi court would not bring the survivors justice, he warned, “because if the trial is held in Iraq, it will lose its international significance and it will be dealt as a domestic matter”.

A decision will be made on whether to launch a case domestically or internationally when the UN-led team investigating mass grave sites in Shingal completes its work. The United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh/ISIL (UNITAD) is expected to finish its survey in September.

On the fifth anniversary of the genocide, Yezidi groups called on the KRG and the Iraqi government to “take all necessary steps to hold those responsible accountable for the crimes committed against the [Yezidis].”

“This includes the necessary forms of justice against citizens of all countries who joined the ISIS and participated in committing these crimes, while pursuing a discourse that openly acknowledges the nature of the Yazidi genocide,” said human rights group Yazda.

Hana Salim, a survivor who managed to escape the clutches of the group in December 2015, told Rudaw he doubts the Yezidi case will be recognized as genocide nor will they be compensated.

“We are fed up with telling our stories,” Salim said. “It is now time for action.”

As a survivor, he urged the Iraqi government to take into account their concerns.

“What Shingal endured cannot be solved by the KRG alone. We need assistance from the Iraqi government and the international community.”

When ISIS attacked the Yezidi homeland of Shingal in the summer of 2014, thousands of Yezidis fled to the Kurdistan Region, Mount Shingal, and to Kurdish areas in northern Syria, also known as Rojava.

Those who were unable to escape were murdered by the jihadists. Thousands of women and children were taken captive for use a slaves and as child soldiers.

There were an estimated 500,000 Yezidis in Iraq before the genocide. Around 100,000 have left Iraq and 360,000 remain internally displaced.

Of the 6,417 Yezidis believed to have been abducted from Shingal, 2,992 remain missing, according to KRG figures.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/07082019
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:05 pm

ISIS may be gone but we are handing them a victory over the Yazidi people they tried to destroy

This week marks the five-year anniversary of the beginning of the genocide against the Yazidi – a religious minority – at the hands of ISIS across Syria and Iraq

Most of the atrocities committed against the Yazidi people – especially its women and young girls – are too abhorrent and extensive to recount. While the genocide itself might have ceased, this is only the first part of the challenge; the consequences are bitter and painful in their own right.

It was a horrific story of systematic sexual violence and coordinated military persecution. Jihadis marched thousands of men to slaughter before transporting thousands more women and children to Isis slave markets to be bartered and sold.

The fighting in many ISIS strongholds has now ceased, but 2,900 women and children are still missing, and thousands of Yazidi women and children who lived under their sadistic regime are struggling to reintegrate back into their communities.

This is because there is a striking disparity between how local and international communities focus on properly assimilating genocide survivors, psychologically as well as physically.

Their physical scars may be more visible, but the mental traumas inflicted are much more enduring. A lack of rehabilitation services and mental health support is preventing the 6,500 women and children who were taken captive by ISIS to meaningfully integrate back into their communities.

Self-harm, PTSD and poor mental health impact more than 80 per cent of women and girls who were held captive during the conflict.

The psychological damage inflicted is exacerbated by the serious challenges they face upon return. Many of them realise that they have other relatives still trapped in captivity; whole communities are displaced into miserable camps outside their homeland; women who have suffered physical and sexual abuse are ostracised; and the Yazidi children who have been brainwashed by their captors are shunned and denied access to education.

The result is perverse: those who have managed to survive rape, torture and genocide are being denied the fundamental tools for rehabilitation and to begin rebuilding their lives. We must empower the survivors of the Yazidi genocide to successfully rebuild themselves and their communities so that their generation is not forgotten and lost.

This requires supporting community-led initiatives to rebuild schools, provide access to PTSD treatment and discrete health services for victims of conflict-related sexual violence, and providing expertise and resource on the complexities of psychological treatment, given this field is uncommon to the communities in question.

For the most severe cases, we must provide for appropriate resettlement projects so that these survivors can live the rest of their lives in peace.

During a mission to rescue Yazidi civilians fleeing Isis advances in 2014, our helicopter crashed, and I barely escaped with my life. It was while lying in the wreckage, surrounded by the carnage of Isis’s occupation, that I realised more than ever what was at stake, and was spurred on even further to commit my life to saving those most in need from my community. Now, outside of the intensity of the events of five years ago, I realise that escape from their captors is only the start of a long journey back to normality.

If we do not address the woeful lack of psychological provisions for the Yazidi people, we risk losing a whole generation women and children who have survived the horrors of genocide but who face being lost to its aftermath. It will depend on collaboration between local and international communities to empower them to live safe and successful lives.

Mirza Dinnayi is a Yazidi activist who works with victims of ISIS, and who helped save hundreds of women and children during the Iraqi war. He is one of three humanitarians speaking at the inaugural Aurora Forum this October in Yerevan, Armenia

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/is ... 44956.html


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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:46 pm

Yazidis searching for hope to grow again

On 3 August 2014, the Islamic State (ISIS) launched a genocide in Sinjar, a town in northern Iraq, where Nadia lived with her family. She was able to flee to Mount Sinjar with her sisters after someone alerted them to the approaching danger, but they were captured a few days later while trying to return to the town to look for food. The family members were separated. Nadia was eight years old at the time

Even knowing what was happening - the entire world failed to protect the Yazidis

Nadia was then taken to a school in Mosul along with hundreds of other Yazidi women. There, they were sorted by age and split up. The young girls were taken by bus to Raqqa, Syria. Nadia spent seven months in a place that she describes as a prison. Eventually, she was sold to an older man, but when he died, she was moved several more times to various cities and passed from one man to another. At the end of her captivity she was given to a 19-year-old boy from Iraq whom she was forced to marry.

One day, her husband did not return home, and Nadia fled. She found her way to a displacement camp in Baghouz, eastern Syria, where many Yazidi people had taken refuge. On 2 May 2019 Nadia was reunited with her family, almost five years after she had last seen them.

Hassan is a young boy from the city of Tel Qassab in northern Iraq. He was kidnapped and trained to become a soldier. Aged only nine, Hassan has been mentally scarred by images of violence, beatings, and torture that he struggles to forget.

“They were always hitting us and sometimes they didn’t give us food. They taught us to hold weapons and to read the Quran. If you didn’t read it, you couldn’t leave the room.” Hassan can list the different types of weapons he learned to use in the same way that another child his age would recite the line-up of their favourite football team.

Layla, 32, was living in Bahzani when she was kidnapped by the Islamic State and forced to become a sex slave. She was sold nine times. All 19 of her family members met a similar fate. “[The people of the] Islamic State told us that we were godless, but the Yazidis are not subjecting girls to sexual violence, killing, or taking children by force. So, how is it that we are the ones who are godless?”

Layla has been interviewed by many international media outlets and even shared her story in a book, ‘Layla and the Nights of Pain’. However, she feels that nothing has changed since the defeat and withdrawal of ISIS, and that many of those who took part in the genocide against the Yazidis have returned home without suffering any consequences. It is hard for her to understand the point of telling her story, but she believes it is better than staying quiet.

Najah, 23, had the hardest time sharing her story. When ISIS arrived at her village, Shingai, she fled with her brother to a house near the mountains, but the owner of the house betrayed them. Najah fought with all her strength not to be separated from her brother. She told them that he was too young to be alone, but one of the men threatened her with violence.

She lied when they asked for her age, saying she was 20 when in fact she was only 18. She also pretended to be the mother of a baby, hoping this would persuade the men to leave her alone, but it was pointless. The ISIS fighters abducted her with a group of other women and subjected them to daily beatings.

One day, a man took her away from the group. “He tortured me. Every night, he tied me up and hit me.” After a year of suffering this abuse, Najah was told by her torturer that they were to be married. She refused, but he forced her. More than two years passed before she was released. Najah has now returned home, but she constantly thinks about the hundreds of missing women and girls who may still be suffering torture in captivity or have been murdered.

Hussein and his family were kidnapped on 3 August 2014. First, he was transferred with one of his brothers to Raqqa, Syria, but they were soon separated. At the age of nine he was sold into slavery to a local family. The abuse at his new home was constant. Even drinking water without permission would provoke a violent punishment.

A few months later, he was sold to another couple. The woman was kind to him, but her husband beat them both when he discovered she had been helping Hussein with his chores. Eventually Hussein was rescued by local military forces and returned to Iraq. He now lives with his grandmother in Sharya, in northern Iraq, but he still doesn’t know what happened to his parents or siblings.

https://reliefweb.int/report/iraq/iraq- ... grow-again
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:39 pm

Remembering the Yazidi
Genocide Five Years On


Barfi Halil, a Yazidi from Sinjar in Iraq, sits beside a fire with her grandchildren. The 63-year-old grandmother has spent the past week in the fields of Idomeni, sharing a small camping tent with her son, his wife and their five children, one of whom has severe developmental disabilities.

The family fled Sinjar in 2014, after militants laid siege to the area. They first went to a camp for displaced people outside Dohuk, in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. They then sought safety in Europe. The family worries that new border restrictions will prevent them from crossing the border into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. “We Yazidis have suffered a lot,” Barfi said. “We can’t go back home.” Credit: UNHCR

By: Mark Leon Goldberg on August 12, 2019

In the summer of 2014, ISIS forces swept through parts of Iraq that were home to the Yazidi people. This is an ethnic minority that has lived in northwestern Iraq for centuries — and suddenly they were under attack. What transpired was a genocide. Men and boys were murdered for being Yazidi; women and girls were kidnapped and taken as sex slaves for ISIS fighters.

At the time, Emma Beals was reporting from Erbil, a city in the Kurdish region of Iraq near to where these atrocities were taking place. She was reeling from the news that a fellow journalist, James Foley, had been brutally murdered when she received a call from a human rights organization asking her to investigate rumors of a massacre in the Yazidi town of Kocho.

Emma Beals describes whats next in a series of powerful essays, titled Kocho’s Living Ghosts. There were 19 surviving men from the town’s original population of 1,888.

In our conversation Emma Beals recounts the massacre through the testimony of the survivors she interviewed.

Get the Global Dispatches Podcast - not sure where :(

https://www.undispatch.com/remembering- ... -years-on/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:12 am

The Yazidi Massacre Five Years
On: The Shadow of an Atrocity


Saturday 3 August was the Fifth Anniversary of the latest Yazidi genocide perpetrated largely by ISIS, as other actors in the region looked the other way. Today Yazidis in the region remain in limbo. As Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Laureate, stated last Friday:

    The situation remains dire. Presently there are approximately 350,000 internally displaced Yazidis in the Northern region of Iraq, mostly living in squalor in IDP camps with little of the basic human necessities. Only 80,000 have returned. Unless the Yazidis can return to their ancient homeland and make a life for themselves, ISIS’s program of genocide will be a success.
Throughout history the Yazidi people have tried to maintain a life in and around the Mt. Sinjar region in Northern Iraq. Throughout history various groups have nipped at their heels for not being “people of the book”.

The Yazidi practice a religion of pre-Islamic Assyrian traditions, Sufi and Shiite Islam, Nestorian Christianity, and Zoroastrianism.To the other peoples in the region they have never fit in. For centuries they have been hounded and several attempts to exterminate them have been tried.

Though we live in a Global Village, cultural genocide still lingers in the dark shadows even in the 21st century. After an age of accountability, which I helped found, how could a belief of destroying a peoples in whole or in part still be a viable policy anywhere in the world?

As an age of accountability slips away into the corners, with the rise of a dangerous nationalism/populism, the question posed above becomes harder to answer. The once leader in international accountability,

America, has gone rouge, stepping away from its leadership role in basic human rights. It has enabled strongmen from around the world to thrive on a narrow ethnocentrism that allows for another attempted Yazidi genocide and a consequent lack of accountability as has been the case throughout history.

Though there is an awareness by the United Nations of this genocide and a review currently ongoing of those facts, little will be done as there is no appetite by a majority of the UN Security Council, led by countries who have strongmen as leaders, the United States, China, and Russia. Leaders who are silent and do nothing are as guilty and do worse than those who commit these horrific attacks. George Stamatis

We are in a very precarious point in history, where the past seventy-five years of the United Nations paradigm is threatened and already ignored. In an age of the strongman where it seems “anything goes” at the diplomatic level, where new “truths” nibble away at international peace and security, where the Rule of Law is ignored or shaped to justify crimes, the cry of the Yazidi people echoes back and forth in the valley of the shadow of death.

The Yazidi genocide that took place five years ago is an open and Festering Wound, like the unaccounted for Armenian genocide over a century ago, that will never heal without the cleansing waters of accountability. At a minimum let’s pause and reflect, are we not better than all this?

    I WILL FOLLOW ANYONE…AND BEG EVERYONE…

    TO BE A HERO…

    AND SAVE THE YAZIDI NATION

    -Widad Akrawi, Yazidi Activist

https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2019/ ... -massacre/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:44 pm

Yazidis mourn 2014 genocide and
2007 terror attack anniversaries


Yazidis in northern Iraq and around the world, as well as other victims of ISIS, mourned the anniversary of the jihadist group's attack on Sinjar five years ago this week. In addition, a separate attack on August 15, 2007

Among the world's worst terror attacks in decades, is remembered for killing more than 800 Yazidi people. That attack, likely by jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, is now seen as a prelude to the genocide that ISIS carried out in 2014.

Yazidi social media accounts have been tweeting images from the 2007 and 2014 attacks, with some sharing memories of the horrific experiences. Mumtaz Ibrahm wrote that the 2007 attack was one of the “fiercest and dirtiest” in modern history. A Twitter account called @Daeshcrimes put up video from August 2014 showing ISIS taking over areas in Sinjar, in northern Iraq.

While the 2007 attack on the villages of Siba Sheikh Khidir and Qahtaniyah was by car bombings and destroyed up to 600 homes, the 2014 genocide was carried out after ISIS fighters overran the area of Sinjar city and the mountain with the same name. Called Shingal in Kurdish, the area is home to hundreds of thousands of the ancient Yazidi minority.

In 2007, Al Qaeda and its allies began to perfect their technique of using massive truck and car bombings against religious minorities. They targeted members of the Kakeye minority near Kirkuk, struck at Shebeks and Kurds, and attacked Shi’ites in a campaign that stretched for years from 2005 to 2009.

ISIS grew out of the extremism of those years, borrowing from the ideology and perfecting it, much as Nazism grew from its fascist origins into its genocidal maturity in the late 1930s.

In June 2014, ISIS conquered Mosul and areas in Iraq's Nineveh plains. It proclaimed a “caliphate” and committed mass murder against Shi’ites, executing 1,500 men at Camp Speicher. It expelled Christians and then set its sights on attacking Sinjar.

In a surprise attack that August, it overran numerous Yazidi villages. Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis fled to the mountain and then, via a corridor carved out by Kurdish People’s Protection Units fighters from Syria, they were able to escape.

More than 10,000 who were captured by ISIS were sold into slavery or executed and buried in more than 30 mass graves. ISIS members bragged on social media and celebrated their acts openly.

Murad Ismael, a Yazidi activist with Yazda, wrote that “humanity collapsed” on August 15, 2014 when 1,700 Yazidis in just one village alone, called Kocho, were marched to enslavement and death by ISIS. He wrote that five years later, those hundreds of thousands of Yazidis still in refugee and displaced persons camps have difficult returning due to security fears.

https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Yazid ... ies-598671
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:14 pm

Five years ago ISIS tried to wipe out Yazidis
Have we forgotten them?
YES !!!

At Sharya camp, near Duhok in northern Iraq, Yazidi survivors wait for the return of as many as 3,000 loved ones who are still held captive and seek answers on the fate of nearly 7,000 others who are missing

Among the survivors here is Layla Taalo, a young mother of two who has lived in Sharya since 2017, when she was recovered from Raqqa, Syria, where she was enslaved by ISIS.

On Aug. 3, 2014, she and her husband and their children were captured along with most of Layla’s extended family as they tried to escape to the Sinjar mountains. She does not know what happened to her husband, but she was sold into slavery with her children.

Over the course of nearly three years, Layla was traded nine times among ISIS fighters and their supporters before her brother was able to ransom her and her children. Now Layla and the other survivors in her family, including two nieces who had also been traded as slaves, live together in this tent compound.

Five years ago in August 2014, ISIS extremists launched a genocidal campaign across Iraq’s Sinjar and Nineveh regions that would come to horrify the world. Thousands of Yazidi and Christian families were put to flight.

Those too slow, too old or too unlucky to escape the onslaught were captured. Many were killed; many more, especially Yazidi women with their children, were sold into slavery.

An Iraqi-U.S. coalition counter-offensive eventually drove ISIS from Sinjar in 2015 and Nineveh in 2017. Since then, thousands of Christian families have been able to return to communities as they are being rebuilt.

Sinjar was pummeled by the extremists and then by the air and land campaign that drove them out, but little has been done to restore the region to its pre-ISIS condition.

The Christian restoration in Nineveh is far from certain, but more than 300,000 Yazidis are still living in emergency camps under conditions little changed from their first weeks of exile.

Five years ago in August 2014, ISIS extremists launched a genocidal campaign across Iraq’s Sinjar and Nineveh regions. Thousands of Yazidi and Christian families were put to flight.

Here in Sharya, Khalid Taalo, Layla’s older brother, has struggled for years to piece his family back together, looking for information about the missing and raising money to free its captives.

It is not true what the world thinks, he insisted, that honor killings would result if Yazidi women were returned from ISIS to their families because of what happened to them.

“It is not true that we would abandon them because they had been shamed by their treatment under ISIS. The shame is on ISIS,” Khalid said, not on the Yazidi women, not on his sister or his nieces.

“We would do anything to get them back safe and alive,” Khalid said in October, during a visit to the Taalo “home,” a series of connected tents and U.N. emergency shelters. He already has gone to extraordinary lengths to recover his family. Many other Yazidi families have done the same.

Among extended family who now live as refugees in Europe and from online donations, Khalid raised and spent almost $100,000 to secure the release of 10 of his female relatives who had been swept up by ISIS.

The nine male relatives who also went missing during that awful week, he does not look for, he said. He does not negotiate with shadowy human traffickers and criminals as he has done to free the women who were taken. He presumes the male relatives, from the youngest boys to the oldest men, are all long dead.

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They are buried out there someplace in Sinjar. The United Nations believes 5,000 Yazidi men and boys were executed in the immediate aftermath of the ISIS attack. As more unmarked mass graves are discovered, he may someday be able to bring some of the Taalo men and boys taken by ISIS back home. That presumes he and his surviving family members are ever able to leave this camp and return to Sinjar.

Not far from Sharya, where most Yazidis still live in tents and other makeshift shelters, Christian villages are being rebuilt and some Christian families, those who dare, have been restored to their homes and communities in Nineveh.

But the Yazidi people are a small ethnic and religious minority. Their global network is small, their resources limited and the political influence they wield negligible.

“It is not true that we would abandon them because they had been shamed. The shame is on ISIS,” Khalid said, not on the Yazidi women, not on his sister or his nieces. “We would do anything to get them back safe and alive.”

Now Turkey and Iran, Kurdistan and Iraq vie for control of Sinjar. The militias and other armed groups supported by these various regional players may be preparing for another military confrontation there. The Yazidis at Sharya camp believe they would not be safe from more violence if they returned home, even if they could.

No one is rushing to clear out ISIS booby traps and weapons caches from devastated Yazidi towns. No one is making sure that ISIS dead-enders or sleeper cells are not ready to strike in Sinjar again or that Shia-backed militia might also evolve into a threat to Yazidis.

“Look at my sister. After two years living with them, she has suffered enough. She does not deserve to live like this,” Khalid said, opening up his arms to gesture at the tarp walls and carpet dividers the family has thrown together into a home here.

But the world is not funneling cash into Sinjar to rebuild Yazidi homes and villages. The Yazidis sit and wait in these camps, as Khalid and his extended family do, pleading their case before passing journalists and aid workers.

“There is no hope, no future here,” Khalid said, but he would not return to Sinjar and subject Layla and the rest of his family to the threat of kidnapping or worse again. Perhaps if the militias were gone and they were international forces on the ground in Sinjar, he speculated. Maybe then the family would return.

Jesuit Refugee Service has been assisting the residents at Sharya, offering trauma and educational services and helping reintegrate family members as they are returned. Staff here share their frustration with how little attention the plight of Yazidis has received, how trapped many Yazidi feel in a camp they had first perceived as a life-saving refuge.

Now suicide and suicidal ideation, born out of boredom and despair or untreated psychological trauma, have become a plague among even the young. During this fifth anniversary of the ISIS attempted genocide in Sinjar, J.R.S. has launched a media campaign—#DoNotForgetUs—in an effort to draw global attention to the ongoing suffering of the Yazidi minority in Iraq.

Along a hillside that marks the outer borders of the camp, Salo Ramo, a middle-aged Yazidi father has created a small compound, including a sturdy cinder block home, a rare sight, with a small pond for scores of ducks that he maintains and brings to market to help support his large family.

He and his wife Jamila Qasim Khalaf care for their own four children and the five surviving children of his brother and sister-in-law. “I love them before my own kids,” he said, surveying a row of children, cross-legged on a carpet, wary-eyed and curious before their visitor.

His young nieces and nephews happened to be visiting his family as his brother, Dakhil Ramo Khudeda, and his wife with two daughters, one eight and the other a baby, were on an outing in August 2014 when ISIS came. Mr. Ramo and his wife managed to escape, gathering together all the children from both families.

They were able to keep the kids alive for seven days on the Sinjar mountains without food, water, even shoes, as the dehydrated and heat-exhausted dead gathered around them. “I saw a lot of terrible things; the children did, too,” Mr. Ramo recalled of that dreadful week. “Children crying for food; children crying for water, crying for their parents.” And parents struggling to keep their children alive as ISIS fighters harassed stragglers with small arms and mortar fire as they reached the mountain. “It was a disaster,” he said.

His brother Dakhil, a soldier in the Iraqi army, was seized and immediately executed. His sister-in-law, Qute Shamo Qasim, and the children were trafficked into ISIS slavery. Eventually his sister-in-law was separated from her children.

An ISIS extremist sexually assaulted then murdered his 8-year-old niece, Ahlam, and the baby was sold to another family. Miraculously, they were able to recover this youngest niece after the Iraqi army liberated Mosul and freed Yazidi captives held there. He was able to locate her among a database of recovered Yazidi survivors.

Now he struggles to acclimate the toddler with the family she does not know. She speaks the Arabic she learned from the family that bought her and is slowly learning her family’s Kurdish tongue.

Many of the returned Yazidi children had been indoctrinated over their time with ISIS and believe their own people are devil-worshippers and infidels. Some had been trained as child soldiers. Part of the J.R.S. outreach in the camp is assisting with the deprogramming of such children.

He believes his sister-in-law, the mother to more than half the children he is raising, may still be alive out there someplace, a slave to whatever is left of ISIS. At least she was alive a year ago when she was able to find a cell phone and briefly talk with the family. He maintains the faint hope that he may someday be able to reunite her with her surviving children. Until then, he and his wife are prepared to continue to care for them.

The surroundings here are stark. There is a bare minimum of furniture; the children sit on carpets on the floor. But they seem cheerful and clean. They have a refrigerator with cold drinks and cookies to share with a visitor. It is hard to imagine the horrors they have seen. May it be the last they will have to endure.

“All these organizations visit us, but nobody helps us,” Mr. Ramo marvels, “And there is no help from the government, not from the Iraqis or from the Kurds.” It is a familiar refrain in this camp.

He knows his home in Sinjar is gone, burned to the ground. “All we had has been washed away.” Yet “all of us just want to go back to our homeland.”

There is no hope going back now. No safety. Mr. Ramo runs through a litany of armed groups and militias who are vying for control of Sinjar, none of them friendly to Yazidi people. “There is no security there; nothing is safe. It is too dangerous.” He shrugs. “Who will protect us? We cannot believe that the Iraqis or the Peshmerga anymore will protect us or save us.”

The Iraqi army captured and summarily executed the ISIS extremist responsible for killing his little niece after the militant’s wife told Iraqi soldiers what he had done to Mr. Ramo’s niece. The Iraqis sent him a picture of the militant’s corpse after his execution, he told me without elaboration or evident emotion.

“The three oldest children know what happened to their parents,” Mr. Ramo said. “The little ones don’t know,” he added, regarding the squad of children watching us.

“I hope one day their mother can come back.”

https://www.americamagazine.org/politic ... otten-them

As you see, the news from Sinjar is, as always, heartbreaking
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:23 am

Israel Helps Yazidi Women
Heal From ISIS Trauma


Five years ago, the images that filled our television news screens were of the horrific executions perpetrated by the Islamic State (ISIS) against the Yazidis — a Kurdish minority living in northern Iraq — as ISIS sought to create a caliphate in the region

However, at the height of the Yazidi genocide in August 2014, when thousands of men were massacred, ISIS also captured thousands more Yazidi women and children and sold them into sexual slavery. Some managed to escape and some were eventually released. But all bear scars — some physical, some psychological, some both — of their time spent in brutal captivity where they were subject to rape, beatings and torture.

Today, as ISIS’s stronghold wanes, much of the world has forgotten about the plight of the Yazidi people and in particular the women and children (many of whom were born after their mothers were raped by ISIS fighters), who are attempting to rebuild their lives, mostly in northern Iraqi refugee camps.

However, there is one country — Israel — that has never forgotten. Over the past four years, Bar-Ilan University researchers have been working with an international team, undertaking studies among the women who were held captive by ISIS and trying to find ways to help them.

That work culminated in an unusual project last month in Israel, where 16 lay, female Yazidi mental health workers were brought from Iraq to Bar-Ilan, thanks to a fundraising effort by the American Friends of Bar-Ilan University (AFBIU) in Los Angeles, and international coordination efforts, including help from IsraAID. The women spent two weeks undertaking professional training in order to return home and offer support for the women who continue to struggle with their trauma.

The entire project was a significant undertaking and required almost two years of coordination, finding donors to fund the $200,000 venture, enlisting a renowned humanitarian aid Iraqi doctor, and bringing in some of the world’s experts on complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD).

“It was important to bring mental health workers from Iraq to Israel to give them the best training possible.”

The project was the brainchild of clinical psychologist Yaakov Hoffman, a senior lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences at Bar-Ilan, and Ari Zivotofsky, an engineer and senior lecturer at Bar-Ilan’s Interdisciplinary Science program.

How the project unfolded was serendipitous, Hoffman said, speaking from Israel. He explained that the American-born Zivotofsky went to Kurdistan four years ago to research remnants of the Jewish community there. “He’s interested in that aside from being a neuroscientist,” Hoffman explained.

“It’s true,” Zivotofsky said, also speaking from Israel. “I originally went to Kurdistan with a friend because we like to visit disappearing Jewish communities. We heard there was still a small community left — there was a large Jewish community in the ’50s and ’60s — and we wanted to see what was there.”

So Hoffman, figuring Zivotofsky would pass by some of the post-ISIS camps with these women said, “Let me print up a questionnaire. I’ll do it in English, and see if you can hand them out.”

While Zifotofsky was unable to get near the camps, through a series of connections, he was able to connect with Dr. Mirza Dinnaye, a Yazidi activist and humanitarian who lives part time in Germany and who personally rescued more than 1,000 Yazidi women from ISIS and brought them to Germany — including 2016 joint Sakharov Prize winner Lamiya Aji Bashar. Aji Bashar was captured by ISIS when she was just 15. She shared the European Union Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought with another Yazidi woman, Nadia Murad. Murad subsequently went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018.

With Dinnaye’s help, and a grant“It was important to bring mental health workers from Iraq to Israel to give them the best training possible.” from the Research Center for the Middle East and Islam, Hoffman and Zivotofsky spent four years studying women who had been held by ISIS. The results of that paper were published in February 2018, and revealed that 50% of the women were suffering from CPTSD while 23% were suffering from standard PTSD.

“Complex PTSD is relatively new,” Hoffman explained. “It only came out as a formal diagnosis in 2011 so a lot of clinical psychologists don’t yet know about it enough.” At its most basic, Hoffman said, CPTSD occurs when the trauma is very prolonged. “And it’s characterized by a second type of feature that is fascinating because it’s never really been investigated — where one’s destiny is under another’s control.”

But even though Hoffman is a clinical psychologist who researches PTSD, what drew him to want to work and study with the Yazidi women in particular?

“There is one country – Israel – that has never forgotten.“

“Those pictures coming out of Iraq [at the time]. This was really echoing things from our [Jewish] past,” he said. “Some of those pictures were horrifying. I’m not just talking about the executions. These female ISIS captives, kept in captivity for two or three years witnessed tremendous horrors.” The basic motivation, Hoffman said, was not just to give voice to their plight but also because most of the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on the ground don’t have the research or expertise to help these women. That’s why, he said, it was important to bring mental health workers from Iraq to Israel to give them the best training possible.

Aside from the logistical issues that prevent Israelis from entering Iraq (Iraq is officially at war with Israel), “We also couldn’t just go into some place that had a genocide and say, ‘We’ll do some games, empower them, and in the best case scenario, we’ll give them an intervention for PTSD, without checking if they’re suffering from PTSD or complex PTSD or depression or insomnia,’” Hoffman said.

With standard PTSD, Hoffman explained, you expose people to things they are afraid of. “Exposure is a common therapy,” he said. “But if you take someone with complex PTSD, it has all the symptoms of PTSD but goes far deeper — including a disrupted self-organization where their whole self is actually uprooted. And if you give them exposure therapy before they’re strong enough, you might actually be doing more damage.”

And so, in creating the program, Hoffman and Zivotofsky reached out to world-renowned expert on CPTSD, Marylene Cloitre, clinical professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and associate director of research at the National Center for PTSD Dissemination at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. Cloitre, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) had recently developed the diagnosis for CPTSD.

“We contacted her because we wanted her to address the women,” Hoffman said. “And the story of how we got [Cloitre] here is beshert,” he said. “Did she tell you the story?”

She did.

Speaking with Cloitre in Northern California, she explained how she had never been to Israel. After completing her latest project with the WHO, she was trying to figure out what to do next.

“I thought, what I’d really like to do next is go to Israel. It’s a country that has experienced so much trauma and has persevered, it just felt like I should know more,” she said. A week later, she received an email from Hoffman asking her to come to teach the Yazidi women at Bar-Ilan. “It didn’t take me long to say ‘yes,’ ” Cloitre said.

“I work with women. I recalled the attacks on the Yazidi women and I was really shocked by how little the U.S. did and I felt very bad about it. Those things were on my mind when I got the email from Yaakov.”

Hoffman said it was clear his and Cloitre’s goals were aligned. “Our goal wasn’t just to train the women,” he said. “We also wanted to raise the plight of the Yazidis because, to some extent, it’s not being acknowledged enough by the world. Even Israel hasn’t yet acknowledged there was a Yazidi genocide. That’s why it meant a lot to bring someone like Lamiya [Aji Bashar], who could be interviewed and raise awareness. She’s also someone whose face can be shown. She’s a spokeswoman for Yazidi suffering.”

That Aji Bashar came to Israel at all is thanks to the work of Dinnaye, Zivotofsky added. “While ISIS was massacring people, Mirza was going to Israel and Germany looking for help. Unfortunately, most of the Western world doesn’t seem to be interested except for Germany. [Germany] is doing teshuvah. They understand what genocide is and they want to repent. It’s putting their money where their mouth is and they have given a lot of money to help these people in both Kurdistan and Germany.”

But the Bar-Ilan program could not have happened without funding, which was coordinated by Ron Solomon, the executive vice president of AFBIU in Los Angeles. Speaking over lunch in Los Angeles with Solomon, one of those donors, local Los Angeles philanthropist Alan Gindi, spoke about how he was quick to come on board, as was his mother, Rachel Gindi.

    “I thought, what I’d really like to do next is go to Israel. It’s a country that has experienced so much trauma and has persevered, it just felt like I should know more.”
    — Marylene Cloitre
“Bar-Ilan University and IsraAID are two organizations I respect very much and I know them both pretty well,” Gindi said. “I told Ron, ‘If my mother’s interested in doing this, so am I.’ ”

“I was under a lot of pressure to get this program funded,” Solomon said, “and I thought it was a fantastic program and [Rachel Gindi] is the champion of the underdog.”

Gindi revealed how he’d met some Yazidi survivors who had come to Los Angeles a couple of years ago. “I remember them sitting in my living room and telling their terrible stories. They desperately needed help. [Doing this project] is a Kiddush HaShem at the highest level.”

It was the Gindis — Rachel, Alan (and his wife, Barbara) — the Hitter Family Foundation and Alan Zekelman who footed the majority of the bill. All of the Bar-Ilan faculty volunteered their time and their expertise for the workshops.

“We had a video conference call with the attendees and Mirza, Zivotofsky and Hoffman. It was really something very special,” Gindi said.

“Over the years, [AFBIU] has raised funds for 12 buildings on the campus but I consider this one of the most meaningful donations because of what this is going to,” Solomon said.

With funding in place, Cloitre prepared for the program by reading about the Yazidis and their experiences and also spoke with a Yazidi psychiatrist via Skype about her proposed training. “He said my plan was fine but I didn’t know what to expect,” Cloitre said, adding she wasn’t even sure what the women’s religion was. And while there were four Muslim and two Christian women in the group, everyone else was Yazidi. “I had to get an education,” Cloitre said. “The Yazidi are their own people, their own religion. I was prepared to be very conservative in my dress but I saw they don’t dress very differently than the way we do. The weren’t wearing burqas.”

It was Hoffman’s idea, Cloitre said, to train lay people to understand more about trauma and CPTSD, including how to talk to people with PTSD and provide simple intervention that might help resolve some of the most impairing symptoms.

It was necessity, though, that dictated that the women selected were lay people. That’s because there are so few professional mental health workers in Iraq. It was Dinnaye and his organization Air Bridge Iraq, together with IsraAID — which has been working in refugee camps in northern Iraq for many years — that found the women. Dinnaye accompanied the women, including Aji Bashar, on their circuitous journey to Israel via Turkey.

A week after the program ended, Dinnaye suffered a heart attack. He spoke with the Journal three weeks later from a rehabilitation hospital in Germany where he was recuperating and said he was on the road to recovery.

In the period leading up to the project, Dinnaye said, “I explained to Ari and Yaakov about the situation in Kurdistan and how there are very few people who know how to treat PTSD. There is one psychotherapist for every 250,000 people in Iraq.” However, the women he selected had mostly worked in refugee camps.

Air Bridge Iraq, Dinnaye’s charity that assists trauma victims, has implemented several training programs, worked with many Yazidi women, and has helped resettle many victims in Germany. “I found [the 16] women who were willing to make the journey [to Israel] because they trust me,” he said. “If Bar-Ilan could offer a course of treatment for these women to work with victims of PTSD, that’s [a good thing],” he said, because “the whole Iraqi community is traumatized.”

Dinnaye, who has done humanitarian work with Israel for almost 15 years, said, “I think it’s very important to start some kind of relationship with [Iraq and Israel]. I’m not speaking about the politics,” he explained. “I’m speaking about the social relationships. I have many Jewish friends. They are like my family. Especially the Iraqi Jews in Israel. My life is about making peace and, if you want to have peace in the Middle East, it’s crucial to break stereotypes and you have to bring everyone together.”

And it’s stereotypes, he said, that have much to do with the fact that there are so few psychologists and psychotherapists in Iraq. “Even though Iraq has had many wars, people are ashamed to seek mental health treatment because of the stigma associated with it,” he said, adding that if someone were to seek mental health treatment, they would be called “mad” or “crazy.”

“That’s because there’s very bad education about psychological diseases,” he explained. “They don’t know it’s the same as any [physical] disease and should be treated the same way.” As a result, he said, few doctors study psychotherapy or psychiatry lest they, too, be called crazy. “The stigma is very bad,” he said. “And we have no special department for trauma.”

From left, Co-CEO-IsraAID Yotam Polizer, Dr. Mirza Dinnaye, Natan Sharansky, Bar-Ilan University president Arie Zaban, Arie Zaban, Yaakov Hoffman and Ari Zivotofsky.

Which is why, Hoffman said, bringing in these lay, Iraqi women was crucial. And that required a massive coordination effort with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Dinnaye to bring the women into Israel via Turkey with special visas. The whole project almost didn’t happen. Two women received threats from the Iraqi government and pulled out. One woman got stuck in Turkey after having problems with her visa and eventually arrived a few days into the program. There was a glitch with the visas that saw the majority of the women having to receive them at the eleventh hour at the airport in Turkey. “We were on shpilkes up until the last minute,” Hoffman said. “We had no idea if they were coming.”

“It took a huge amount of work,” Zivotofsky added. “And beyond the treatment we also wanted to do PR. We wanted to not only help [the Yazidi women] but also bring to the world’s attention the plight of the Yazidis.”

That PR exercise — which brought CNN to cover the program — was thanks to Dinnaye bringing Aji Bashar. Zivotofsky reached out to Jewish Agency Chairman and former Soviet prisoner Natan Sharansky, who was imprisoned with Soviet dissident and activist Andrei Sakharov. As a result, Sharansky participated in the workshop’s closing event, where Aji Bashar spoke.

“If it wasn’t for IsraAID, their work in the camps and Mirza we wouldn’t have been able to get Lamiya,” Zivotofsky said. IsraAID also brought Murad to Israel two years ago. “And,” he added, “We really wanted Sharansky to be part of this. Twenty years ago, we would have brought Elie Wiesel — someone who represents an apolitical moral compass. Sharansky is viewed by many today as a neutral, moral voice.”

Also crucial, Hoffman said, was getting Cloitre for the first week of the two-week program to implement a treatment she had created called STAIR (Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation). “It focuses on helping people reduce the intensity of their emotional reactions post trauma,” Cloitre said, “and also, very importantly, helps people reconnect to their social networks.”

    “[Germany] is doing teshuvah. They understand what genocide is and they want to repent. It’s putting their money where their mouth is and they have given a lot of money to help these people in both Kurdistan and Germany.” — Ari Zivotofsky
Expanding on how PTSD differs from CPTSD, Cloitre said PTSD is viewed around having symptoms of the event in the here and now; nightmares, avoidance of things that remind you of the event; certain sounds. The treatment includes confronting the trauma and talking about it; telling a narrative of what happened.

However, in CPTSD, Cloitre said, people have those symptoms, along with difficulty regulating their emotions and managing their feelings; a really negative sense of self-worth that comes from being tortured or being held captive for a long time; and very negative or challenging relationships.

“There’s an interpersonal dimension, which is difficulty maintaining relationships — tending to avoid them,” she said. “Often, the kinds of events that lead to complex PTSD are violent and are repeated. People’s bodies just take a big hit and they’re not comfortable in their own bodies and we work on that first.”

Cloitre spent six days teaching her workshop. “We worked collaboratively to adapt the interventions to their populations so that they would be comfortable delivering it,” she said. “It was really inspiring to work with people who had been exposed to such intense trauma [and to be able to] work on a recovery plan.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. As both Cloitre and Hoffman noted, they had to adapt some of the treatment on the fly. Cloitre’s short interventions consisted of six sessions — one per day. But first, she said, “I had to make sure that each basic principle made sense in their culture.”

One example Cloitre gave was that a key intervention for reducing intense emotional reactivity and regulating your emotions is to find self-soothing. “What soothes you to get you back down to a place where you can function?” she said. And while everyone was on board with soothing the senses, “some of the things we use in Western culture weren’t appropriate. In this case, we spoke about the idea of using lavender but that wasn’t appropriate. Rather, they talked about the scent of soil after rain.”

Hoffman offered another example, citing that one way to regulate your emotions is to imagine a wave, and to let the wave roll over you. “Except it doesn’t work for [these women] because there’s no ocean where they live. They don’t know what a wave is. For many of them, the first time they visited a beach was in Israel.”

One of the greatest concerns, Cloitre said, was the high incidence of suicidal ideation in the population. “A lot of intervention for suicidality is cognitive,” she said. “It’s a reappraisal of values and identifying a reason to go on.”

In speaking with the women, Cloitre learned that in Yazidiism, you don’t have the right to kill yourself — only God can make that decision — and so there’s a reason you’re still alive. She also learned that there’s a very strong emphasis on the need to persevere for your people and your family.

“I found that very interesting, and they brought up some role model women — including Lamiya and Nadia Murad — who had been tortured but had escaped and were now being represented and sending a message through the U.N.”

Bringing Aji Bashar to participate in the program, “she became the voice of the voiceless women,” Dinnaye said.

The entire two-week program was a learning period with many challenges for everyone, Hoffman said. “There’s a lot of nuance to be aware of when working with these women,” he said. “For example, a woman who was raped as a prisoner won’t say ‘I was raped.’ She’ll say ‘my stomach hurts.’ ”

Another problem they encountered, Hoffman said was that the plan was for all participants to be able to speak English. “That didn’t happen. We had four women who didn’t speak English but Mirza translated for us.”

The women also came from diverse backgrounds, including one who was an engineer who planned the infrastructure for the post-ISIS camps and gradually started talking to the women. “They became mental health professionals because their people were suffering,” he said. “They felt this moral obligation to go out there and help.

“However, the diversity of the women who shared different stories from the field allowed the team to build a fictitious case study out of all their vignettes,” Hoffman said. “The plan is to create a manual from these stories so that when this fictional woman who came back from ISIS says this and she feels this, we, in response, can say this or that and offer her intervention.”

Along with Cloitre’s STAIR therapy, participants also studied how to deal with sleep issues, nightmares and insomnia, “which can be dangerous because if you leave them untreated, it can cause physical problems — metabolic syndrome and other nasty stuff,” Hoffman said. “So we want to get them back sleeping.”

On the plus side, Cloitre said she was surprised to learn that almost everyone has Androids or iPhones. “So ironically, what was shared across the two cultures was a technology-supported intervention, such as looking at photos of loved ones on their phones. I didn’t expect that.”

Zivotofsky said while the women traveled around Israel, they also took lots of photos of everything. “I was surprised by how enthusiastic they were about everything,” he said. “All the women were going around snapping pictures of everything with their phones: the flowers, the trees.”

The women did indeed go on tours around the country. Hoffman and Zivotofsky made sure they weren’t stuck in the classroom for the entire two weeks. “They had tiyulim (tours), they went to the shuk in Jerusalem and even to Friday night Shabbat meals hosted by residents in the Old City of Jerusalem,” Hoffman said. Zivotofsky was in charge of coordinating the trips around the country, which also included a visit to Haifa in the north of the country, where they visited the Baha’i temple.

The two Christians in the group, Zivotofsky said, knew about the holy sites in Jerusalem. “Most of the others knew very little about Jews. One of the speakers [in class] used the word Auschwitz. We think everyone knows what Auschwitz means. They had no idea.” He added that they knew a little bit about Jews because of the once sizable Jewish community and there are still echoes of it.

“One of the women said her mother’s best friend growing up had been Jewish,” Zivotofsky said, “and another told us there are Jews living in the village married to non-Jews. But they had positive feelings about Israel. They loved that they could go into a café and speak Arabic. They met the Baha’is and the Druze — and they were impressed about how we have these minorities living freely in the country.”
The highlight for many, though, Zivotofsky said, was having Shabbat dinner with Jewish families in the Old City. “They were intrigued by the fact that Jews opened their houses and were willing to share their family, food and beliefs with Iraqi non-Jews.”

The evening was not without incident, though, Hoffman said. “They were stoned in the Old City by people who thought they were Jews. But then Mirza walked up to one of the guys, took a photo of him, and started talking to him in Arabic. When I asked what he said to the man, Mirza said, ‘I know who you are and I’m going to find you.’ Suddenly, the place emptied out,” Hoffman said, laughing.

One of the most intriguing decisions made by Zivotofsky was to take the women to Israel’s Holocaust memorial — Yad Vashem. Hoffman said he thought Zivotofsky was crazy. “I thought he’d fallen on his head,” he said, laughing. “I said to him, ‘What do they need to see Yad Vashem for?’ But then I realized it was the most amazing thing, because first of all, it validated them. They saw they’re not the only ones who have suffered. And the way Yad Vashem is documented and archived, they were in total awe of how you can rebuild and get hope and can resume life afterward.”

That, said Hoffman, became the program’s mantra: “Visiting Yad Vashem wasn’t just an extracurricular activity. It tied into the whole theme of empowerment, rebuilding; of post-traumatic growth, which is something we were trying to imbue.”

The visit, Zivotofsky added, helped the women look up to Israel and the Jewish people. “We are a people who have been where they have been, just 75 years ago. They wanted to understand how we have commemorated our Holocaust and they wanted to understand how we have built ourselves up.”

“Visiting Yad Vashem wasn’t just an extracurricular activity. It tied into the whole theme of empowerment, rebuilding; of post-traumatic growth, which is something we were trying to imbue.” — Yaakov Hoffman

However, Zivotofksy was quick to point out, “We’re not comparing tragedies or genocides. We have our story and they have their story. Once they understood that, it was important for them to see how they can rebuild.”

It was also Dinnaye, Zivotofsky said, who pointed out to the women how every building has a donor’s name on it. “He said to them, ‘Look, this is how a nation builds themselves up. They don’t rely on the government.’ [Dinnaye] viewed it as something that can be a lesson to the Yazidi people.”
Beyond the Jewish and Yazidi people’s shared tragedies, Cloitre also spoke about how Israel also can speak to intergenerational trauma, something the Bar-Ilan program is hoping to halt, by sending home these women with tools to help their traumatized population.

“It’s very different from the U.S.,” Cloitre said. “In Israel and in other older countries, there is a feeling and awareness of intergenerational transmission of trauma. In the U.S., the Civil War doesn’t weigh too heavy on most of us. That’s very different in Israel and it’s a very salient part of understanding trauma — of what’s happened in the past and how it’s transmitted through stories by grandparents and parents.”

To that end, Hoffman and Zivotofsky hope to be able to raise more funds to continue the program. The women returned to northern Iraq just a few weeks ago, so there is still a waiting period before there can be any clinical follow up. In addition, Dinnaye’s recent heart attack has delayed his return to Iraq although he says he plans to return in early September, funds permitting. He added that online supervision and training of the women is already underway, “and we will try to establish something sustainable.”

“Two weeks of training doesn’t make one an expert,” Zivotofsky said. “If we can get funding and continue the training, that would be fantastic.”

“Our goal together is to continue the work and we do have a plan for having monthly supervision with the women who were trained on how it’s going and trying to document with them how often they give the treatment and what their perception of its benefits are,” Hoffman said. “If that works, then I think the next step is to try and get more money to do a more systematic assessment of the benefits.”

Beyond the ongoing training and treatment for these women, Dinnaye said he hopes this work might lead to coexistence between Israel and Iraq.

“I encourage all Iraqis and Israelis to have good relationships with each other,” he said. “There is no ground for hatred. Especially in Iraq. It’s so stupid to have hatred based on nothing. This Islamic fundamentalism and this pan-Arabic Nazi ideology — we don’t need that. The Jews have the right to be peaceful in their own country.”

Unfortunately, he added, the Iraqi people “have been brainwashed for 40 years by the Ba’ath party, the Ba’ath regime and Saddam Hussein. The whole era of Saddam was hatred. We have to work for peace; for coexistence among communities — and the political disputes can be solved later.”

https://jewishjournal.com/cover_story/3 ... is-trauma/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:28 pm

Three princes compete for Yazidi leadership to succeed late prince
Saad Salloum


The inauguration of Hazim Tahseen Bek as Yazidi prince caused a rift within Yazidi society due to the way the new prince was appointed, and it sparked controversy over his proper representation of different Yazidi classes and groups.

Meanwhile, two others proclaimed themselves to be Yazidi princes — the first in Sinjar and the second in Germany — thus threatening more division among the Yazidi minority following the 2014 Yazidi genocide.


As soon as Bek was inaugurated July 27 at the Lalish temple in Sheikhan east of Dahuk, his appointment provoked division within the family of deceased Prince Tahseen Said. Young elites also objected to the way the new prince was imposed upon them and doubted the legitimacy of the process.

They dismissed the appointment as “a step that does not respect the will of Yazidis and does not enjoy the approval of Yazidis in general. It also does not fulfill the wish of late Prince Tahseen Said who recommended that the inauguration have Yazidi approval.”

In a significant development, Nayef Bin Daoud proclaimed himself prince of Sinjar amid blessings from clerics and tribal and influential figures in a temple in Sinjar.

A prominent Yazidi figure told Al-Monitor from Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan Region, that Kurdish parties opposing the ruling party in Erbil along with the Kurdistan Workers Party instigated this step amid silence and with implicit approval from Baghdad.

Anointing a new emir will tear Yazidis apart at a critical time, as they need to be more united than ever and must decide on the fateful issues related to their future as a minority.

Most Yazidis were displaced from Sinjar after the Islamic State (ISIS) invaded the city in August 2014. Meanwhile, there seems to be no sustainable solution for displaced Yazidis who have settled in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region on the horizon.

Haiman Faraj Khayri, a young Yazidi lawyer from Tahseen's family, said the inauguration of Tahseen as prince is the best solution despite the disapproval of some Yazidis and objective opposition to it. He believes it is better than the inauguration of a prince who threatens Yazidi unity and identity and puts them at risk of endless rivalry and conflict.

Regardless of the concerns of Yazidi elites over the results of competition for the Yazidi emirate, other Yazidi activists believe Tahseen's source of power comes from his royal family roots and his residence in Sinjar.

This is how he earned the respect of Sinjar’s traditional elites. His inauguration is considered a response from Sinjaris to the inauguration of a prince from Sheikhan without consulting them.

Nevertheless, according to Yazidi activist from Sinjar Talal Haskani, he was chosen by traditional elites based on regionalist and political considerations, and the young generation was not consulted.

Bin Daoud did not hide his ambition to play a role in the future of Yazidis and announced March 5, 2017, alongside Christian and Turkmen allies, the idea of a region for minorities.

He explained to Al-Monitor: “The alliance is an advanced step in the framework of an international solution to provide international protection for minorities in Iraq and push popular mobilization of our components for a just and legitimate cause that has long been waiting for a suitable solution.”

On Aug. 9, royal family member Umaya Mouawiya proclaimed himself to be the leader of Yazidis outside Iraq. Mouawiya announced himself prince of Yazidis in the diaspora in a statement to Yazidis living in Europe and the rest of the world.

He said, “I assume the historical responsibility of establishing a Yazidi emirate in the diaspora, based in Germany, managing the affairs of Yazidis and working on uniting them and alleviating their pain and grief, as well as supporting them in their tough circumstances.”

Mouawiya added, “My inauguration was the result of a series of meetings and calls with the educated and common Yazidi class in Germany and the European Union countries. They all agreed to my inauguration as Yazidi diaspora prince.” X(

He justified his step by saying he aims to unite Yazidis, years after the genocide. “Yazidis have been experiencing critical circumstances since the genocide, which weakened and crippled Yazidi unity. From migration to poverty and anguish, our community has had its share of pain,” the statement read.

Competition over Yazidi leadership has widened the rift among Yazidis and threatened their future and the ability of their leaders to unite their stances.

In addition to the geographical division between Sinjar (the scene of the genocide and the widest demographic concentration of Yazidis) and Sheikhan (location of the main Yazidi temple, the official emirate and the spiritual council) due to two independent princes leading them.

Mouawiya's announcement from Germany threatens more segregation between Yazidis in Iraq and abroad. He lives in a big European country that has the largest Yazidi population outside Iraq, counting 140,000 Yazidis, according to Yazidi activists.

The competition between the three men opens a new page of Iraqi conflict in the history of Yazidis.

With the presence of two Yazidi emirates, one in Sheikhan and the other in Sinjar, will the displaced Yazidis follow Sheikhan's or Sinjar’s prince upon their return? With the rise of a third emirate in Germany, Yazidis are facing three choices: remain in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, return to Sinjar or emigrate from Iraq to Germany. Each prince represents a choice for the confused Yazidis.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origin ... ities.html
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