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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 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:50 pm

How last year's Nobel winner endured

Win the Nobel Peace Prize at 25, become a commodity. How last year's winner endured

Last October, a professor at Harvard University asked Yazidi genocide survivor Nadia Murad if she was excited for the next day’s Nobel announcement. Nadia had been nominated, but we did not expect her to win. She turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, “But I don’t want it.” After traveling for more than three years to advocate for the Yazidis, she was exhausted. She knew a Nobel would keep her on the road.

The next morning, Nadia woke to discover she had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Over supper she asked if she could give the award back. “No,” I said, “but we’ll help you get through it.” I was referring to our five-person team that had helped her found the nonprofit Nadia’s Initiative to advocate for the Yazidis of northern Iraq.

It seemed to me that Nadia, then only 25, felt the prize was less of a cause for celebration and more of a memorial to what she had lost — in 2014 she was among 6,700 women and girls taken into slavery by Islamic State. The terrorist group murdered her mother, six brothers, many cousins and so many others in her community. The prize was a powerful reminder of how long she had waited for the international community to take action.

In a quest I had started calling the “lost cause,” Nadia’s Initiative had approached governments, queens, billionaires and nongovernmental organizations to help the Yazidis. But the facts we laid out about the genocide — including 12,000 killed, 450,000 displaced, and 90% of homes and schools destroyed — had failed to persuade the international community to provide security and material support, and refer the case to the International Criminal Court that is designed to protect persecuted people such as the Yazidis.

But the Nobel gave us new hope for helping the Yazidis. Nadia represented a particular currency: Individuals, institutions and governments would support the cause so that they could associate with her in what I call the “virtue exchange.” It was my job to persuade the social, business and political elite that supporting Nadia and Yazidis would allow them to project virtue to the world.

At the banquet following the 2018 Nobel Prize ceremony, Asle Toje, a foreign policy scholar and the youngest member of the five-person Nobel committee, turned to me, smiling slyly, and said, “What’s next, a presidential campaign for you?” I knew he was playfully making fun of me for being a salesperson who had helped construct a campaign to promote Nadia and the Yazidi cause.

Our small team had worked to raise Nadia’s value on the virtue exchange by casting her as the face of the genocide. When Nadia won the Nobel Prize, she became a brand and a celebrity. Countries, billionaires and NGOs paid Nadia’s Initiative high fees for Nadia to speak. On a number of occasions, Nadia asked me why people wouldn’t just help the Yazidis without her having to retell her terrifying and heartbreaking story, forcing her to relive her trauma in exchange for support. The responsibility was a strain.

A director of the Malala Fund — Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 — warned me that Nadia had a year to collect money and persuade people to take action before her value on the exchange plummeted.

And that is what we did: We traveled through North America, Europe and the Middle East to collect contributions and commitments to take action on behalf of the Yazidis.

Did our actions help? Through our advocacy and fundraising, we obtained commitments of millions of dollars for farmers, the construction of a new school, a new hospital and other programs, but reconstruction is nearly impossible when the region is not yet secure. What little money that has reached the Yazidis in Sinjar, Iraq, and other communities provides temporary relief and is completely inadequate to rebuild an infrastructure that has been reduced to rubble by the conflict with Islamic State.

As Iraq, Kurdistan, and Iranian proxies wrangle over control of the region, the Yazidis will continue to suffer. If the U.S. withdraws forces from the region, what little progress the Yazidis have made will be endangered.

In a world in which celebrity causes continue to be one of the few ways to help people in desperate need, the Nobel Peace Prize empowers leaders of humanitarian causes who represent people such as the survivors of the Yazidi genocide, many of whom lost all but their lives. All of whom wait for what may never be restored. Friday’s announcement of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner may put another worthy cause in the spotlight, but so much more than a spotlight is needed.

Over the last four years, a number of people we approached to support our cause privately asked me why the Yazidis mattered. After all, there were so few of them, less than a million worldwide, and most are in northern Iraq. The answer is simple: If the Yazidis don’t matter, no one matters. If one refugee made stateless by tyranny is rendered “superfluous,” in the words of German-Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt, then we are all superfluous.

Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown is a co-founder of Nadia’s Initiative and Uncommon Union, a public affairs and advisory firm

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2 ... adia-murad
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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 Nov 07, 2019 11:55 pm

They Were The Worst

Yazidi Refugees Outraged That ISIS Women Want to Return to Europe: 'They Were The Worst!'

Victims of ISIS in the Yazidi community now living in the Netherlands are outraged that a serious discussion is taking place in that European country about the possible return of ISIS women. Last Wednesday, two women, who traveled to the ISIS radical caliphate several years ago, visited the Dutch embassy in Ankara. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that they told personnel they want to "return home."

Another group of ISIS women and their children went to court in an attempt to force the Dutch government to "take them" from a Kurdish prison camp in Northern Syria.

Dutch public channel the NOS (link in Dutch) reports that this news has the Yazidi community in the Netherlands up in arms. They are utterly dismayed that the plans of the ISIS Brides, as they are known, are actually taken seriously. "The ISIS women were worse than the fighters," 21-year-old Parween Alhinto told the public broadcaster. "They regularly used violence against the imprisoned [Yazidi] women and helped the fighters rape them."

Parween knows of what she speaks. Male ISIS terrorists took her captive and held her for four long months, during which they raped her regularly. Her ten-year-old sister was sold as a sex slave to someone in Syria. "She lived there in a house with ISIS women," Parween says. "My sister told me afterward that the women were even worse than the fighters."

The entire notion that European countries may be forced to take back ISIS women is, of course, horrendous, but what makes this even worse is the fact that a Belgian court already ruled this week that the Belgian government had to go and get an ISIS bride and her two children from a "prison camp." The government has 75 days to do so. And earlier this summer, a German court forced the German government to take back an ISIS woman and her three children.

If this doesn't prove that Europe has gone completely insane, I don't know what does. Judges are so politically correct that they are willing to use the law against society itself in order to repatriate radical, extremist crazies who hate and despise everything Europe stands for and believes in. European courts are literally importing terrorists.

https://pjmedia.com/trending/yazidi-ref ... the-worst/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:00 am

USCIRF Condemns Turkish Air Strikes on Sinjar

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2019

USCIRF Condemns Turkish Air Strikes on Sinjar

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns recent Turkish air strikes(Opens in a new window) near civilian areas in Sinjar, Iraq. Turkey claims that these air strikes, the most recent in a series of similar operations that it has conducted in the Sinjar area since 2017, are targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters who have remained in northwestern Iraq since participating in anti-ISIS operations. However, these indiscriminate strikes have taken place in close proximity to towns and camps in which displaced Yazidi families have taken refuge since the 2014 genocide at the hands of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters.

USCIRF Chair Tony Perkins said, “USCIRF calls on Turkey to immediately cease its brutal airstrikes on Sinjar, Iraq. Despite Turkey’s claim that its successive military operations in the Sinjar area are targeting PKK positions, they are in fact victimizing Yazidi genocide survivors who remain displaced in and around Sinjar.”

“Iraqi Yazidis have already suffered immeasurable trauma over the last several years, beginning with the 2014 genocide and continuing with their unheeded calls for justice; their ongoing, mass displacement; and now their helplessness in the crosshairs of Turkey’s cross-border air strikes.” said Commissioner Anurima Bhargava. “Neither Turkey nor any other regional power should continue to victimize this long-suffering community with impunity.”

Since 1984, Turkey has waged an intermittent war against the PKK, an organization of Marxist Kurdish separatists that the U.S. has also designated as a terrorist group. As part of that long-running conflict, historically centered in eastern Turkey, the Turkish military has frequently sought to destroy PKK positions—or those of groups directly or indirectly tied to the PKK—in neighboring Iraq and Syria. However, it has repeatedly carried out such operations with disregard for vulnerable religious and ethnic minorities who live in, or have been displaced to, those same areas.

In its 2019 annual report, USCIRF placed Turkey on its Tier 2 list.

###

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF(Opens in a new window)) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or call 202-523-3240.

https://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press- ... kes-sinjar
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:08 am

Local funding helps Yazidi
refugees overcome past traumas


A London woman who was enslaved by Islamic State (ISIS) fighters in Iraq for more than two years says she’s thankful to be in Canada, but can’t forget those she left behind

“It’s hard to be here when my family is back there,” said Ramzya Issa, 23, who was enslaved for two years and four months before she escaped in 2017.

Issa is one of about 300 Yazidi Kurdish-speaking refugees, members of a religious and ethnic minority long persecuted in Iraq, who arrived in London in 2016 and 2017 after escaping an ISIS genocide in northern Iraq where several thousand Yazidis were killed and half a million became refugees.

Another 100 Yazidi settled in London after coming from other Canadian cities, such as Winnipeg, said Valerian Marochko, head of the Cross Cultural Learner Centre, a London agency that helps immigrants.

Because of their years of living in horrific conditions, many of the refugees suffer from complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Marochko said.

“Complex PTSD that is associated with prolonged trauma like exposure to mass killings; other people being killed; injury to themselves; torture; shelling; rape,” he said. “Some of the women still don’t know if their partner is alive or dead, and we hear some of our clients have been sold multiple times into slavery.”

Issa, who grew up in an agricultural family near Sinjar Mountains, is one of those who became a slave.

She remembers her life was normal before the massacre by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that devastated the Yazidis in 2014. Then came guns and bombs, and her former friendly Muslim neighbours began rising up against the Yazidi.

“They didn’t like that we belonged to a different religion and a different culture,” Issa said.

After she was captured by ISIS she was kept captive for 15 days in August 2014 in a school, before she was given as a slave to an ISIS fighter. The fighters, who drew names for the girls, could do what they wanted with them, including giving them away to friends or selling them.

“We didn’t have any choice; we had to be with them,” Issa said.

She endured horrible conditions and humiliation, as well as having to cook and clean for dozens of people. Eventually, a Yazidi man named Hamad, a friend whom ISIS believed was Muslim, plotted to help her and 16 other women escape.

To this day, she doesn’t know what happened to the man who saved her.

To reach the Kurdish-controlled town of Zamar, they slept during the day and crept over a mountain at night.

From there, they made it to Dohuk, in Iraqi Kurdistan, and finally to Canada, through the U.S. nonprofit Yazda.

Today, Issa is studying English and working at a local restaurant.

“I will never forget what happened, but I have to continue life,” she said.

Issa doesn’t like to talk about how her ordeal continues to affect her, but she often thinks about her parents and eight brothers and sister who are still in Iraq.

Omar Khoudeida, a Yazidi settlement worker at the Cross Cultural Learner Centre, who came to Canada from Iraq in 2000, said many of the mostly female immigrants are single mums. They lost their husbands or aren’t sure if they’re still alive.

“All were in captivity and experienced a horrible nightmare,” he said. “Most of them still have children missing.”

The Cross Cultural Learner Centre is receiving a $232,000 community vitality grant from the London Community Foundation during two years to develop a mental-health, peer-support program to help traumatized Yazidi refugees heal from the horror of ethnic cleansing.

About 1,300 Yazidis have settled in Canada since the genocide, and London is home to one of largest communities in the country.

About 70 per cent of those who arrived in London are younger than 30, the majority are children.

Marochko said the peer support program is a partnership involving CMHA Middlesex and Merrymount Family Support Crisis Centre, as well as the Mary J. Wright Research and Education Centre at Western University.

The funds will be used to build a network and establish programs to help the Yazidis overcome cultural and language barriers, he said.

“We hope it will have a big chance for success,” Marochko said. “Peer support models have been demonstrated to be effective in research we’ve seen. We’re trying to build on what works.”

First steps in the program would be for each person to undergo an assessment and begin to help them “feel safe.”

“It’s a young community, very eager to learn English and to help other people,” Marochko said.

Community vitality celebration:

The London Community Foundation is hosting its annual celebration Wednesday at the Hellenic Community Centre. Five community vitality grants will be announced, as well as the recipients of the foundation’s vital people award given to individuals who work for charities in London and Middlesex County. They will receive funding for professional development.

Other community vitality grant recipients:

Indwell: Hamilton-based non-profit creating affordable housing in London will receive $320,000.

Youth Opportunities Unlimited: Agency that provides temporary accommodation for youth while creating a path to permanent housing will receive $187,500.

ReForest London: Non-profit creating the Westminster Ponds Centre for Environment and Sustainability that will act as a hub for environmental advocacy receiving $190,000.

Forest City Film Festival: Receiving $53,600 to hire part-time staff to expand the event focused on Southwestern Ontario cinema.

https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/fun ... st-traumas
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:59 am

Lack of schools in Sinjar

A serious shortage of schools available to families living in displacement camps on Iraq's Mount Sinjar (Shingal) is preventing hundreds of Yezidi (Ezidi) children from getting an education and leading to high numbers of new dropouts

Poverty is an important factor as well since many of the families within the Ezidi religious minority do not have money for transportation that would take their children to schools located elsewhere.

Salam Hassan, a 16-year-old living in Sardasht Camp, told local news agency Kirkuk Now that he dropped out of school last year.

“I want very much to go back to studying, but I am unable to pay the extra money,” said Hassan. “I cannot walk 15 kilometers to get to the high school, nor can I pay 35,000 IQD ($29) for transportation.”

In the majority of the camps, schools are available only at the elementary level. If students in Sardasht Camp, for example, wish to continue past sixth grade, they must somehow get to a school in Sinuni sub-district.

Iraq's Ezidis suffered heavily at the hands of the Islamic State following its emergence in Iraq in 2014. The occupation of the Ezidi-majority city of Shingal led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of their community, considered heretics by the terror group. Islamic State militants subjected women and girls to sexual slavery, kidnapped children, forced religious conversions, executed scores of men, and abused, sold, and trafficked women across areas they controlled in Iraq and Syria.

Murad Alyas, the principle of the elementary school inside Sardasht Camp, said that the one elementary school in the camp, which serves 400 students, "has only four teachers who are volunteers.”

“With the beginning of the new school year, 50 students have dropped out already.”

Camp manager Ali Shabo said, “Education is at risk in both camps on Mount Shingal,” adding that 300 students between the ages of 7 and 16 from both camps have so far quit school. Most of them, he said, were from the poorest families.

On Nov. 2, local officials in Nineveh province, where Shingal is located, announced plans to build 37 new schools to replace those destroyed since 2014.

Shingal was not listed as one of the locations where the schools were to be built.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/eab ... 3944a34836
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:05 pm

Inside the world's biggest
Yazidi temple in Armenia


Yerevan, Armenia - Armenia may be best known for its medieval-era monasteries, crumbling hilltop churches that feature in postcards and travel posters

But as of this fall, the small, landlocked nation of three million has a new religious landmark: the world's largest Yazidi temple - Quba Mere Diwane.

Image

"I'm proud that finally the Yazidis have somewhere in Armenia where they can come and pray," said 27-year-old Pakizar Salmoyan, who wandered with her mother through the gold-toned atrium on a recent Saturday.

The pair had driven down from Gyumri, a few hours by car, to see the new temple in person, and now posed for Snapchat photos in front of the altar.

Just an hour outside the capital city of Yerevan, the gleaming, seven-domed temple crowns the quiet, poplar-lined village of Aknalich.

The temple is dedicated to Melek Taus, one of seven angels in Yazidi theology, who takes the form of a peacock.

Peacock motifs are etched onto the wooden doors

Golden suns - symbols of a higher power - adorn each white dome.

An elaborate, colourful stone carving of Melek Taus, special-ordered from Russia, is backlit to appear mystically luminescent.

A humbler, single-domed temple, which opened in 2012, sits alongside the new addition.

It displays a turquoise-feathered taxidermy peacock on a wooden pedestal and adjoins the local Yazidi cemetery.

Image
Property manager Mraz Sloyan is pictured in the Armenian-Yazidi friendship memorial complex [Ariel Sophia Bardi/Al Jazeera]

Both temples were commissioned and financed by Yazidi-Armenian property developer Mirza Sloyan, who passed away this month.

They are two of very few Yazidi places of worship outside the mountains of the northern Kurdish region, home of the community's most sacred shrine, Lalish.

"In Iraq, we have a lot of holy places," said 57-year-old Mraz Sloyan, Mirza's nephew and the temple's property manager.

Armenia, officially home to 35,000 Yazidis - with an unofficial count of 50,000 - had none.

During Soviet times, Yazidis were counted on census forms as Kurds, eroding their distinct culture and religion.

They petitioned to be recognised as a separate group. After the fall of the USSR, a Yazidi radio station was established, and schools now offer classes in Yazidi language and culture.

    Since we don't have the opportunity to go to Iraq, now we have one just nearby and we go there.

    Rustam Hasanyan, Armenian Yazidi
In 2014, when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) forces swept through the Yazidi homeland in Sinjar, killing men and subjecting women and girls to brutal sexual assaults, the older Sloyan wanted to begin construction on the new temple, giving Armenia's Yazidi minority community more visibility and support.

"It played a role," said Sloyan, the nephew. "Before that, we were told that we were Kurds, we were Zoroastrians. But no, we are Yazidis, and we can be beheaded for our religion," he said. "We should have a place for worship."

In 2018, Armenia made news by declaring the attack on the Yazidis of Sinjar as a genocide.

"Armenians are a community who have seen genocide themselves," said Rustam Badasyan, a Yazidi member of Armenia's parliament.

"I don't think any other nation would understand our pain as much as the Armenians did."

While Armenians describe the 1915 mass killings allegedly by Ottoman forces as genocide, Turkey has rejected this label and said the number of people who died is close to 300,000, rather than 1.5 million as claimed by Armenia.

Image

The adjacent Yazidi cemetery [Ariel Sophia Bardi/Al Jazeera]

The new reformist government - led by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - has emphasised the importance of Yazidis and other minority groups to Armenia, which is still 98 percent ethnically Armenian.

During the construction of the temple, the government waived taxes on imported materials, such as marble from Iran and relics from Iraq. "The place in the world where Yazidis feel themselves the safest is Armenia," said Badasyan.

In a new statue park facing the temple, a middle-aged man walked briskly down the line of monuments, stopping to kiss and touch his forehead to each.

One depicts Nobel Prize winner Nadia Murad, towering in broken chains.

A horseback statue honours Andranik Ozanyan, an Armenian military commander who fought the Ottomans.

Another one features an apostolic cross intertwined with the Yazidi sun, an ode to religious harmony.

"I'm impressed that the Yazidis have our heroes in their holy place," said 26-year-old Anna Alaverdyan, an ethnic Armenian visiting with her brother after they had seen news of the opening on TV.

They explored the grounds as multiple wedding parties arrived for blessings and portrait sessions, a swift succession of caged doves, buzzing drone cameras, and hired dhol drummers.

Image
A souvenir stand in the temple [Ariel Sophia Bardi/Al Jazeera]

A small gift shop sells images of the temple flanked by white-capped Mount Ararat, a sacred symbol for Armenians.

Yazidis have had a presence in Armenia for centuries, seeking refuge from the Ottomans.

Outside the temple complex, Yazidis live along a long village road aptly named Barekamutyan Street - the Street of Friendship.

A blue truck loaded with sheep rumbled down an intersection. Yazidis in Armenia work primarily in agriculture.

A group of farmers stood smoking, idling as their livestock grazed. Their grandfathers and great-grandfathers had come to Armenia after 1915, they said.

"We are very free here, like one nation. We are the same country, the same people," said 54-year-old Suren Avdoyan. The temple "brought unity to the community," he added.

"Since we don't have the opportunity to go to Iraq, now we have one just nearby and we go there," agreed 28-year-old Rustam Hasanyan.

Inside his cheerful, yellow-walled house, over a spread of pomegranates and tarragon soda, Avdoyan elaborated: "For us, Armenia is one of the best places for Yazidis to be. We have our temple, our radio station, our schools."

"We were born here, we've been fed here, and it's our motherland." Above him hung a glittering portrait of the Virgin Mary.

"She's the mother of God," said Avdoyan. "We respect all the religions."

Every day at sunrise, he said, "we ask God to give happiness and wellbeing to all the people of the world - and lastly, for us"

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/featu ... 13743.html
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